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The first LIV Golf season wrapped Sunday at Trump National Doral with the 4 Aces GC claiming the 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship crown. Led by captain Dustin Johnson, the all-American squad of Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez successfully fended off Cameron Smith’s Punch GC, translating a memorable regular season into an even more lucrative year.
After narrowly getting by Cleeks GC in the semifinals match-play portion of the team championship, the top team from the regular season was able to utilize a well-balanced approach to reach a cumulative score of 7 under. This total was enough to skirt past Punch GC by a single stroke and both the Crushers GC and Stinger GC with margin.
Despite the team championship turning into a two-team race, there were still plenty of pivotal moments unfolding late in the day. The marquee pairing of Johnson and Smith delivered theatrics as the Champion Golfer of the Year signed for the round of the day with a 7-under 65, and Johnson turned on the after burners by delivering down the stretch to come in with a 2-under 70.
While the two headmen for their respective squads were the final pair on the golf course, the battle between the two teams ultimately came down to their teammates. Smith’s teammates Matt Jones, Marc Leishman and Wade Ormsby collectively shot over par, while Johnson’s were more than able to hold their own.
Perez was their biggest question mark coming into the week but contributed in an impressive fashion for the 4 Aces with a 2-under 70 after a poor regular season.
“I get a lot of grief, people saying I never show up, so I did today,” said Perez, whose best individual finish was a T15 at LIV Boston. “So, everybody can shut up.”
Gooch added a 1-under 71 while Reed carded a 2-under 70 to give the 4 Aces four under-par rounds. Reed’s final stroke proved to hold the most importance as the former Masters champion connected from roughly 10 feet for birdie on his final hole to break the deadlock between the top two teams. A par from Johnson on the 18th hole then secured the team title for the 4 Aces.
With its victory at the 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship, the 4 Aces won a total of five times in its first season together. Raising the trophy at each event held in the United States, the checks will continue to roll in as their effort at Trump National Doral came with a $16 million payday ($4 million per player).
All members of the 4 Aces will be eating good, but especially Johnson as his on-course earnings adds up to roughly $35 million for the season. Finishing the year as the top individual and leading his team to the ultimate prize, the two-time major champion was the clear star of LIV Golf in 2022.
“It has been amazing,” said Johnson. “Obviously, the fans are what makes it. This week has been incredible. The whole season has just gotten better and better and then obviously this finale has been unbelievable. … Coming down the stretch here, you couldn’t draw it up any better with me and Cam [Smith] battling it out to win the team championship.”
The other teams won’t be left scraping their plates as Punch GC earned $8 million for finishing runner up with Smash GC collecting $6 million and Stinger GC taking home $4 million.
Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC were in the mix early and tied for the lead halfway through the round until collective disaster struck for the LIV Golf Jeddah winners. Koepka carded four bogeys over a six-hole stretch while his brother Chase Koepka signed for a pair of double bogeys and sent their name down the leaderboard.
Stinger GC was never in the fight as LIV Golf Portland winner Branden Grace signed for a quadruple-bogey seven in his third hole of the day and sealed the fate for the South African squad with an 8-over 80.
Here are all the scores from the final day of the 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship
Hennie Du Plessis
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