Updated: Mar 3
Charles Howell III’s produced one of his most impressive rounds in his 23 years as a professional golfer, as he and his team Crushers GC captured both trophies in resounding fashion at LIV Golf Mayakoba.
Howell’s bogey-free 8-under 63 was the lowest score of any player on the season opener, and his first eight holes were even more impressive, as he produced six birdies to overtake 36-hole co-leaders Peter Uihlein (Smash GC) and Talor Gooch (RangeGoats GC). He eventually finished at 16 under, four strokes better than Uihlein, who shot a 68. Stinger GC’s Branden Grace was third at 10 under after shooting 67.
It’s Howell’s fourth worldwide victory of his career, and his first at El Camaleon, a course he first competed on in 2007 and was playing for the 14th time this week.
“Obviously, I don’t think you ever see a win coming,” said the 43-year-old Howell. “I’ve played in a lot of golf tournaments in my life, and I haven’t won a lot of them, and you have the doubts and the feelings, will you ever win again?
“To do it against this competition with these guys standing up here is more than I could ever dream of. I’m extremely thankful.”
Certainly his fellow Crushers teammates were thankful to have Howell going so low. Last season during the beta-test LIV Golf Invitational Series, the Crushers finished second twice and also had a third-place finish in the five regular-season events after Bryson DeChambeau became captain and stabilized his roster with veterans Howell, Paul Casey and Anirban Lahiri.
That consistency led to a No. 2 seed at the Miami Team Championship, but the Crushers did not make it to the final day. Now they’ve started the new season with a huge breakthrough victory, nine shots ahead of last year’s dominant team and defending champs 4Aces GC (17 under). Torque GC finished third at 13 under.
“I knew it would happen,” DeChambeau said of his team winning. “I just didn’t know when it would happen. To start off the year with a crushing victory … How much more can you ask for a statement piece? The 4Aces, OK, yeah, great, they won a lot last year. But it’s a different year. It’s 2023.”