Branden Grace wins the LIV Golf Invitational Portland
Grace shot a seven-under 65 on Saturday to win the LIV Golf Invitational Portland on Saturday after three rounds of play.
Branden Grace is the second South African to win the $4 million prize money for first place after fellow countryman Charles Schwartzel was victorious at the inaugural event in London.
“Played flawless golf. Played really well and when I needed to do something special, it came up. Managed to pull it off. What a great day. This is amazing—come out here, the new format, this new everything is amazing,” Grace said.
Grace played an impressive five-under par back nine to come from two strokes behind Dustin Johnson and Carlos Ortiz after the first two rounds. The threesome started day three on the first hole in the shotgun format and the young Mexican player got off to a hot start to take a commanding lead after going three-under after four holes. A bogey on no. 7 slowed Ortiz down and he couldn’t break par again until a birdie on no. 18 that gave him the no. 2 position all for himself and third place for his team.
The South African finished the tournament at 13 under par, two shots ahead of Ortiz and four in front of Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed. Grace did everything right, but his short game and putting really made the difference in the end.
The top-10 finishers will all take home some impressive checks after three days work in Portland:
Other big names didn’t fare as well, such as Phil Mickelson, who finished in 42nd position, tied with Ian Poulter at +10 for the tournament. The two players will take home $133,000 for their effort as they finished ahead of five other not so well-known players at the back of the pack: Itthipat Buranatanyanrat, Blake Windred, Turk Pettit, Shaun Norris and Jediah Morgan. Mickelson has had another disappointing performance on the LIV tour. It’s been a tough week for ‘Lefty’ as Fred Couples had some harsh words for him regarding his decision to play for the Saudi-backed tour. “These guys — you’ve seen their interviews, right? Have you ever seen Phil look so stupid in his life? They know it’s a joke,” Couples said.
Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed, teammates on the winning team 4 Aces, both finished at nine-under, tying for third place. Reed and Johnson, along with Talor Gooch and Pat Perez, who defected to the LIV Invitational tour earlier in the week, will split $3 million for the team effort, despite Perez’s 80 on Saturday and +6 for the tournament.
The other top teams were the South African contingent, who won the team event in London and the Spanish-speaking team with players from Mexico and Spain coming in third place, thanks to a huge putt on 18 by Carlos Ortiz:
2: Stinger GC (Branden Grace, Hennie Du Plessis, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel) $1,500,000
3: Fireballs GC (Carlos Ortiz, Abraham Ancer, Sergio Garcia, Eugenio Lopez-Charcarra) $500,000
The breaking news of the day at Portland was that another former top player has defected to LIV Golf. Englishman Paul Casey joins his former Ryder Cup teammates, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood; Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia on the Saudi-backed tour.