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LIV Golf’s first U.S. tournament crowns winner

Branden Grace received LIV Golf’s first cease on American soil, an occasion that drew critics and protestors alike due to the upstart collection’ funding by Saudi Arabia.

Grace closed with a 7-under 65 on Saturday to complete at 13 below within the 54-hole tournament at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. The 34-year-old South African received $4 million.

The fledgling LIV collection, fronted by CEO Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, goals to problem the PGA Tour. It has lured some gamers, together with Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson, with the promise of huge signing bonuses, hefty prize purses and fewer occasions.

Grace beat Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz by two strokes.

“Played flawless golf, performed actually, very well after I wanted to do one thing particular and got here up and managed to drag it out,” Grace mentioned. “But simply what an excellent day, it was superb to come back right here, this new format, this new every thing is superb and all people right here is having a blast.”

Ortiz, ranked No. 119 on the planet, shot a 69. Johnson (71) completed 4 again with Patrick Reed (67).

The 48-man discipline in Oregon competed for a $20 million purse, with an extra $5 million prize fund for a crew competitors. There was no minimize and even the last-place finisher earned a payday of $120,000. Charl Schwartzel received the tour’s inaugural occasion exterior of London (and the crew portion) and pocketed $4.75 million.

The Four Aces crew, led by Johnson, received the crew competitors at Pumpkin Ridge.

LIV Golf additionally introduced Saturday that English participant Pat Casey has joined the collection. Casey, 44, has received thrice on the PGA Tour and 15 instances on the European Tour, and is ranked No. 26 on the planet. He has not performed a tournament spherical since March due to accidents.

The PGA Tour has responded to the upstart tour by suspending each lively member who competed within the first LIV occasion. Those who performed in Oregon had been additionally suspended until they resign their tour memberships.

LIV Golf has been dogged by criticism since its inception, nicely earlier than it got here to tiny North Plains, about 20 miles west of downtown Portland.

The metropolis’s mayor and 10 fellow mayors from close by communities wrote the course’s Texas-based proprietor weeks in the past, objecting that the occasion didn’t align with group values due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, together with the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A gaggle of households whose family members had been killed by the terrorist assault on Sept. 11 got here to North Plains on the tournament’s opening day to protest the occasion. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on that day in 2001 had been Saudi residents. The group plans a extra sizable demonstration for the subsequent cease at Bedminster in New Jersey.

The gamers confronted powerful questions earlier than the tournament about their involvement, with most reciting pat solutions and sustaining that golf generally is a “pressure for good.” Others complained concerning the construction and grind of the PGA Tour.

LIV Golf touts that it’s “golf, however louder.” In addition to the simultaneous crew competitors, the tournaments function shotgun begins, interactive fan actions and hip-hop blaring on the driving vary.

Crowds on Saturday had been higher than Thursday and Friday. LIV Golf mentioned it was a sellout, however wouldn’t reveal the variety of tickets offered.

The tour’s subsequent occasion is ready for July 29-31 at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

Reporting by the Associated Press

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