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Talor Gooch claims back-to-back LIV Golf titles with Singapore win

Talor Gooch of RangeGoats GC in action during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational-Singapore at Sentosa Golf Club on April 30, 2023, in Singapore. (Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE (AP) — Talor Gooch became the first player to win back-to-back LIV Golf titles after a playoff hole victory against Sergio Garcia at the LIV Singapore tournament at Sentosa Golf Club on Sunday.

Gooch and Garcia shadowed each other for most of the opening two rounds and the final round was no different, with both the American and Spaniard never more than stroke apart as they finished at 17-under 196 to force a playoff.

At the first playoff hole, the par-5 18th, Gooch skirted with the water hazard with his tee shot but played a near perfect second shot into the heart of the green where he easily two-putted for birdie.

Garcia’s second shot at the playoff hole found the greenside bunker and the Spaniard was unable to make his birdie giving Gooch his second successive win and a $4 million prize.

For Gooch, it’s the ninth time he’s either led or shared a lead after an LIV round, the most of any player. He’s now led or shared the lead in the last six rounds.

“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.”

Twice LIV Golf tournament winner Brooks Koepka shot 67 to finish third at 16-under 197, one shot ahead of Scott Vincent (67) of Zimbabwe, who had briefly threatened to make it a four-way battle for the title before a bogey at the par-4 15th stalled his momentum.

British Open champion Cam Smith (71) finished in a tie for sixth after he mixed regular birdies with bogeys for an even final round and an overall score of 12-under 201.

Phil Mickelson shot a 72, with two double bogeys in his final round, to fall down the leaderboard into a tie for 13th.

Like the first round, the final round Sunday was delayed for more than an hour after 13 holes of the shotgun format due to severe weather in the area.

Garcia, who began his round on the first hole with Gooch in the shotgun-start format, birdied three of the first nine holes to maintain the lead with the American, who had four birdies and a bogey before nine consecutive pars.

Garcia won the Singapore Open at Sentosa in 2018 and had played bogey-free golf in the first 47 holes but two bogeys at the par-4 12th and 15th hampered his efforts of a repeat victory here.

At the par-5 18th in regulation, Gooch had 41-foot putt for eagle which narrowly missed to the left of the cup. The 31-year-old American easily made his birdie to put the pressure back on Garcia.

The Spaniard responded by calmly making birdie from 11 feet to force the playoff.

The next event is at Tulsa, Oklahoma starting May 12.