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LIV GOLF WINNER: Talor Gooch leads plaudits for ‘INCREDIBLE’ Australian-born caddie Malcolm Baker

Image credit: Montana Pritchard/LIV Golf

Winner Talor Gooch said his Australian-born caddie, Malcolm Baker, was a huge help this week. As Gooch conducted his press conference Sunday, Baker was in the back, celebrating by hoisting an Australian flag into the air. “His green-reading ability out here is incredible,” Gooch said. “I leaned on him more this week than I have in a long time. He was so spot on early on, and it just gave me confidence in him, and I think it gave confidence in himself. “I made a bunch of putts the last couple days, a bunch of 8-, 10-, 12-footers, and without him, I don't make as many putts, plain and simple.” Gooch also cited Baker’s help as his lead shrank throughout the day. Gooch said: “He did a really, really good job of just not wavering and just being himself and just acting like this is another round of golf, even though it was a huge round of golf for us.

“His constant mentality and emotions, just how he conducts himself in those moments are huge for me for keeping me calm and making things easier than what they feel like they are in the moment.”

Gooch had to endure some tight moments despite entering the day with a 10-shot lead thanks to consecutive 10-under 62s. A four-hole stretch in which he suffered his first two bogeys of the week, followed by a double bogey at the par-5 10th, whittled his deficit. At one point, he led by only two shots.

But after his double bogey, he responded with birdies at the 11th and 13th holes to restore some breathing room, then parred in the rest of the way for a 1-over 73, leaving him at 19 under for the tournament. That ties the all-time LIV Golf best score for three rounds.

“Golf is just really hard,” said Gooch as he proudly cradled the LIV Golf trophy while wearing the Goat Chain, his team’s nod to winning performances. “It's hard to put back-to-back days together like I did and even harder to do it three times in a row. I actually played fine out there today. The golf gods, I think, said, ‘We don't want this first win to be easy on you.’

“Had a couple bad breaks here and there, so it made things interesting, but it was cool to kind of overcome the adversity and dig deep after I made a double on No. 10. It was kind of a point of we're either going to dig deep and do this or you're going to stumble coming in. It was cool to dig deep and get the job done.”