SUGAR GROVE, Ill. (LIV Golf) – Crushers GC Captain Bryson DeChambeau won LIV Golf Chicago in spectacular fashion, shooting a final-round 8-under 63 at Rich Harvest Farms that was reminiscent of his record-breaking performance last month in Greenbrier when he shot a closing 58 to win his first LIV Golf title.
But Sunday’s win came at the expense of one of his teammates, Anirban Lahiri, who was seeking his first victory in eight years. Lahiri, who held the lead for most of the day after overtaking 36-hole leader Sebastián Muñoz, missed a par putt on the 18th hole that would’ve forced a playoff with DeChambeau.
“To be honest with you, I was actually sad,” said DeChambeau, who was watching from just off the green. “I really wanted him to make that so we could go battle it off in a playoff and finish it off the right way. That was the first emotion that I had.”
“Secondly, you’ve got people coming over and congratulating you, and it’s just like, ‘Oh, I really didn’t feel like I won. This isn’t the normal feeling I usually have when you win a tournament.’ It was definitely a huge mix of emotions.”
DeChambeau, who started the day eight strokes off the lead, finished at 13 under while Lahiri and Ripper GC’s Marc Leishman tied for second at 12 under. Leishman, who shot 66, took second-place points via the better final-round score than Lahiri, who shot 69.
DeChambeau and Lahiri did celebrate the team victory together, as the Crushers shot a 15-under counting score on Sunday to finish at 33 under, three strokes ahead of Fireballs GC. Along with DeChambeau’s 63, Charles Howell III (67) and Paul Casey (68) contributed counting scores. Fireballs GC took second while league-leading 4Aces GC claimed third via tiebreaker over RangeGoats GC.
The victory is the second this season for the Crushers, who moved into second place in the team standings with one regular-season tournament left next month in Jeddah. The top four teams in the standings after that event will receive byes going into the Team Championship in Miami.
“This is why I love what we’re doing,” Casey said. “It’s the individual and the team element, and the individual element is rewarding to a certain level, and the team element is rewarding to a whole ‘nother level. They’re different. You can’t compare them but boy, does it feel good to play good with these guys.”
Lahiri’s tie for 2nd on the traditional leaderboard is his seventh runner-up finish in all his starts since joining LIV Golf last year. He was seeking his first victory since a pair of wins in February 2015.
He was a bogey-free 4-under on his round through 14 holes, but he three-putted the 15th and 18th holes and admitted afterward that, “I played really bad, to be honest. I was fighting my swing the whole day.”
Meanwhile, DeChambeau birdied seven of his last 12 holes as his putter heated up. His lengthy putt at 12 left him in disbelief, as he continued to move up the leaderboard.
“I just kept trying to hit as many fairways as I could and hit the irons close and make some putts,” DeChambeau said. “That’s ultimately just kind of what happens when I get on a roll. It just doesn’t stop. Kind of like, uh-oh, here comes the train.”
Lahiri knew his captain was playing well, as the Crushers had moved up the team leaderboard. While the team element remains a vital part of the LIV Golf competition, he knows the individual trophy remains the primary objective.
“I think all four of us would agree that you’re trying to win the tournament outright first,” Lahiri said. “At least that’s how I look at it. Anyone else who says otherwise is lying. But the team win was something that we all knew we needed to pull off, and we knew we should pull off.”
As much as DeChambeau was elated about his own performance, he was also respectful of his teammate’s disappointment.
“It’s one of those things you never want to see a teammate go through,” DeChambeau said. “But it is what it is, and I think he’s learned a lot, obviously. … Your time is coming.”
On Sunday, it was DeChambeau’s time, and he now moves to third in the individual standings, giving him a chance for the outright title next month in Jeddah along with No. 1 Cameron Smith and No. 2 Talor Gooch.
TEAM COUNTING SCORES
Here are the standings and counting scores for Sunday’s final round of the team competition at LIV Golf Chicago. The three best scores from each team count in every round for their total team score. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title. Tiebreakers are utilized if two teams finish with the same score.
1. CRUSHERS GC (-33): Bryson DeChambeau 63, Charles Howell III 67, Paul Casey 68 (Rd. 3 score: -15)
2. FIREBALLS GC (-30): Sergio Garcia 67, Abraham Ancer 69, Eugenio Chacarra 69 (Rd. 3 score: -8)
3. 4ACES GC (-25): Peter Uihlein 66, Pat Perez 70, Patrick Reed 70 (Rd. 3 score: -7)
4. RANGEGOATS GC (-25): Talor Gooch 68, Bubba Watson 68, Harold Varner III 69 (Rd. 3 score: -8)
5. TORQUE GC (-23): Joaquin Niemann 68, Mito Pereira 71, Sebastián Muñoz 73 (Rd. 3 score: -1)
6. MAJESTICKS GC (-22): Henrik Stenson 67, Sam Horsfield 68, Ian Poulter 72 (Rd. 3 score: -6)
7. RIPPER GC (-21): Marc Leishman 66, Matt Jones 69, Jediah Morgan 72 (Rd. 3 score: -6)
8. STINGER GC (-19): Charl Schwartzel 69, Branden Grace 70, Louis Oosthuizen 71 (Rd. 3 score: -3)
9. CLEEKS GC (-14): Richard Bland 67, Bernd Wiesberger 70, Graeme McDowell 72 (Rd. 3 score: -4)
10. SMASH GC (-11): Jason Kokrak 70, Brooks Koepka 71, Matthew Wolff 72 (Rd. 3 score: E)
11. HYFLYERS GC (-11): Brendan Steele 68, James Piot 71, Cameron Tringale 73 (Rd. 3 score: -1)
12. IRON HEADS GC (-6): Scott Vincent 70, Danny Lee 70, Kevin Na 71 (Rd. 3 score: -2)
4ACES CLINCH BYE: The defending team champion 4Aces GC have clinched one of the four first-round byes for the Team Championship thanks to their third-place points finish in Chicago.
The 4Aces currently have 188 points and cannot drop below fourth place in the standings after the regular-season finale in Jeddah next month. The top four teams in the points standings after Jeddah receive byes.
Four other teams are vying for the other three byes – No 2 Crushers GC, No. 3 Torque GC, No. 4 Stinger GC and No. 5 RangeGoats GC.
The 4Aces tied the RangeGoats at 25 under in Chicago but claimed the tiebreaker thanks to a better non-counting score – Dustin Johnson’s 1-under 70 beating Thomas Pieters’ even-par 71.
SMITH, GOOCH SECURE TOP 3 SPOTS: The Individual Champion title is now a three-player race among Ripper GC Captain Cameron Smith, RangeGoats GC’s Talor Gooch and Crushers GC Captain Bryson DeChambeau. Those are the only three players who can mathematically finish No. 1.
Smith, who finished 40th and out of the points in Chicago, remains the leader with 170 points, while Gooch is second with 162 points and DeChambeau third with 146 points after his victory.
4Aces GC’s Patrick Reed drops to fourth place with 121 points. Even if he wins in Jeddah and claims the 40 points for first, he would be unable to catch either Smith or Gooch.
Consequently, that means Smith and Gooch have clinched top-three positions that come with bonus payouts. But DeChambeau could still overtake both players to finish at No. 1.
Reed, Smash GC Captain Brooks Koepka, Stinger GC’s Branden Grace, 4Aces Captain Dustin Johnson and Torque GC’s Mito Pereira still have a mathematical shot to finish in third place in the standings. Johnson is the defending Individual champion.
LEISHMAN STAYS HOT: Ripper GC’s Marc Leishman shot a 5-under 66 to tie Anirban Lahiri for second place and took second place in points after winning the tiebreaker.
It’s Leishman’s best finish of the season and his second podium result after taking third in London. He now has top-8 points finishes in three of his last four LIV Golf starts and has moved up to 16th in the points standings.
“Just really enjoying the golf at the moment,” Leishman said. “Happy with the week.”
BROOKS HEADING TO RYDER CUP – While the rest of the LIV Golf League membership has an off-week following Chicago, Smash GC Captain Brooks Koepka is heading to Rome for next week’s Ryder Cup. Koepka will be making his fourth appearance as a member of the U.S. Team after being selected as a captain’s pick by Zach Johnson.
Koepka finished tied for 24th at Chicago and took 26th in the point standings after shooting 5 under for the tournament.
RD. 3 STAT LEADERS
Driving distance – Bryson DeChambeau, 338.4-yard average
Longest drive – Bryson DeChambeau, 384.6 yards (10th hole)
Driving accuracy – Henrik Stenson, Abraham Ancer, Richard Bland, 86% (12 of 14)
Greens in regulation – Charles Howell III, 95% (17 of 18)
Scrambling – Paul Casey (7 of 7), Bubba Watson (3 of 3), Richard Bland (2 of 2), Bryson DeChambeau (2 of 2), Charles Howell III (1 of 1), 100%
Fewest putts – Bernd Wiesberger, 23 putts
Most birdies – Bryson DeChambeau, 9
Bogey-free rounds – Richard Bland (67), Paul Casey (68)