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Branden Grace dazzled on the final nine holes as a chip-in on the 16th proved to be the killer blow in Portland. Carding a seven-under 65 at Pumpkin Ridge, with the 13-under-par tournament total good enough for a two-shot victory over Carlos Ortiz. The Mexican had led by five early in the round of the 54-hole event, but struggled to sustain any momentum in a bid to win on his LIV Golf debut.
“What a week,” said Grace following his putt to win. “I played flawless golf and played really well. When I needed to do something special, it came up. Managed to pull it off. What a great day. This is amazing—come out here, the new format, this new everything is amazing."
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With the win, the South African picks up the biggest paycheck of his career, with Grace securing the $4 million first prize, as well as $375,000 after his Stinger GC team of Hennie Du Plessis, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel finished in second.
Previously, the 34-year-old's highest paycheck was a little more than $1.1 million, which he won at the 2017 Nedbank Challenge, with Grace’s career earnings on the PGA Tour surpassing $12 million. However, in just two events on the LIV Golf Series, he has earned around $6.5 million, after his third-place finish and team victory at Centurion last month.
During the round, it had been Ortiz who held a comfortable lead, with the Mexican five shots ahead at one point on Saturday. However, as Ortiz struggled on the back nine it was up to Grace to catch him, as the World's No. 128 grabbed five birdies in just eight holes.
Pulling level with Ortiz after a birdie at the 13th, Grace then went on to make three in a row at the 15th, 16th and 17th as he secured a two-shot win and a champagne shower.
The third LIV Golf event is scheduled for the 29th - 31st July at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey, with Englishman, Paul Casey, being the most recent name to make the jump to LIV Golf. The 44-year-old was announced during the Portland live stream.
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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