Henrik Stensons Decision that cost him the European Ryder Cup captaincy paid off immediately on Sunday when he won the LIV Golf Invitational at Bedminster, raking in more than $4 million for three days of work.
Seeded with a three-shot lead going into the third and final round at Trump National, Stenson opened with a 20-foot birdie putt, leaving no one closer than two shots the rest of the way.
He finished with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot win over Matthew Wolf (64) and Dustin Johnson, who shagged the final hole for a 68.
Stenson, who was five years away from beating a field of 20+ players, was paid $4 million for the win and another $375,000 for his team, which placed second.
The big payout – not including a signing bonus of around $50 million – comes less than two weeks after the 46-year-old Swede opted to join the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV golf series.
Stenson pledged full support to the European Tour when he became Ryder Cup captain and March, and the Tour stripped him of the job four months later when he changed his mind.
“I think we can agree that I played like a captain,” Stenson said on the LIV Golf show.
He finished 11-under 202.
When asked by the LIV-paid broadcaster if he felt vindicated by the win, Stenson chose not to get involved and replied, “It’s been a good first week.”
“It’s been a busy ten days. I’m very proud that I’ve managed to concentrate so well,” he said.
Stenson won the Hero World Challenge, the holiday event hosted by Tiger Woods with a 20-man field, in December 2019 in the Bahamas. He previously won the Wyndham Championship in 2017. And while he’s felt pressure in the last hour, it hasn’t always looked like it.
Stenson threw in an 8-foot birdie putt on the 14th that gave him a three-shot lead with four holes remaining, two of them par 5s. But it took him four to get down the left side of the green onto the par 15th par 5. Two holes later, Stenson made a 10-foot putt for par to gain a two-shot lead on the closing par-5 hole.
“The putt on 17 was massive to make the pillow come up last,” Stenson said.
Johnson has now finished eighth, fourth and tied or second in three LIV Golf Invitationals. His team “4 Aces” has won the last two times, paying each player $750,000. In three events since Johnson reportedly received a $150 million signing fee, the two-time major champion has earned over $5.2 million on the course.
Carlos Ortiz of Mexico (68) was fourth while Patrick Reed (69) was fifth.
Phil Mickelson hit an even par 71, only the second time in nine rounds of LIV Golf that Mickelson has hit par or better. He turned 35.
The LIV Golf Invitational is canceled for a month during the FedEx Cup Playoffs on the PGA Tour, returns about an hour west of Boston on Labor Day weekend, and then plays in the Chicago suburbs two weeks later.
Associated Press coverage
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