LIV Golf: Charles Howell wins the first event of the year

LIV Golf: Charles Howell wins the first event of the year

Charles Howell has won LIV Golf’s season opener and taken home $4m. The event was held in Mexico at the Al Camaleon Golf Course in Mayakoba and was won comfortably by Howell who finished four shots ahead of his nearest competitor Peter Uhlein. 

Howell’s team, Crushers GC, also came out victorious in the team event with a combined score of -26. In second place were 4Aces GC who finished nine shots behind Howell and co on -17 over the three rounds in Mexico. 

Going into the final round, the leaderboard looked far closer than how it ended up. Howell was one stroke behind Uihlen and Talor Gooch but produced one of the finest rounds of golf you are ever likely to see. Shooting 63, eight-under-par, the American stormed ahead of both men and never looked back. 

While Uihlen ended up in second place, Gooch has a Sunday to forget as he shot an ugly five-over-par 76 to finish up tied for 11th place in the individual competition. 

Flawless golf 

Howell wasted no time in getting started on Sunday and was incredibly six-under-par through the front nine. While his back nine wasn’t as explosive, he still managed to find two more birdies and seven pars to complete a bogey-less round. 

In the end, the 43-year-old put his win down to his experience of playing the Mayakoba course many times throughout his career he said:

“I had a lot of experience. I think having played it in the wind for so many years helped a little bit – I had an idea of what to expect coming in. But around this place, man, there’s double bogeys everywhere, so you never know.”

It was a triple bogey, rather than a double, that ended Peter Uihlein’s hopes on Sunday. After being put under severe pressure by Howell, the 33-year-old found the trees on 12 and never recovered. Talking about his performance afterwards, he told reporters that he would “skip the 12th” if he could do anything differently. He added:

“He won it on the front nine. He did a heck of a job, there wasn’t any pressure on him and he did exactly what he needed to do. He’s a worthy champion. The 12th is just a hole that isn’t set up well for me but you know, I’m proud of the way I battled. Other than that hole, it was a pretty good day.”

It’s a team game 

Howell was keen to ensure that the focus was also on the fact that he was part of the winning team this week, labelling the victory “a big team win”. He is one-fourth of the Crushers GC, along with Paul Casey, Anirban Lahiri and Bryson DeChambeau. As a result of winning the team event in Mexico, each man will take home a share of $1m. 

Peter Uhlein had to settle for second place in the team event as well alongside his 4Aces GC teammates Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez and Patrick Reed. A score of +7 from Johnson on the final day made life particularly difficult for the Aces. 

Next up on the LIV Tour is a trip to The Gallery Golf Club in Arizona on the 17th of March.

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