Dustin Johnson, Stinger GC lift trophies at LIV Tulsa
By John Dobberstein, Editor
In spite of a rain delay and steamy humidity Sunday, pro golfers gave fans all they could want at the LIV Golf Tulsa competition.
Dustin Johnson won the individual championship with a dramatic playoff victory over Cameron Smith and Branden Grace before an enthusiastic gallery of fans at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow.
Stinger Golf Club won the team championship, led by Grace’s stellar play throughout the weekend — including a record-low 61 he carded on Friday. Stinger GC included Grace, Dean Burmester, Charl Schwartzel, and captain Louis Oosthuizen.
Johnson, the captain of 4 Aces Golf Club, had a triple bogey on the 10th Sunday but recovered nicely, hitting clutch shoots on the next 3 holes — although Grace hung with him.
In becoming last year’s season-long Individual Champion, Johnson won a three-man playoff in Boston, making eagle on the first playoff hole. With his win Sunday, he becomes the third two-time winner in LIV Golf, joining Brooks Koepka and Talor Gooch, and he moves to sixth in the individual points standings after a slow start to his season.
“I just played solid. Obviously made a really nice putt on 18 in regulation and then another good one in the playoff,” Johnson said after his victory. “All the wins are good. I want to win as much as possible. Next time I'd like to win without going into a playoff as it would be a lot less stressful.”
The members of all-South African Stingers Stingers GC were happy with their team victory after coming close a few times on the tour this year. It had been nearly a year since they won the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational tournament in London last June. They wore blue ribbons all week in memory of legendary South African golfer John Bland, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 77.
”The guys played so well,” Schwartzel said. “I've been playing good but just not making any putts. After the rain delay I went out and I went 5-under in six holes and made some putts. It felt great. Helped the team out.
“Dean and Branden have been playing some fantastic golf, and it was nice to contribute. ”We've been so close so many times this year, been really consistent, and it's just nice to finally get a win.”
Tulsa experience ‘awesome’
Grace said the player experience at the PGA in Tulsa last year was “amazing” and this weekend’s LIV event was “great” as well. Saturday’s competition drew a record crowd for the tour.
“In my eyes it's definitely been the biggest fan turnout in the states that we've had. It was awesome,” he said. “Yesterday was amazing. Today was good, like DJ said, until the weather came in. But all in all the guys stuck around right until the end, and that's what makes events like this special.”
Johnson echoed those thoughts. “I thought the fans were great this week. Tons of fans out there. Obviously there was a ton of people out today, too, until the rain delay. Still a lot of fans came back right at the end there. I was really pleased with the turnout, and the vibe out here this week was really good.”
Burmester also supported the idea of the LIV returning to Cedar Ridge.
“I think the fans were awesome, and I think Oklahoma and Tulsa are starved of great golf, and I think we brought that this week,” he said. “So I'm hoping to come back, and I think we'd like to come back to the same golf course, right, so we can defend this crown.”
LIV Golf contributed to this article.
TEAM COUNTING SCORES
Here are the standings and counting scores for Sunday’s final round of the team competition at LIV Golf Tulsa. The three best scores from each team count in every round for their total team score. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title.
1. STINGER GC (-40): Dean Burmester 64, Branden Grace 65, Charl Schwartzel 66 (Rd. 3 score: -15)
2. 4ACES GC (-39): Patrick Reed 64, Pat Perez 66, Peter Uihlein 67 (Rd. 3 score: -13)
3. RANGEGOATS GC (-35): Harold Varner III 61, Talor Gooch 67, Thomas Pieters 67 (Rd. 3 score: -15)
4. CRUSHERS GC (-34): Anirban Lahiri 65, Charles Howell III 66, Bryson DeChambeau 67 (Rd. 3 score: -12)
5. SMASH GC (-34): Jason Kokrak 63, Brooks Koepka 65, Chase Koepka 67 (Rd. 3 score: -15)
6. FIREBALLS GC (-33): Carlos Ortiz 63, Eugenio Chacarra 64, Sergio Garcia 65 (Rd. 3 score: -18)
7. RIPPER GC (-32): Cameron Smith 61, Matt Jones 66, Marc Leishman 69 (Rd. 3 score: -14)
8. TORQUE GC (-31): Sebastián Muñoz 62, Joaquin Niemann 65, Mito Pereira 68 (Rd. 3 score: -15)
9. MAJESTICKS GC (-30): Andy Ogletree 62, Laurie Canter 65, Henrik Stenson 65 (Rd. 3 score: -18)
10. HYFLYERS GC (-21): Cameron Tringale 65, James Piot 67, Brendan Steele 68 (Rd. 3 score: -10)
11. IRON HEADS GC (-21): Scott Vincent 64, Kevin Na 68, Sihwan Kim 68 (Rd. 3 score: -10)
12. CLEEKS GC (-19): Bernd Wiesberger 66, Martin Kaymer 68, Richard Bland 70 (Rd. 3 score: -6)