Johnson’s 4 Aces hold off Smith’s Punch to win LIV Golf’s Team Championship
Dustin Johnson’s 4 Aces cemented their status as the dominant force with victory in LIV Golf’s Team Championship.
The team of Johnson, Patrick Reed, Talor Gooch and Pat Perez won four events at Bedminster, Portland, Chicago and Boston over the course of the first year of LIV Golf.
They were the No. 1 seeds heading into the Team Championship event at Trump Doral, and showed their class with a gritty victory as they outbattled Cameron Smith’s Punch by one shot.
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The lead was held by all four teams at various stages in the day. The all-South African Stinger were two shots clear early on, but they fell away from the moment Branden Grace made a quadruple bogey on the fourth.
Brooks Koepka’s Smash looked in control around the turn, but the four-time major winner missed a series of short putts and his team-mates were unable to step up.
With all four players’ scores counting, it boiled down to a battle on the closing holes between 4 Aces and Punch.
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Punch’s Marc Leishman, who struggled for much of his round, rolled in a birdie putt on his final hole to draw the teams level, but Reed responded.
Reed rolled in a birdie putt on his final hole*, the second, to give his captain Johnson a cushion for the final hole.
“I felt like I let the team down yesterday, I felt like they had to bail me out,” Reed said. “To have the kind of start I had today, it wasn’t looking good, I was missing everything
“But once I saw where we were on the leaderboard I knew it was my time to make a putt.”
Johnson, who produced a number of clutch big putts down the stretch, striped drive down the middle on 18, one of the toughest tee shots in golf.
In contrast, Smith leaked his tee shot to the right into the rough and sent his second shot through the back of the green.
The Australian was the star man on the day, as he carded a round of seven-under on his own in brutal conditions. But it was not enough as Johnson’s two putts from the fringe were enough to secure the win – ensuring 4 Aces extended their perfect record on American soil.
“It was pretty amazing,” Johnson said. “This week has been incredible, the whole season has got better and better.
“We got a lot of support out there and you could not draw it up any better me and Cam battling down the stretch for the Team Championship.”
All four of the 4 Aces were under-par on the day, Johnson -2, Reed -2, Perez -2, Gooch -1.
In contrast, Punch’s second-placed score of six-under was dominated by Smith’s 65 as Leishman (+2) and Wade Ormsby (+1) were over-par and Matt Jones got round in two-under.
*LIV Golf is a shotgun start with all players starting at the same time on different holes, so not all players finish their rounds on the 18th.
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