Cameron Smith wins Chicago event in second start with LIV Golf

SUGAR GROVE, Illinois — British Open champion Cameron Smith made his decision to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf on Sunday when he finished with a 3-under 69 for a triple win in the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago.

Smith was only briefly threatened in the third and final round. One of the key moments was a 10-foot par putt on the 13th hole, and neither Dustin Johnson nor Peter Uihlein could do enough to catch it.

Smith, who made his second start in the rival golf league, won $4 million from the $20 million purse for individual play.

“I think I had to prove to myself and other people that I’m still a great player, I’m still here to win golf tournaments,” said Smith. “I didn’t have my best gear, but I stayed strong and made a few putts.”

Johnson (70) and Uihlein (69) each birdied the par-5 18th hole at Rich Harvest Farms, finishing in second place, each with $1,812,500.

Johnson’s birdie enabled his team to win for the fourth time in a row, which was worth an additional $750,000 for Johnson, Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez. In the five events Johnson has played, he has now made just over $12.5 million.

Uihlein’s team – Brooks Koepka is the captain – finished second, which was worth $375.00 for each team member. Taking second place as an individual and team, Uihlein picked up nearly $2.2 million on Sunday.

Smith let his short game do the most damage. He made enough birdies on the first nine to stay out front, then flopped a foot shop to the par-5 11th for another birdie.

Uihlein birdied on the 13th and looked like he could narrow the deficit to one shot until Smith made his clutch par.

Smith left no doubt in the end, making his overwater approach to four feet on the 17th to take a three-shot lead to the par-5 finish, then hit an 18-foot birdie putt that his team tied for third with Phil Mickelson’s team.

Mickelson had his best lap since joining Saudi-funded LIV Golf with a 66, finishing eighth, his first top-10 finish in five events.

Johnson is the only player from the 48-man field to finish in the top 10 at every LIV Golf event. He came out of a playoff win outside of Boston two weeks ago.

Smith was ranked No. 2 in the world when the 29-year-old Australian signed up to LIV Golf after the end of the PGA Tour season, the highest-ranked player to compete.

Johnson remains one of the key players to sign up, a two-time major champion who has been the world No. 1 for longer than any player since Tiger Woods.

“He’s probably the one you look at, feeling like he’s going to be at the top of the standings every week,” Smith said. “I hope he thinks the same of me, and hopefully we can keep it up.”

Sergio Garcia, who was criticized last week for withdrawing from the BMW PGA Championship after one round and appearing on the sidelines of the Alabama-Texas football game, had a 67, finishing fourth with Joaquin Niemann (68).

The next LIV Golf event is in Bangkok in three weeks.

The series will not return to America until the final team event at Trump Doral near Miami, the last weekend in October.

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