Australian British Open champion Cameron Smith took his first LIV Golf victory in only his second start on the Saudi Arabian-backed snowy track with a three-shot victory over Dustin Johnson and Peter Uihlein just outside Chicago.
Smith, one of the 12 major champions on the 48-player field at Rich Harvest Farms, secured US$4m (US$6m) in the final round of Sunday’s 54-hole event, reaching under 13 with a 69 (-9). ) jackpot.
“I think I probably still have to prove to myself and some other people that I’m still a great player, you know, I’m still here to win golf tournaments,” Smith said.
“I’m proud to hang there today. I really didn’t have my best gear on the first eight or nine holes but it stuck hard and got a few good hits to come. It was beautiful.”
The stage was set for the final round duel between two of the world’s best golfers, with overnight lead Smith starting the day two strokes behind partner Johnson (70), who fell back three strokes after a hum on the first hole.
Both players hit the second hole together, but Smith missed the fourth and sixth as Johnson was in a hit before the duo drew birdie cards on the fifth and seventh.
Smith opened a three-stroke lead with a birdie on the eighth pair, where Johnson carded the first of two consecutive bogeys to reach fourth place, and hopes of becoming the first multiple winner in the LIV Golf series were nearly dashed. .
Uihlein (69) came into the mix and was briefly one beat behind Smith. coupled with a late Uihlein bogey.
Smith is the highest-ranking player to ever attend LIV Golf and finished fourth in his first game in Boston two weeks ago, missing a three-man playoff by one shot after a bogey in his penultimate hole.
Citizens Matt Jones (72) finished four ahead, Jed Morgan (71) and Wade Ormsby (72) four ahead and Marc Leishman (78) six behind and came home last.
While Johnson failed to catch up with Smith, the team split the $3 million (US$5.4 million) first prize for the fourth consecutive event, while his 4 Aces teammates Patrick Reed helped Talor Gooch and Pat Perez to victory in the team event.
The final tour was interrupted for a scheduled moment of silence observed at the venue in honor of Queen Elizabeth, whose image is shown on screens around the course.