Steele Stays Strong To Deny Major Winners For LIV Adelaide Title

Former PGA star Brendan Steele superbly ended a more than six-year victory drought in capturing the biggest win of his career thanks to one shot triumph at the second edition of the LIV Adelaide event in Australia.

Steele, who turned 41 earlier this month, won for a first time since successfully defending the 2017 Safeway Open by denying Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen by a shot thanks to his 18-under par tally on the host Grange course in the South Australian capital.

The Californian capped his closing round with five straight birdies on the front nine while Oosthuizen, and winner of the 2010 Open at St. Andrews, was second after seven birdies in his 65 to end at 17-under.

Five players shared third place on 16-under-par including 2023 Masters champion Jon Rahm who produced his best finish since joining LIV to be a further shot back after signing for 64 and what was his sixth consecutive top-10 finish since defecting to the Saudi-backed league this year.

Tied with Rahm was fellow Augusta National winner Charl Schwartzel (64), Andy Ogletree (65), Joaquin Niemann (66) and Dean Burmester (67), who won the previous event in Miami.

It was Steele’s first LIV win since joining Phil Mickelson’s “Hyflyers” team last year following 12 years on the PGA Tour that garnered three titles and he credited the golfer affectionately known as ‘Lefty’ for a breakthrough LIV victory that earned him US$4 million.

“I had a good talk with him yesterday, sat just the two of us for about an hour and he was telling me there is no reason I can’t be one of the best players in the world,” said Steele who celebrated pouring champers into one of his golf shoes.

“He went through every part of my game and said ‘you just need to start believing in it’.

“And I thought okay, if one of the best players ever in the game is telling me that, I better start believing it.”

Steele began with a one stroke advantage, but dropped a shot on the third as Oosthuizen picked up three birdies in his opening five holes for a four-way share of the lead.

Undeterred, Steele bounced back by rolling in five straight birdies between the fifth and ninth holes to rebuild a three-shot buffer at the turn.

But another bogey at the 11th opened the door again and Jinichiro Kozuma and Ogletree jumped through with well-taken birdies to narrow the gap to one.

With the pressure on, Steele holed a clutch putt at the 13th for birdie to again move two clear before a birdie from Oosthuizen at the 17th set up a tense finale.

But Steele lived up to his surname with an approach shot at the 18th to within six feet to secure the par he needed to win.

“Obviously it was harder today than it was on Friday or even yesterday, but I did manage to play freely and that’s the only reason I hit so many good shots,” he said.

“I knew there would be hard moments today regardless and that I just needed to get back in there and start playing with freedom again.”

The all-Australian “Ripper GC” led by Cameron Smith won the team title on 53-under — the lowest score since LIV was launched in 2022.

But they needed the league’s first ever team playoff to do so, winning on the second extra hole from Oosthuizen’s all-South African “Stinger” team.

“It’s a dream come true for us,” said Smith. “We’ve been talking about this all year and it’s unreal.”

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