(Reuters) – Talor Gooch held his nerve to claim the LIV Golf Adelaide title at a sold-out The Grand Golf Club on Sunday, overcoming a mid-round slump to keep Anirban Lahiri at bay to win by three strokes and secure the US$4 million first-place pay cheque.
Gooch held a 10-shot lead over former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel going into the third and final round of the event, the Saudi Arabia-backed tour’s first in Australia, only to see his advantage whittled down throughout the course of the day.
“Winning on any tour is hard, winning on this type of golf course in front of this type of a crowd is not easy,” said Gooch, who finished 19-under. “There were a couple of moments there where it got shaky and you know that’s going to happen.
“You can’t go three days on this type of golf course and not make mistakes so when I made the birdie on 11, that was time to dig deep and go get a victory.”
Gooch started the day 20-under following back-to-back rounds of 62 and he picked up another shot with a birdie at the par-four fifth.
But the 31-year-old dropped four strokes in four holes as he followed up consecutive bogeys on the seventh and eighth with a double bogey on the 10th to allow the chasing pack to close.
Lahiri, who opened the day 11 shots adrift, put the greatest pressure on Gooch and at one point had pulled to within two strokes of the lead.
Gooch rallied, however, with birdies at the 11th and 13th, steadying the American as he went on to win his first event on the LIV Tour.
Meanwhile the 4Aces, captained by Dustin Johnson and featuring Patrick Reed, Peter Uihlein and Pat Perez, won the US$3 million first prize in the team event, finishing one shot ahead of the Bubba Watson-led Range Goats.
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Kim Coghill)