LIV Golf Tucson: Danny Lee ends eight-year drought in Arizona
Danny Lee vindicated his decision to join the LIV Golf League with a first win in eight years at the circuit’s second event of the season in Tucson, Arizona, on Sunday night.
The New Zealander, who was recruited to Kevin Na’s IronHeads team last month, ended his drought after a four-man play-off with Louis Oosthuizen, Carlos Ortiz and Brendan Steele.
Lee holed a clinching birdie at the third extra hole after his final round of 69 had left him on nine under par and helped the IronHeads finish third in the team competition.
“I haven’t won since 2015. I just felt like winning is just not my thing, but today just changed that,” said the 32-year-old, who banked £3.2m ($4m).
“It’s just good to see I’m capable of playing some good golf again.
“I wasn’t even looking at the individual score all day. I was only asking ‘how is our team doing?’. That’s the reason why Kevin called. That’s why I wanted to win as a team.
“We were a little bit short on the team, but this individual victory means a lot.”
LIV Golf League captains now proactively sign players to their teams and Na toasted his decision to choose Lee for the 2023 campaign.
“I’m extremely proud of him,” he said. “I think I made the right pick.”
Howell III misses play-off but cements lead in LIV Golf standings
Charles Howell III, winner of the first LIV Golf League event of the season in Mexico, led by two shots after making a blistering start on Sunday.
Howell III fell back to finish fifth but the American is the early pacesetter in the individual standings, ahead of Ortiz and Lee.
Former Open champion Oosthuizen looked on course to finally win a maiden title on US soil when he also led by two with five holes to play.
But the captain of all-South African team Stinger made three bogeys in four holes and needed a birdie at 18 just to force his way into the play-off.
Ortiz inspires Garcia’s Fireballs to team title at LIV Golf Tucson
Ortiz’s round of 65 was the best of the day and, although not quite enough to land the individual crown, ensured the Fireballs won the team competition on 25 under par.
While captain Sergio Garcia and team-mates Abraham Ancer and Eugenio Chacarra laboured to over-par rounds, Mexican Ortiz did the heavy lifting for the all-Latin line-up.
It was Garcia’s second win as captain, following victory in Thailand during last year’s series of invitational tournaments, but his first in the new league format.
“Super-excited about getting another team win after last year in Bangkok, and super-proud of all of them,” said the Spaniard.
“Especially Carlos, the way he played today. Shame he couldn’t get the individual win. But what a great effort.”
Poulter, Westwood and Casey have week to forget in Arizona
Dustin Johnson’s 4Aces were runners-up on the team leaderboard for the second tournament in a row after finishing four shots back from the Fireballs.
Patrick Reed’s 66 and a pair of 68s from Johnson and Peter Uihlein saw them climb to the top of the overall standings, where they finished last year.
It was a week to forget, however, for many of the British contingent.
Ian Poulter’s Majesticks, who include Lee Westwood and Sam Horsfield, finished last in the team competition and remain bottom of the standings, with zero points.
Fellow Englishman Paul Casey failed to build on his strong display in Mexico, finishing outside of the individual points.
LIV Golf Tucson results
-9 Danny Lee*
-9 Carlos Ortiz
-9 Brendan Steele
-9 Louis Oosthuizen
-8 Charles Howell III
* won play-off
-25 Fireballs (Garcia, Ortiz, Ancer, Chacarra)
-21 4Aces (Johnson, Reed, Uihlein, Perez)
-19 IronHeads (Na, Lee, Vincent, Kim)
-16 Stinger (Oosthuizen, Schwartzel, Grace, Burmester)
-16 Ripper (Smith, Leishman, Jones, Morgan)