Talor Gooch becomes first back-to-back winner in LIV Golf history
Talor Gooch became the first back-to-back winner in LIV Golf history taking two distinctly different paths to success. A week ago in Australia, he built a huge lead after two rounds, then held on for the victory. On Sunday at LIV Golf Singapore presented by Resorts World Sentosa, Gooch won via birdie on the first playoff hole against Sergio Garcia. The victory moves Gooch to the top of the individual points standings as he joins Brooks Koepka as LIV Golf’s only two-time winners. Unlike last week at LIV Golf Adelaide, Gooch was able to celebrate two trophies at Sentosa Golf Club, as his RangeGoats GC also won the team title for the first time, shooting a cumulative 12 under on Sunday to finish at 37 under for the week, three strokes ahead of Garcia’s Fireballs GC.
“We’ve been talking about being up there on the podium,” Gooch said. “I’ve been telling them how much I’m going to spray ‘em in the face with champagne for a long time now. We knew it was coming and it was only a matter of time.” The RangeGoats become the seventh different team to win a LIV Golf event, and the fifth different team to win this season in as many events. Last week, the RangeGoats came up one shot short of the 4Aces, who lead the season-long team standings this year. RangeGoats Captain Bubba Watson added Gooch to his lineup in the offseason to join good friend Harold Varner III. Newcomer Thomas Pieters also joined the team.
“Thank you for stepping up and wanting to be part of the Goats,” Watson said as he stood with his teammates. “This is an honor and a privilege to be here and be alongside these guys. It’s special. They wanted to be on the team. They wanted to be on my team.” When severe weather halted play for one hour with four holes to play Sunday, the RangeGoats trailed the Fireballs by one stroke. Once play resumed, Varner provided two key birdies as part of his contributing 6-under 65. One of those birdies was a chip-in on his restart hole. “Every time we had a delay this week,” Varner said, “Bubba was like, ‘Hey, give me some good shots.’ And I walked up to the table and I said, ‘I’m going to walk over there and I’m going to chip this in after we go back.’ And that’s what happened.” Individually, Gooch and Garcia were tied at 16 when play resumed. Garcia dropped a stroke at the 15th hole, missing a short par putt, but bounced back with a birdie on the next hole. Both players birdied the par-5 18th to finish at 17 under and set up the playoff, the fourth in LIV Golf history and the second this season.
Gooch took an aggressive line on the 18th, his tee ball finishing just steps from the water. But it set up a second shot that found the green. Meanwhile, Garcia’s second shot landed in a greenside bunker. A difficult third shot came up short and finished in the rough just above the bunker. After Gooch two-putted for birdie, Garcia could not hole his birdie chip. “It’s one of those days that I’ll remember,” said Gooch. “I grew up watching Sergio. He’s one of the greatest golfers of this generation. To go and battle with him and come out on top is something I’ll never forget.”