ADELAIDE, Australia — Talor Gooch saw his double-digit overnight lead almost evaporate but rallied late to win the inaugural LIV Australia tournament Sunday at the Grange Golf Club.
After two bogey-free 10-under 62 rounds, Gooch shot a 1-over 73 to clinch his first LIV Golf victory by 3 strokes from a fast-moving Anirban Lahiri.
As tournament leader, the 31-year-old American began his round on the first hole Sunday in the shotgun-start format and posted a birdie at the par-3 fifth but his bogey-free run finally ended at the par-5 seventh.
He dropped a shot on the eighth and the slide worsened with a double-bogey at the 10th, which saw his lead over a fast-moving Lahiri cut to just 2 strokes with still eight holes to play.
That was as close as it got, as Gooch rallied with birdies at the 11th and 13th and made par at the par 4 18th to clinch the victory and $4 million of the $20 million purse.
Lahiri shot 65 to finish second at 16-under, 2 shots ahead of a four-way tie for third with Cameron Tringale (67), Pat Perez (67), Patrick Reed (65) and The Open champion Cameron Smith (66) all finishing at 15-under 201.
Phil Mickelson finished at 12-under 204 in a tie for 11th after a 69. As was the case on the opening two rounds, Mickelson was a clear crowd favorite and was cheered most of the way in his round by another sellout crowd of 35,000 on a warm day at Adelaide’s Grange Golf Club.
Chase Koepka undoubtedly made the shot of the day with an ace at the par-3 12th, which was celebrated wildly by several thousand fans lining what was called the “watering hole.”
Play was delayed for several minutes while marshals cleared the tee area of hundreds of plastic cups and bottles that were thrown by fans in scenes not commonly associated with golf.
Koepka shot a final round of six-under 66 round to and 10-under overall.
More than 90,000 fans attended the three-day event, making it the most successful edition of the LIV Golf tournaments, now in its second year.
The 14-event season continues next weekend at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore.