Harold Varner III claimed a long-awaited first win on US soil at the LIV Golf DC event on Sunday and knew exactly how he wanted to celebrate: with another round of golf.
The American birdied the last hole at Trump National Washington DC to finish on 11 under par and beat Branden Grace to the $4m (£3.2m) individual title by one shot.
The 32-year-old had previously won in Australia and Saudi Arabia but this was maiden triumph in front of his fellow countrymen and Varner III opted for a suitably homespun way to celebrate.
“I love playing golf. That’s my favorite thing. I’m going to play tomorrow. It’s going to be awesome,” he said.
Varner III, who climbed to sixth in the individual standings, added that a home win after 11 years as a professional was “very special – I’ve never won in America. It’s my favourite country.”
Grace, who finished runner-up for the second LIV Golf event in a row, applied pressure on the final day with a 66 – the week’s only bogey-free round – and pushed Varner III all the way.
The North Carolina resident had taken the lead with a chip-in birdie from a bunker at 11 and gone two clear at the par-three 15th.
And when Grace birdied two of the last three holes including the last to join him on 11 under, Varner III two-putted for a clutch birdie that completed a round of 68.
His only disappointment was missing out on the team title, which went to the Spanish-speaking Torque GC captained by Joaquin Niemann.
“It’s good, but at the end of the day I really wanted to celebrate with the RangeGoats,” Varner added. “That’s my team.”
Talor Gooch remains top of the individual standings at the halfway point of the LIV Golf season, ahead of Grace and this month’s US PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka.
Torque benefited from Spanish youngster David Puig’s 66, a 70 from Colombian Sebastian Munoz and a round of 71 that helped Mito Pereira finish third in the individual competition.
Their second win of the season lifted them to third in the team standings, behind Dustin Johnson’s 4Aces and the all-South African Stinger GC, which includes Grace.
“We won already two times,” Niemann said. “I think this is good to prove to all the other teams that we are the team to beat.”
Lee Westwood’s Majesticks climbed off the bottom of the team standings and registered their best result of the 2023 LIV Golf campaign by finishing fifth.
The eighth tournament of the LIV Golf season is due to take place at Valderrama from 30 June before the circuit returns to Centurion Club for its London leg on 7 July.