Branden Grace wins LIV Golf’s first US tournament


Ore, North Plains (AP) —Branden Grace, funded by Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming series, has won the first stop of LIV Golf on American soil, an event that has attracted critics and protesters alike. ..

Grace finished on Saturday with a 7-under 65 and finished with a 13-under in the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s 54-hole tournament. The 34-year-old South African earned $ 4 million.

Led by CEO Greg Norman and funded by the Saudi Arabia Sovereign Wealth Fund, the new LIV series aims to take on the PGA Tour. It attracted some players such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson, and promised big contracts, big prizes and fewer events.

Grace defeated Carlos Ortiz of Mexico in a two-stroke.

“I played perfect golf and when I had to do something special and I was able to pull it out, I played really really well,” Grace said. All this new is great and everyone here is exploding. “

Ortiz, ranked 119th in the world, shot 69. Johnson (71) finished four backs with Patrick Reed (67).

The 48-man field in Oregon competed for a $ 20 million wallet, with an additional $ 5 million in prize money for the team’s competition. There were no cuts, and even the bottom finishers earned $ 120,000 payday. Charl Schwartzel won the first event (and team part) of the tour outside London, with $ 4.75 million in his pocket.

The Four Aces team, led by Johnson, won the team tournament at Pumpkin Ridge.

LIV Golf also announced on Saturday that British player Pat Casey has joined the series. 44-year-old Casey has won the PGA Tour three times and the European Tour 15 times, ranking 26th in the world. He hasn’t played a tournament round since March due to an injury.

The PGA Tour has responded to the upstart tour by suspending all active members who participated in the first LIV event. People who played in Oregon were also suspended unless they resigned from their tour membership.

LIV Golf has been criticized since its inception long before arriving at the small North Plains, about 20 miles west of downtown Portland.

The mayor and 10 mayors of the neighboring community wrote a letter to the Texas-based owner of the course a few weeks ago, and the event was with community values ​​due to human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, including the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. I objected to the disagreement.

A group of families whose beloved family was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks came to North Plains on the first day of the tournament to protest the event. Of the 19 hijackers that day in 2001, 15 were Saudi citizens. The group is planning a larger demonstration for its next stop in Bedminster, NJ.

Senator Ron Weiden of Oregon has called for a “sportswashing” tour to undermine Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. Weiden pointed out the 2016 hit-and-run death of 15-year-old Fallon Smart in Portland. He was accused in the case but disappeared before the trial, and US officials believe he had left the country with the help of the Saudi government. The protesters at the entrance on Friday had a sign that says “Fallon Smart, 2000-2016”.

Prior to the tournament, players faced tough questions about their involvement. Most people recited Putt’s answer, arguing that golf could be a “power for good.” Other players complained about the structure and grind of the PGA Tour.

LIV Golf advertises that “it’s golf, but it’s loud.” In addition to simultaneous team competition, the tournament features shotgun launches, interactive fan activities, and hip-hop barks at the driving range.

Saturday’s crowd was better than Thursday and Friday. LIV Golf said it was sold out, but did not disclose the number of tickets sold.

The next event on the tour will take place July 29-31 at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster. Casey is expected to participate at that time.


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