Leading the field by 10 shots with 18 holes to play, Talor Gooch duly completed a wire-to-wire victory at LIV Golf Adelaide, although the American had to endure a few tense moments as he closed out a three-shot victory at The Grange Golf Club in Australia.
Gooch, fired back-to-back 62s to take what looked like an unassailable lead into the final round of the 54-hole tournament, but he had to dig deeper that he expected when he dropped four shots around the turn and at one point led by only two shots. But after a double bogey at 10, Gooch responded with birdies at 11 and 13 to restore some breathing room, then parred in the rest of the way for a 1-over 73, leaving him at 19 under for the tournament..
Gooch said: “It’s hard to put back-to-back days together like I did and even harder to do it three times in a row. I actually played fine out there today. The golf gods, I think, said, ‘We don’t want this first win to be easy on you.’
“I had a couple bad breaks here and there, so it made things interesting, but it was cool to kind of overcome the adversity and dig deep after I made a double on 10. It was kind of a point of we’re either going to dig deep and do this or you’re going to stumble coming in. It was pleasing to get the job done.”
Anirban Lahiri shot a closing 65 to claim second place at 16 under, while four players tied for third at 15 under: Patrick Reed, Pat Perez, Cameron Tringale and home favourite Cameron Smith, the captain of Rippers GC. Reed took third place on countback.
Gooch’s over-par closing round opened the door for Dustin Johnson’s 4Aces team to clinch the team prize, with Patrick Reed shooting a 7-under 65, Peter Uihlein contributing a 66 and Johnson adding a 67 to finish on a collective 47 under to win by a stroke over the Gooch’s RangeGoats team led by Bubba Watson. The all-South African Stinger GC took third.
The week saw the biggest ever crowds turn out to watch a LIV Golf event, with all three days being a sell-out. Cameron Smith, whose all-Australia team was loudly supported throughout the tournament, said: “There’s obviously a want in Australia for really high-quality golf, and I think the fans here really enjoyed what LIV offers. There’s no reason why we can’t make it bigger.”