Branden Grace shot a final-round 65 to claim a two-shot victory, and a $4 million prize, at the 2022 LIV Golf Invitational-Portland.
Amid cheers of, “Let’s Go Branden, Let’s Go Branden” the 34-year-old South African closed with four birdies in a five-hole stretch (Nos. 13, 15, 16 and 17) to reach 13 under par.
Additionally, Grace’s Stingers GC finished runner-up to 4 Aces in the team competition to score the $1.5 million second-place prize shared among four team members – $375,000 each. In all, it was a $4.375 million payday for Grace – easily the biggest one-tournament total of his career.
“Yeah, like Dustin said, from start to finish. Like I said before, I’m no Tiger, but that was as close as I’m going to get to feeling what Tiger feels like,” said Grace.
“Coming down the 18th with everybody just surrounding you, chanting your name, it was amazing. I’ve never experienced anything like that.
“It was just nice that whether it was myself or Dustin or Carlos, whoever made a bogey, they were going nuts, and that what it’s supposed to be like.
“People are out there, they want to see you put on a show, and I feel that’s what we did pretty well today.”
Finishing alone in second was Carlos Oritz who shot 69 to finish 11 under. The Mexican drained a lengthy birdie on the 18th hole to secure solo third place for Team Fireballs.
“Yeah, I mean, they were unbelievable — I didn’t even know there were that many Mexicans in Portland,” said Ortiz. “They were cheering, “venga cabrón,” and I was like, what?
“It was unbelievable. I haven’t had that many opportunities to be in final groups maybe like DJ, but it was crazy from the beginning. Both sides of the fairway were full of people, until the end, putting the ropes behind us. It was great.
“Being able to fight it out with Gracey, we were kind of in there until he decided to just keep going and left us behind.
“It was awesome. We had a great time.”
Rounding out the top 3 in Portland was Patrick Reed, of 4 Aces, who finished 9 under after a final-round 67.
“It was unreal,” said Reed, whose 4 Aces won the team competition in a blowout. “I might be moving to Portland sometime soon, so many fans on my side. I’m like, this is amazing.
“You know, it was awesome from start to finish. I mean, just the start of the week and just the — really the first couple days with having no fans and just seeing how electric and how pumped up all the guys were getting, it felt like I was playing a team event back in Ryder Cups, Presidents Cups and events like that where everyone is just all in.
“I think that’s the biggest thing, everyone is all in. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first day you arrive you’re playing nine-hole practice rounds or whether it’s the final round of the event. Everyone is cheering for everyone, everyone is playing their heart out trying as hard as they can.
“To go ahead and eagle 17 and start throwing fist pumps today, I haven’t done that in God knows how long. Just that energy felt amazing. Being able to chip in on 18 and see the crowd just go absolutely insane and then come back and watch these guys finish up, seeing fans just pile in behind them, we don’t get that every week.
“To think that we’re going to be able to do that 14 times a year every single year, it’s going to be unbelievable, and I can’t wait for the next one.”
Dustin Johnson (71) finished tied with Reed on 9 under but lost the tiebreaker (final round score) and dropped to solo four. Louis Oosthuizen (69) grabbed the final spot in the top 5.
“I mean, I felt like the fans all week were absolutely amazing, but today it was packed,” said Johnson. “The fans were electric from start to finish. I mean, there was a ton of energy out there, obviously coming down 17 and 18. Would have liked to have been a little bit closer to Branden finishing, but obviously he played unbelievable today and deserved everything with the way he played. But I thought the fans and the crowd were absolutely amazing.”
2022 LIV Golf Invitational – Portland
Leaderboard: Top 10
Pos-Player-To Par-(Final Rd)
1. Branden Grace -13 (-7)
2. Carlos Ortiz -11 (-3)
3. Patrick Reed -9 (-5)
4. Dustin Johnson -9 (-1)
5. Louis Oosthuizen -7 (-3)
6. Jinichiro Kozuma -6 (-2)
7. Talor Gooch -4 (-2)
8. Matthew Wolff -3 (-2)
9. Justin Harding -3 (+2)
10. Bryson DeChambeau -2 (+1)
11. Abraham Ancer -1 (-1)
13. Kevin Na -1 (E)
16. Lee Westwood E (-3)
19. Martin Kaymer E (+1)
20. Brooks Koepka E (+4)
26. Sergio Garcia +4 (+2)
34. Pat Perez +6 (+8)
35. Graeme McDowell +7 (+1)
39. Charl Schwartzel +8 (+5)
41. Ian Poulter +10 (+2)
42. Phil Mickelson +10 (+4)
- 4 Aces -23 (Johnson, Reed, Gooch, Perez)
- Stinger GC -16 (Oosthuizen, Grace, Schwartzel, du Plessis)
- Fireballs GC -12 (Ortiz, Ancer, Garcia, Lopez)
Top-5 Money Makers
Includes Individual & Team Prizes
1. Branden Grace – $4.375M
2. Carlos Ortiz – $2.25M
3. Patrick Reed – $2.25M
4. Dustin Johnson – $1.8M
5. Talor Gooch – $1.425M