Smith wins LIV Golf Chicago for maiden victory on breakaway tour
Cameron Smith proved too good for the field at LIV Golf Chicago as the Australian scored a three-shot win for his maiden triumph on the new tour.
Smith, the reigning Open and Players champion, posted a three-under 69 in his third trip around Rich Harvest Farms, with six birdies and three bogeys seeing him finish at 13 under overall.
He started his round in a wobbly fashion, with two bogeys in his first six holes, but steadied down the stretch to fend off any late drama. Smith birdied his final two holes and capped the win with a long-range putt, living up to his reputation as arguably the world's best putter.
Smith pockets $4million, but during his interview after stepping off the 18th green he said this week was about proving how good he is, no matter where he is playing.
"I think I had to prove to probably myself and some other people that I'm a great player, and I'm still out here to win golf tournaments," Smith said.
"I'm proud of how I hung in there today, I didn't have my best stuff for the first eight or nine holes, but I stuck it tough and made a few good putts coming in – it was nice."
Smith fended off a late push from Dustin Johnson, who finished tied for second at 10 under, and said he hopes the two of them can build a friendly rivalry as LIV's top two players.
"I think so, he's probably the one in the group of players here who you look at and think he's going to be close to the top of the leaderboard every week," Smith said. "I hope he thinks the same about me, and hopefully we can keep it going."
While Johnson fell just short in the individual play, he converted a crucial birdie on the final hole to secure the fourth consecutive team title for 4 Aces GC, edging out Smash GC, who were able to count on the other player tied for second place, Peter Uihlein.
"It feels good, obviously this one was really close and came down to the wire," Johnson said. "I knew we were one up on Peter [Uihlein]'s team, so I needed to tie or beat him on the last hole, and we both made nice up-and-downs.
"It feels great to get another team win – but a little disappointed with the way I played today, and yesterday."
Despite 4 Aces GC winning overall, only two of their four members finished under par. Johnson led the way, with Patrick Reed at five under, Pat Perez at even par and Talor Gooch at three over.
Smith was done no great favours in that respect by his team-mates either, with Marc Leishman finishing tied for last at six over, while Wade Ormsby was four over to relegate Punch GC to fourth in the team standings. At least Matt Jones contributed positively, posting four under for the tournament.
Sergio Garcia and Joaquin Niemann rounded out the top five in the individual standings at eight under, Stinger GC team-mates Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel tied for sixth at seven under, and Phil Mickelson collected his first top-10 finish on the tour as he tied with Bryson DeChambeau for eighth at six under, among a group of four on that score.