Crushers captain Bryson DeChambeau won LIV Golf Chicago in spectacular fashion, shooting a final-round eight-under 63 at Rich Harvest Farms that was reminiscent of his record-breaking performance last month in Greenbrier when he shot a closing 58 to win his first LIV Golf title.
But Sunday’s win came at the expense of one of his teammates, Anirban Lahiri, who was seeking his first victory in eight years. Lahiri, who held the lead for most of the day after overtaking 36-hole leader Sebastián Muñoz, missed a par putt on the 18th hole that would’ve forced a playoff with DeChambeau.
“To be honest with you, I was actually sad,” said DeChambeau, who was watching from just off the green. “I really wanted him to make that so we could go battle it off in a playoff and finish it off the right way. That was the first emotion that I had.
“Secondly, you’ve got people coming over and congratulating you, and it’s just like: ‘Oh, I really didn’t feel like I won. This isn’t the normal feeling I usually have when you win a tournament.’ It was definitely a huge mix of emotions.”
DeChambeau, who started the day eight strokes off the lead, finished at 13-under while Lahiri and Ripper’s Marc Leishman tied for second at 12-under. Leishman, who shot 66, took second-place points via the better final-round score than Lahiri, who shot 69.
DeChambeau and Lahiri did celebrate the team victory together, as the Crushers shot a 15-under counting score on Sunday to finish at 33-under, three strokes ahead of Fireballs. Along with DeChambeau’s 63, Charles Howell III (67) and Paul Casey (68) contributed counting scores. Fireballs took second while league-leading 4 Aces claimed third via tiebreaker over RangeGoats.
The victory is the second this season for the Crushers, who moved into second place in the team standings with one regular-season tournament left next month in Jeddah. The top four teams in the standings after that event will receive byes going into the Team Championship in Miami.
“This is why I love what we’re doing,” Casey said. “It’s the individual and the team element, and the individual element is rewarding to a certain level, and the team element is rewarding to a whole other level. They’re different. You can’t compare them but boy, does it feel good to play good with these guys.”
Lahiri’s tie for second on the traditional leaderboard is his seventh runner-up finish in all his starts since joining LIV Golf last year. He was seeking his first victory since a pair of wins in February 2015.
He was a bogey-free four-under on his round through 14 holes, but he three-putted the 15th and 18th holes and admitted afterward that, “I played really bad, to be honest. I was fighting my swing the whole day.”
Meanwhile, DeChambeau birdied seven of his last 12 holes as his putter heated up. His lengthy putt at 12 left him in disbelief, as he continued to move up the leaderboard.
“I just kept trying to hit as many fairways as I could and hit the irons close and make some putts,” DeChambeau said. “That’s ultimately just kind of what happens when I get on a roll. It just doesn’t stop. Kind of like, uh-oh, here comes the train.”
Lahiri knew his captain was playing well, as the Crushers had moved up the team leaderboard. While the team element remains a vital part of the LIV Golf competition, he knows the individual trophy remains the primary objective.
“I think all four of us would agree that you’re trying to win the tournament outright first,” Lahiri said. “At least that’s how I look at it. Anyone else who says otherwise is lying. But the team win was something that we all knew we needed to pull off, and we knew we should pull off.”
As much as DeChambeau was elated about his own performance, he was also respectful of his teammate’s disappointment.
“It’s one of those things you never want to see a teammate go through,” DeChambeau said. “But it is what it is, and I think he’s learned a lot, obviously. … Your time is coming.”
On Sunday, it was DeChambeau’s time, and he now moves to third in the individual standings, giving him a chance for the outright title next month in Jeddah along with No. 1 Cameron Smith and No. 2 Talor Gooch.
Main image: LIV Golf