Charl Schwartzel shot a final-round 72 Saturday to hold on to win the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series title and the $4 million first prize at Centurion Club in London.
It was a wire-to-wire win for Schwartzel, who finished at 7-under 203 in the 54-hole tournament to top fellow South African Hennie du Plessis by a stroke. For Schwartzel, it was the first win on either the PGA or European Tour since 2016.
Yet, Schwartzel's double bogey on the par-4 No. 12 made things interesting, but du Plessis couldn't overtake him.
"It was tough finishing there. I made a bad mistake on 12 which put me on the back foot," Schwartzel said. "I needed to just stay calm and try and get this thing in the house. I had it in my hands and made it a bit more difficult than it should have been but I'm just proud of how I hung in."
Schwartzel, 37, took home $4.75 million overall by also being on the winning group in the team competition, teaming with du Plessis, Branden Grace, and Louis Oosthuizen.
"Hennie played fantastic golf ... 25 years old, he's got a bright future," Schwartzel said. "I'm proud of him. Proud of my teammates. This is an historic moment. First LIV League tournament, and man, it's awesome."
Among the Americans in the field, Dustin Johnson finished in eighth place at 1-under par. Phil Mickelson tied for 33rd place at 10 over.
The controversial LIV series lured players with the promises of big money, and the first paychecks didn't disappoint. du Plessis will take home $2.125 million. Branden Grace and Peter Uihlein tied for third, with each winning $1.5 million, and fifth-place finisher Sam Horsfield pocketed $975,000.
For their efforts, Johnson earned $625,000 and Mickelson $150,000.
du Plessis, 25, entered the weekend with about $415,000 in career earnings in 32 tournaments on the European Tour.
Also Saturday, the series announced the signing of 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed, who has nine PGA Tour titles and nearly $37 million in career earnings.
It was not lost on the participants that Schwartzel's earnings were roughly three times what he made for winning the 2011 Masters ($1.44 million), and much higher than the winner's share in 2022 ($2.7 million).
"Majors is what define our careers," Schwartzel said. "Obviously I was fortunate to win the green jacket and I'm very proud of that. Yeah, major pressure is definitely different.
"You know, money is one thing but there you're playing for prestige, history. Yeah, winning a major will always top anything you do."
The next event is set for June 30 to July 2 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club near Portland, Ore. The inaugural season of the series has eight events in all, with the other six planned to be held in Bedminster, N.J., Bolton, Mass., Sugar Grove, Ill., Bangkok, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Miami.
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