23 Apr 2023 | Professional golf |
Smith third, Gooch hangs on at The Grange
by Tony Webeck
Talor Gooch gave Cameron Smith the leg-up he was hoping for yet it wasn’t enough as the American claimed his maiden LIV Golf title at LIV Golf Adelaide.
An astonishing 10 shots clear at the start of the third and final round, Gooch was stuck in first gear for the majority of his round, sticking it in reverse on three occasions including a double bogey at the par-5 10th.
A settling birdie on 11 and a final one at the par-5 13th got Gooch to 19-under, his round of one-over 73 enough for a three-shot win from India’s Anirban Lahiri (65).
Smith once again gave the Adelaide fans plenty to cheer for with a second straight six-under 66 to earn a share of third at 15-under with Patrick Reed (65), Cameron Tringale (67) and Pat Perez (67), Perez sending fans at the ‘Watering Hole’ par-3 12th into a frenzy with a long-range birdie putt.
Gooch had to wait for the beer cans to be removed from the putting surface before he could putt out, making a crucial three-footer for par to keep the chasers at bay.
Starting from the third hole, Smith stumbled with a bogey on five but had birdies on seven, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 17 to climb up the leaderboard. His birdie on 14 came courtesy of a typically sublime bunker shot, following it up on 15 with a birdie putt from long range.
A birdie on his final hole – the par-4 second – was a nice way to sign off as he, Marc Leishman (65) and Jed Morgan (68) lifted Ripper GC off the bottom of the table and into eighth in the teams event.
With his Open Championship defence now just three months away, Smith was pleased with how he performed on the golf course given all of the commitments he had to fulfil in LIV Golf’s first venture in Australia.
“I think I did a really good job of actually just playing golf with all the outside noise,” said Smith.
“There was a lot of good on the golf course. There was a lot of putts that could have gone in. To finish up the week wherever I did, I think fourth or fifth, I think it was a really good effort.
“I had so many missed opportunities that could have gone in. Usually that leads to frustrating weeks where you end up down the leaderboard but it makes you stay on top of it and play some really high-quality golf.
“Every time I come home for the last four or five years I’ve wanted to play really good golf. I’ve been fortunate enough to play plenty.
“This is another tick for me as far as golf is concerned down here.”
Patrick Reed (65), Peter Uihlein (66) and Dustin Johnson (67) lifted 4 Aces to their sixth LIV Golf team victory, edging Bubba Watson’s Range Goats by one shot with Stinger GC third a further two shots back.
Chase Koepka shot 66 on Sunday but will be remembered mostly for the hole-in-one on 12 that elicited scenes never before witnessed in a tournament in Australia.
“When it went in, I started just getting peppered with beer cans,” Koepka shared post-round.
“I smelled like beer the whole entire rest of the day.
“Crazy experience. To do it on a hole like that was super special.
“It definitely gave the fans something to remember.”
Join our newsletter
Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions.