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LIV GOLF PORTLAND RECAP: Back 9 heroics, massive payouts... "This week was absolutely insane"


Branden Grace celebrating at LIV Golf Portland event
Branden Grace (2022 Jamie Squire/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

For the second consecutive LIV Golf Invitational, Branden Grace shot 65 in the final round. In London, it produced a third-place podium finish. In Portland, it resulted in the biggest payday of his 15-year professional career.


Grace’s 7-under 65 on Saturday at Pumpkin Ridge gave him the individual title at the LIV Golf Invitational Portland. His 13-under total for the 54-hole event was two strokes better than Carlos Ortiz, with Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson finishing another two strokes back.


Johnson’s 4 Aces GC claimed the team title at 23 under, seven strokes ahead of Stinger GC, the winning team in London. Thanks to Ortiz’s birdie on the final hole, Fireballs GC took third place and the final money position, one stroke ahead of Torque GC.

After winning for the 15th time as a pro, Grace said: “I played with DJ at London, as well, on the Sunday and played really nicely, and just kind of found a groove. I've been feeling really comfortable. I've been hitting the shots that I see and things like that, and that's really important and gives you the confidence.


"Today was nothing different. From the first hole I hit the ball great. I made a couple of nice putts when it mattered, and obviously things go your way when you win a golf tournament.”



Grace produced several pivotal shots while battling with Ortiz and Johnson in the final group. He drove the green at the par-4 8th hole to set up a birdie. He rolled in a lengthy birdie putt at 10. He birdied the difficult par-4 13th, one of just two birdies recorded at the hole Saturday. His hole-out for birdie at the 16th gave him a two-shot lead with two to play. He followed with another birdie at the 17th, as he shot 5-under on his back nine.


Carlos Ortiz celebrating at LIV Golf Portland event
Carlos Ortiz (2022 Charles Laberge/LIV Golf via Getty Images

Ortiz and Johnson, meanwhile, simply couldn’t keep up. Ortiz, who at one point held a 5-shot lead, shot a 3-under 69, while Johnson shot a 1-under 71.


Johnson said: “Obviously Branden played really well. But I did get it back to where I was within one with six or seven holes to go, and then he decided to go on a little tear there birdieing every hole coming in.”


Ortiz, a native of Mexico, enjoyed the vibe in playing in the last group. He said he fed off the energy from the fans at Pumpkin Ridge.


“They were unbelievable -- I didn't even know there were that many Mexicans in Portland,” joked Ortiz. “… It was unbelievable. I haven't had that many opportunities to be in final groups maybe like DJ, but it was crazy from the beginning. Both sides of the fairway were full of people, until the end, putting the ropes behind us. It was great. Being able to fight it out with Gracey, we were kind of in there until he decided to just keep going and left us behind. It was awesome. We had a great time.”


Patrick Reed at LIV Golf Portland event
Patrick Reed (2022 Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

Although Johnson didn’t make the individual podium – he lost the third-place tiebreaker to Reed – he was happy to see his 4 Aces GC romp to the team title.


Reed said he fed off the support from the fans in shooting a bogey-free 5-under 67. He made a late run, holing out from eagle at the 17th before rolling in a birdie putt at 18.


Speaking to media afterwards, Reed said: “It was unreal. I might be moving to Portland sometime soon, so many fans on my side. I'm like, this is amazing … To go ahead and eagle 17 and start throwing fist pumps today, I haven't done that in God knows how long. Just that energy felt amazing. Being able to chip in on 18 and see the crowd just go absolutely insane and then come back and watch these guys finish up, seeing fans just pile in behind them -- we don't get that every week. This week was absolutely insane."


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Portland by the numbers


LEADERBOARD (Top 5)

  1. Branden Grace, 13 under

  2. Carlos Ortiz, 11 under

  3. Patrick Reed, 9 under

  4. Dustin Johnson, 9 under

  5. Louis Oosthuizen, 7 under

TEAM LEADERBOARD:

  1. 4 Aces GC, 23 under (Patrick Reed 67, Talor Gooch 70, Dustin Johnson 71)

  2. Stinger GC, 16 under (Branden Grace 65, Louis Oosthuizen 69, Charl Schwartzel 77)

  3. Fireballs GC, 12 under (Carlos Ortiz 69, Abraham Ancer 71, Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra 72)

  4. Torque GC, 11 under (Jinichiro Kozuma 70, Yuki Inamori 71, Hideto Tanihara 72)

  5. Iron Heads GC, 5 under (Phachara Khongwatmai 70, Kevin Na 72 Sadom Kaewkanjana 74)

  6. Smash GC, 3 under (Adrian Otaegui 71, Chase Koepka 72, Richard Bland 73)

  7. Niblicks GC, 2 under (James Piot 69, Hudson Swafford 71, Graeme McDowell 73)

  8. Majesticks GC, Even (Lee Westwood 69, Sam Horsfield 74, Ian Poulter 74)

  9. Crushers GC, 1 over (Bryson DeChambeau 73, Justin Harding 74, Peter Uihlein 78)

  10. Cleeks GC, 2 over (Ian Snyman 71, Martin Kaymer 73, Scott Vincent 74)

  11. Hy Flyers GC, 5 over (Matthew Wolff 70, Bernd Wiesberger 73, Itthipat Buranatanyarat 74)



FINAL ROUND STATS

  • Average drive distance (drives recorded on hole Nos. 1 and 17) – Laurie Canter, 341.5 yards.

  • Longest drive – Laurie Canter, 374 yards, 363 yards, 17th hole.

  • Driving accuracy – Louis Oosthuizen, Hideto Tanihara, 86.67% (13 of 15 fairways).

  • Greens in regulation – Branden Grace, 88.89% (16 of 18 greens).

  • Scrambling – Patrick Reed, 100% (4 of 4).

  • Fewest putts – Phachara Khongwatmai, 24 putts.

  • Putts in GIR – Phachara Khongwatmai, 1.50.

  • Eagles made – Patrick Reed (17th hole)

  • Bogey-free round – Patrick Reed (67).

Branden Grace and Carlos Ortiz were the only two players to shoot sub-70 rounds all three days on the par-72 Pumpkin Ridge composite course. Grace shot 69-69-65, while Ortiz shot 67-69-69.


Ortiz was the top performer among the nine players making their LIV Golf debuts in Portland. How the other newcomers finished: Patrick Reed (-8), Matthew Wolff (-3), Bryson DeChambeau (-2), Abraham Ancer (-1), Yuki Inamori (-1), Brooks Koepka (Even), Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra (+5) and Pat Perez (+6).


Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai of Iron Heads GC was 5 under through his first 11 holes but suffered a triple-bogey at the par-5 fifth.

 

LIV Golf returns to action July 29-31 at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.