Cameron Smith will defend his Open Championship title in two weeks at Royal Liverpool, but he already appears to be in major-championship form in the United Kingdom. Smith charged to the front with a -8 in the opening round of the 2023 LIV Golf London at the Centurion Club and never looked back, holding off Patrick Reed and Marc Leishman to win his first tournament of 2023 and for the second time with LIV.
The Australian pocketed $4 million for the win, but he could’ve added another $750,000 for the team part of the competition with his all-Australian Rippers GC, but Smith bogeyed the final hole to give the team win to the 4 Aces. A par would’ve forced the first team playoff in LIV history.
“Obviously thrilled about the individual win, but it would’ve been nice to get up there with the boys,” said Smith, who shot a final-round 68 for a winning score of 15 under. “It’s a bit of mixed emotions at the moment.”
Reed, who is on the 4 Aces, made a big charge on the back nine. Down six strokes at the turn, Reed birdied six holes on the back nine but finished one shot shy of his first LIV Golf victory. But the American was pleased that his team—consisting of captain Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez, and Peter Uihlein—maintained its lead in the team standings with their second win of the year.
“We were seeing a lot of those teams getting too close to us at the top of that board,” Reed said. “I felt like as a team, we just weren’t really getting the numbers we wanted to. This week meant a lot for us to go out and make a statement.”
Leishman made a birdie on 18 to bring the Rippers even with the 4 Aces, but Smith then missed a 6-footer, which was a bit surprising given how well he putted all week.
“I really wanted Cam to make the one on the last there,” Leishman said. “He played great and putted great all week. To win the tournament and still walk off the green disappointed, I guess that’s what this is all about, the team format.”
Louis Oostuizen—like Smith, a winner at St. Andrews (2010 Open Championship)—finished fourth at -12, and Johnson was fifth at 10-under par. Englishman Richard Bland was tied for sixth with Perez, Cameron Tringale, Henrik Stenson, and Thomas Pieters.
Talor Gooch finished 22nd but maintained his lead in the season-long points standings. Smith now sits in second after finishing no worse than 12th in his past six events.
Sixteen LIV Golf members, including defending champion Smith, will again play in England in two weeks at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. The next LIV Golf tournament is at the historic Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia for LIV Golf Greenbrier from Aug. 4 to 6. The PGA Tour played there for a decade, and the last two winners—Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Na—are now with LIV Golf.
Check here the 2023 LIV Golf Greenbrier Odds, Field and Picks