LIV Golf: Charl Schwartzel wins inaugural individual event, Stingers GC takes team trophy

Charl Schwartzel
Stingers GC

JUNE 11, 2022

Six years ago, Charl Schwartzel started the year with a bang. Two tournament wins in his first four starts in 2016. Since then? A victory drought. He made 136 consecutive starts without a win while suffering a wrist injury that cut short one season.

It was a tough stretch to endure for the one-time major champion and winner of 23 worldwide events. But he persevered – and on Saturday, he took home golf’s biggest tournament prize, winning the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational London and its $4 million individual prize at Centurion Club.

In addition, Schwartzel’s Stingers GC won the team competition and the $3 million prize split between the four team members. In all, it was a $4.75 million payday for the 37-year-old South African – the biggest one-tournament total of his career.

“I really wanted to win again,” Schwartzel said after finishing at 7 under. “I worked very hard the last few years and there were signs of good golf and just haven’t really been able to be in contention.”

That wasn’t a problem this week. He led the 54-hole event wire to wire, opening with 65-66 to take a 3-shot lead entering the final round. He built the lead to five shots before suffering a double bogey at the par-4 12th, giving the rest of the field renewed hope.

But Schwartzel bounced back with a birdie at the par-5 13th to shoot a 2-over 72 for a 1-shot win over Stingers teammate Hennie du Plessis. A third Stingers player, Branden Grace, shot 65 to claim the third-place spot on the podium via tiebreaker with Peter Uihlein.

“I hit a wayward shot on 12 and it sort of derailed me,” Schwartzel said. “And then from there on, I was just trying to hang in. Hennie was playing some really good golf, he was hitting good shots and putting pressure. So you know, you could see it was a bit of just get in the house at the end. …
Couldn’t be more pleased and happy with how it turned out today.”

The rest of the South African Stingers, drafted by captain Louis Oosthuizen, were also pleased.

Since turning pro in 2015, du Plessis had yet to break the $1 million mark in career winnings. On Saturday, he won $2.125 million for solo second and another $750,000 for his team share, bringing his total to $2.875 million.

“I’ve worked hard to be in this position and to earn this amount of money,” du Plessis said. “I’ve got LIV Golf to thank for that, for giving me the opportunity. It’s been an incredible week and I’m very grateful and I’m very happy.”

Schwartzel and du Plessis provided their team’s counting scores for each of the first two rounds. Grace said he and Oosthuizen spoke on Friday night about also wanting to contribute. Not only did Grace shoot 65, but Oosthuizen’s 70 also counted.

“Today was really important for us to get a score that counted,” Grace said. The team competition was not close, though. Stinger’s 20 under total for the three days was 14 strokes better than Crushers GC, which was captained by Uihlein. The all-English Majesticks GC took third at 5 under. “Don’t know how we’re going to top this,” Oosthuizen said. “1-2-3 and the team. We’ve definitely set the bar high.”

PLAYER QUOTEBOARD

CHARL SCHWARTZEL: “Hennie played fantastic golf. Twenty-five years old, he’s got a bright future. He’s playing real good. And you know, I’m proud of him. Proud of my teammates. This is an historic moment. … Man, it’s awesome.”

HENNIE DU PLESSIS: “It’s hard not to think about the money. But you’re still trying to win a tournament and put a decent result in. So, I didn’t really think about the money. I just thought about the trophy.”

TEAM LEADERBOARD

In addition to the individual stroke-play competition, players compete as four-man teams during LIV Golf events. The best two scores in Round 1, the best two scores in Round 2, and the best three scores in Round 3 will combine to produce the team score.

The total team prize money is $5 million, with the winning team dividing $3 million, second place dividing $1.5 million and third place dividing $500,000 among its four team members.

Here is the leaderboard and Saturday’s three counting scores in the final round:

1. STINGER GC ($3M)
Total: -20
RD. 1: -9
RD. 2: -6
RD. 3: -5
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Grace 65, du Plessis 70, Oosthuizen 70

2. CRUSHERS GC ($1.5 M)
Total: -6
RD. 1: -3
RD. 2: -5
RD. 3: +2
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Bland 67, Uihlein 69, Smyth 76

3. MAJESTICKS GC ($500,000)
Total: -5
RD. 1: -2
RD. 2: -4
RD. 3: +1
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Horsfield 68, Canter 71, Westwood 72

4. TORQUE GC
Total: -3
RD. 1: +1
RD. 2: E
RD. 3: -4
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Otaegui 68, Swafford 69, Gooch 69

5. 4 ACES GC
Total: -2
RD. 1: -1
RD. 2: -3
RD. 3: +2
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Johnson 70, Norris 71, Bekker 71

6. CLEEKS GC
Total: +3
RD. 1: +3
RD. 2: -1
RD. 3: +1
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Kaymer 69, Ritchie 71, Larrazabal 71

7. PUNCH GC
Total: +7
RD. 1: +4
RD. 2: -3
RD. 3: +6
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Windred 71, Kinoshita 72, Ormsby 73

8. NIBLICKS GC
Total: +8
RD. 1: +7
RD. 2: +3
RD. 3: -2
RD. 3 Counting Scores: McDowell 66, Pettit 70, Fisher 72

9. SMASH GC
Total: +10
RD. 1: E
RD. 2: -1
RD. 3: +11
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Kozuma 70, Buranatanyarat 75, Vincent 76

10. HY FLYERS GC
Total: +12
RD. 1: -3
RD. 2: +2
RD. 3: +13
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Harding 69, Mickelson 76, Koepka 78

11. FIREBALLS GC
Total: +13
RD. 1: +2
RD. 2: E
RD. 3: +11
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Piot 73, Puig 73, Garcia 75

12. IRON HEADS GC
Total: +16
RD. 1: +1
RD. 2: +5
RD. 3: +10
RD. 3 Counting Scores: Kaewkanjana 72, Tanihara 74, Madappa 74

PERFORMANCE STATS

Average drive distance (drives recorded on hole Nos. 6 and 15) – Sergio Garcia, 304.0 yards

Longest drive
 – Sergio Garcia, 311 yards, 6th hole

Greens in Regulation – Branden Grace, 15 of 18 greens

Scrambling – Graeme McDowell, J.C. Ritchie, 5 of 5

Fewest putts – Sam Horsfield, Richard Bland, Andy Ogletree, Phachara Khongwatmai, 26

Eagles made – Oliver Bekker (3), Sam Horsfield (3), Dustin Johnson (3)

HOLE STATS

Easiest hole – 538-yard par-5 13th, which played to 37 under (stroke average 4.229), with 3 eagles, 32 birdies, 12 pars and 1 bogey.

Hardest hole – 492-yard par-4 9th, which played to 38 over (stroke average 4.792), with 1 birdie, 17 pars, 23 bogeys, 5 double bogeys and 2 others.

Course stroke average: Rd. 1 (72.229). Rd. 2 (71.645). Rd. 3 (72.292). Par is 70.

PLAYER NOTES

Although Branden Grace and Peter Uihlein each finished at 5 under for the three rounds, Grace received the third-place podium finish and awarded higher points due to his better back-nine score (Grace 31, Uihlein 34). The two players received equal prize money of $1,275,000.

TK Chantananuwat (38th) and David Puig (41st) each received $1,000 per their amateur status. The remainder of their winnings — a combined $270,000 — were donated to charity.

Chantananuwat, the 15-year-old from Thailand, shot 8-over 78 to finish with a three-day total of 11 over.

Captains who provided counting scores for all three days of competition included Peter Uihlein (Crushers GC), Talor Gooch (Torque GC), Dustin Johnson (4 Aces GC), Graeme McDowell (Niblicks GC) and Sergio Garcia (Fireballs GC).

COURTESY LIV GOLF COMMUNICATIONS

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