Dustin Johnson bagged the individual prize fund at the weekend’s LIV Golf Invitational Series event in Boston in dramatic style as the American sank a play-off eagle to snatch the $4m (£3.4m) jackpot.
The 38-year-old from South Carolina won on America’s East Coast after fending off Joaquin Niemann and Anirban Lahiri in a play-off after the trio – the latter two of which were making their debut – finished the three-day event on 15 under par.
Chilean Niemann’s tied second place on debut was enough to see him and Lahiri bag $1.8m each – but it could have been so much more for Lahiri with the Indian missing an eight-foot eagle on his final regulation hole which would have snatched him the prize pot.
Reigning Open champion Cameron Smith – the latest high profile player to defect to the Saudi Arabia-backed golf league – was at one point tying for the lead but dropped off in the latter stages of the Boston event.
Lee Westwood went on a final day charge, too, shooting a round of 62 to finish alongside Smith on 14 under par.
Johnson joins Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Henrik Stenson as winners on the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series circuit.
“It means a lot,” said winner Johnson. “Obviously with the calibre of players that are playing, especially now on LIV, we’ve got great fields every week. We’re going to continue to have great fields. It’s probably going to even get better starting next year. But even right now our fields are unbelievable.
“For me, it’s something new. It’s something exciting. I’m really enjoying being out here, and we’re playing at great venues and they do a wonderful job putting on the tournaments.
“I think you talk to any of the fans, the players, whoever, staff, they do a great job taking care of everyone and making it a great experience for everyone.
“I’m just really happy to be a part of it.”
In the team event, Johnson’s Aces GC – made up of the American, Patrick Reed, Talor Gooch and Pat Perez – bagged top spot for the third consecutive meet on 32 under par after securing first place in both Portland and Bedminster in July – the team bagged $3m for their win.
Crushers GC – Bryson DeChambeau, Paul Casey, Charles Howell III and Lahiri – finished in second and earned $1.5m while the Majesticks GC – Westwood, Ian Poulter, Stenson and Sam Horsfield – came in third, earning $500,000 between them.
“The juices were definitely flowing,” said Aces GC’s Reed. “I think I had five or six left, and they came up to me and said, hey, one, you’re counting, and we’re down two, so try to do something.
“I was able to rally off back-to-back birdies on four and five, and then to go ahead and hit it to three or four feet on eight to make eagle on the second to last hole is always something that just kind of gets you going.
“I think that’s what’s so impressive about our team is it seems like every week, we seem to close. It’s not just how we start. We get out of the gates fast.”
The LIV Golf party travels to Chicago in a fortnight’s time before heading off to Asia for competitions in Bangkok and Jeddah. Thereafter the Team Championship season finale will take place in Miami with an individual prize pot of $30m and a team pot of $50m.