Gooch edges Garcia at LIV Golf Singapore

Mark McGowan

Talor Gooch - Photo by Charles Laberge/LIV Golf

Talor Gooch became LIV Golf’s first back-to-back winner when he followed up his maiden success at LIV Adelaide with a playoff victory over Sergio Garcia at Sentosa Golf Club to make it win number two at LIV Singapore.

Having gone wire-to-wire at last week’s boisterous affair, Gooch ended each day in Singapore with at least a share of the lead, but Garcia – a former course winner when capturing the 2018 Singapore Open – was chasing his first LIV Tour success and Brooks Koepka, playing alongside the pair, was chasing his third title having triumphed at LIV Jeddah last year and then becoming the first multiple winner when capturing LIV Orlando a month ago.

Each of the three came fast from the blocks, and by the fifth hole it was a three-way tie with Koepka three-under for the round to Gooch and Garcia’s -2. Unfortunately for Koepka, he’d card 12 successive pars before recording his next birdie on the final hole, but it would prove too little, too late as his playing partners would also make birdie to finish one stroke clear of the four-time major champion.


A 70-minute weather delay had forced a halt to proceedings with the final three-ball on the 14th green, proving inopportune for Garcia who’s miss a good birdie opportunity on resumption of play and follow with a bogey on the next. Fighting spirit has never been in short supply for the Spaniard, however, and he’d climb back into a tie of the lead with a birdie at the next, and pars all round saw Gooch and Garcia reach the final tee with a one-stroke lead over Koepka.

On the par-5 last, Gooch would find the green in two and his lengthy eagle putt just slipped by leaving a simple tap in, meaning Koepka, who’d found the greenside bunker in two and splashed to nine feet was out of the running, but Garcia held his nerve from seven-and-a-half feet to take it to a playoff.

Gooch’s heart was in his mouth as his tee shot just cleared the hazard on the first playoff hole, leaving him the perfect line into the green. When Garcia flared his second shot into the bunker, short-siding himself and catching a downhill line, Gooch drilled a fairway wood to the heart of the green and when Garcia’s bunker shot came up inches shy and stuck in the rough, a comfortable two-putt birdie from Gooch left a must-make chip for the Spaniard.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be for Garcia and back-to-back victories for the 31-year-old Oklahoman was confirmed.

“It’s one of those days that I’ll remember,” said Gooch. “I grew up watching Sergio. He’s one of the greatest golfers of this generation. To go and battle with him and come out on top is something I’ll never forget.

Gooch’s success came at the double as he lead the RangeGoats GC to team glory as well, their -37 total good for a three-stroke win over Garcia’s Fireballs GC, with the Bryson DeChambeau lead Crushers back in third at -32.

The win was the RangeGoats first overall success, and captain Bubba Watson, Gooch, Thomas Pieters and Harold Varner III all chipped in with counting rounds. “We’ve been talking about being up there on the podium,” Gooch said. “I’ve been telling them how much I’m going to spray ‘em in the face with champagne for a long time now. We knew it was coming and it was only a matter of time.”


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