Essential Golf: A passion for the Game

Danny Lee Earns Play-Off Victory at LIV Golf Tucson

Danny Lee Earns Play-Off Victory at LIV Golf Tucson
Danny Lee of Iron Heads GC celebrates after winning the LIV Golf Tucson individual title on the final round's third playoff hole (Photo by Idris Erba/LIV Golf)

Seeking his first professional win in nearly eight years, Danny Lee had a makeable birdie attempt on the second hole of Sunday’s playoff at LIV Golf Tucson. When he missed the putt, he muttered to himself, “What have you done, you idiot.”

Lee didn’t dwell on the missed opportunity, though. With a chance to win the individual title on the third playoff hole, the Iron Heads GC member rolled in the birdie putt at The Gallery Golf Club to claim the individual title in just his second start since joining the LIV Golf League.

The South Korean-born Lee, who represents New Zealand, defeated Carlos Ortiz (Fireballs GC), Brendan Steele (HyFlyers GC) and Louis Oosthuizen (Stinger GC) in the second playoff in LIV Golf history. The last time Lee won, in 2015, he also won in a four-man playoff.

“Maybe it was a coincidence, I don’t know,” the 32-year-old Lee said. “But it feels pretty amazing right now.”

In the team competition, Fireballs GC, captained by Sergio Garcia, won by four strokes over 4Aces GC, with Lee’s Iron Heads GC claiming third for the team’s first-ever podium finish. The Fireballs become just the second team to claim multiple titles, having won last year at the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok.

The Fireballs were fueled by Ortiz’s 6-under 65, the best round of the day and an impressive one, given the challenging conditions for the majority of the final round due to wind gusts above 20 mph. At one point, the Fireballs led by 12 strokes before the 4Aces rallied late to close the gap.

Ortiz’s low round put him in the playoff, but he was eliminated with a bogey on the first extra hole.

Fireballs GC (L-R; Carlos Ortiz, Abraham Ancer, Sergio Garcia and Eugenio Chacarra) raise the team championship trophy at LIV Golf Tucson (Photo by Sam Greenwood/LIV Golf)

“Obviously, super-excited about getting another team win after last year in Bangkok, and super-proud of all of them,” Garcia said. “Especially Carlos, the way he played today. Shame he couldn’t get the individual win. But what a great effort.”

Besides Ortiz’s round, the other two Fireballs counting scores belonged to Abraham Ancer (1-over 72) and Sergio Garcia (2-over 73).

“We felt like we didn’t play very good at all,” Ancer said, “but Carlos definitely bailed us out today. We did a really good job to play good at the right times as a team, and that’s what got us the trophy.”

Said Ortiz, who finished second last year in his LIV Golf debut in Portland: “I think I did a good job of taking advantage of the easy holes, and I just tried to hold on on the hard holes. I think days like this are easy to move up the leaderboard if you shoot low, and I just did a good job today.”

Top 5 Leaderboard

1. FIREBALLS GC (-25): Carlos Ortiz 65, Abraham Ancer 72, Sergio Garcia 73 (Rd. 3 total: -3)
 
2. 4ACES GC (-21): Patrick Reed 66, Dustin Johnson 68, Peter Uihlein 68 (Rd. 3 total: -11)
 
3. IRON HEADS GC (-19): Scott Vincent 69, Danny Lee 69, Kevin Na 71 (Rd. 3 total: -4)
 
4. STINGER GC (-16): Louis Oosthuizen 70, Branden Grace 70, Charl Schwartzel 72. (Rd. 3 total: -1)
 
5. RIPPER GC (-16): Matt Jones 69, Cameron Smith 70, Jediah Morgan 75 (Rd. 3 total: +1)