WATCH: Dustin Johnson wins LIV Golf Boston with an eagle on the opening playoff hole

WATCH: Dustin Johnson wins LIV Golf Boston with an eagle on the opening playoff hole

New York – Dustin Johnson defeated a slew of rookies on the breakaway circuit to win the LIV Golf Invitational Boston with a huge eagle putt on the opening playoff hole.

Joaquin Niemann of Chile, Anirban Lahiri of India, and Johnson all competed in the contentious Saudi-sponsored series and both made their debuts before Johnson emerged victorious in a three-way playoff.

At International Golf Club, all three players achieved a 54-hole total of 15 under par.

In his LIV Golf debut, world number two and defending British Open winner Cameron Smith tied for fourth place with England’s Lee Westwood after finishing one shot down at 14-under. Westwood had entered the tournament with an eight-under par 62 but missed the playoff after bogeying his final hole.

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Johnson led the field at 15-under par after shooting a five-under par 65 on Sunday, which included his sixth birdie of the day at the 13th.

To qualify for the playoff, he needed par saves at the par-three 17th and 18th holes, but he failed to make another birdie.

On his playoff putt, Johnson didn’t hold back and sent it hurtling up the hill. When the ball contacted the lip, it stopped before bouncing off the back edge of the cup and into the cup.

Johnson stated, “Yeah, it was going a little fast, but it was a good line,” adding that he believed the 18th hole “owed me one” as his second shot during regulation landed in the brush next to the enormous scoreboard behind the green.

Lahiri, who had a score of 15-under when the clock struck noon, missed an eagle putt from six feet out at the 18th hole that would have given him the victory.

Although he had six birdies and an eagle during his six-under 64, he missed the green with his second shot after finding the fairway on the opening playoff hole.

He chipped to five feet for a birdie opportunity, but Johnson came up with the winning shot.

With his sixth birdie of regulation at the 18th, Niemann guaranteed himself a position in the playoffs. But in the playoff, his tee shot struck a spectator before landing in the right rough, and from there, he was in a bunker by the green.

Johnson became the first American to win the series’ individual trophy after finishing eighth in the opening LIV Golf competition in London, fourth in Portland, and third in Bedminster.

His 4 Aces team finished two strokes ahead of Lahiri’s Crushers, and he took home a $4 million first prize as well as $750,000 as his share of the team first prize.

The well-established PGA Tour and DP World Tour are reportedly scrambling to retain their top players in light of the enormous purses and reported signing bonuses; the PGA Tour has already banned any player who participates in LIV Golf while also making plans to add more lucrative competitions to its own schedule.

LIV Golf, backed by the almost unlimited resources of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund has also been accused of “sportswashing” the kingdom’s human rights record.

Competitive tension

Despite the naysayers and the escalating hostility between former LIV Golf players and PGA Tour regulars, Johnson said he was glad to be a part of what he considered to be an innovative new project.

Despite the free-wheeling environment, he claimed that the money on the line created plenty of competitive tension.

Johnson remarked, “Especially with the check that you get — you can feel it.

The 2018 US PGA Tour champion Pat Perez, an American, has profited from the 4 Aces’ three team victories thus far, pocketing $750,000 for each one.

He had a succinct answer for critics who say LIV Golf’s tournaments amount to exhibitions.

“Exhibition match don’t pay $4.75 million,” Perez said.

AFP

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