Abraham Ancer Wins Debut LIV Title In Three-Man Playoff Despite Seeing Five-Shot Advantage Evaporate

The Mexican member of Sergio Garcia's Fireballs GC squad dug in at the crucial moment to win LIV Golf Hong Kong

Abraham Ancer poses with the 2024 LIV Golf Hong Kong trophy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Abraham Ancer won his first individual title in LIV Golf on Sunday after triumphing in a three-man playoff against Cameron Smith and Paul Casey in Hong Kong.

The sole Mexican member of Sergio Garcia's Fireballs GC was the overwhelming favorite to complete the job before a ball was struck in round three given his five-shot advantage over nearest challengers, Harold Varner III and Eugenio Chacarra - who were on 10-under.

Yet, despite standing on the first tee bogey free through his opening two days, Ancer almost endured his worst nightmare when trying to close out LIV Golf Hong Kong and earn that $4 million check.

The 33-year-old was two-over for his front nine while Casey and Smith shot to two-under, respectively. And although Ancer made a birdie at 10, a needless mistake on 15 where he drove into a creek that cut across the fairway ultimately cost him another stroke.

With momentum seemingly against him and both Casey and Smith racking up birdies on their final holes to force a playoff on 13-under, few would have bet on the result that followed.

Wayward tee shots from Casey and then Smith preceded Ancer rifling a beautiful drive straight down the middle of the fairway. A stunning approach from the Mexican left no more than five feet for birdie, and once the challengers had eventually tidied up for bogey, it was left to Ancer to slot the ball home and lift his maiden trophy in the 54-hole league.

Reacting to his victory immediately after the winning putt, Ancer said: "Man, I made that so hard on myself!

"The ball-striking wasn't there, but mentally I was really strong, so I felt really good. I felt like I was not going to give up. That round could have gone south really quickly.

"Hit some good bunker shots, some good putts that I needed to and just kept myself in it and hit the right shot at the right time there in the playoff."

A one-time winner on the PGA Tour, Korn Ferry Tour, European Tour, Asian Tour, and now LIV, Ancer admitted the long wait for a victory since signing for the PIF-backed circuit in 2022 had been mentally tough on him.

He said: "It feels incredible because I've worked so hard these previous two years, and I haven't been able to -- I feel like I haven't played to my potential in the past two years. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself.

"It was tough to pinpoint what it was because I was practicing harder than I ever have, and I was not seeing the results. Mentally it was tough. That's why today was really big for me I felt like mentally to be able to get it done with a tough round, not hitting it my best and feeling the pressure of all these great players right behind me.

"It gives me a lot of confidence. But it also kind of eases me that all the hard work that I've put in these last two years, it paid off today. I'm extremely happy."

Elsewhere in the tournament, the returning Anthony Kim produced a brilliant final round of five-under to generate some positive momentum as he continues his comeback with LIV Golf.

LIV takes a break now before returning on April 5-7 for LIV Golf Miami at Trump National Doral.

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.