Dustin Johnson wins LIV Las Vegas after chaos in final round

Lucas Peltier-USA Today
Dustin Johnson and Smash GC take home titles at LIV Golf’s first US event this year.

LAS VEGAS — Dustin Johnson took home the win at LIV Golf Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon, finishing at eleven strokes under par. He withstood a chaotic challenge in a final round that was at one point knotted in a six-way tie consisting of Johnson, Peter Uihlein, Matthew Wolff, Jason Kokrak, Jon Rahm and Talor Gooch as the tournament headed into the last stretch.

Johnson’s finishing score on Saturday was actually the same score he entered with while holding a share of the lead. He was only good enough to stay afloat and shoot for par on Saturday, but that itself ended up being enough to earn him the win when Bryson Dechambeau and other contenders faltered.

His family, including father-in-law Wayne Gretzky, was on hand for the final round push on Saturday. 

“It’s always great when you have a bunch of friends and family around and you win,” Dustin Johnson told the media after the round. “It doesn’t feel like it happens that often, when you win and everyone’s there. It was nice.”

DeChambeau, who also entered Saturday with a share of the lead, was among the leading group for a chunk of the round. He fell out of the pack prior to the six-way mess after a double bogey on 13. He finished the round at +4 for the day and -7 for the tournament, well out of contention.

For most of the back nine, RangeGoats GC’s Peter Uihlein and Matthew Wolff were battling for sole possession of the lead while Johnson and DeChambeau were flustering in the marquee group. 

Smash GC’s Taylor Gooch and Jason Kokrak each made late pushes for the individual title on the back nine, turning the leaderboard into the aforementioned six-man mess. Their individual bids each ended in futility but their combined effort pushed Smash GC to the finish line for the event’s team title.

Uihlein and Wolff’s battle for the individual crown came to a head on 15. Wolff maneuvered his way out of a brutal lie behind the trees and then nearly sunk a long birdie on his next shot, surviving for par on a hole he very well should have bogeyed. 

Uihlein himself had a fine look at a birdie on 15 to regain the lead but couldn’t convert. Uihlein’s failure to capitalize on 15 certainly came back to haunt him, as he lost by a just a single stroke to Johnson. 

Johnson rejoined Uihlein at the top of the leaderboard after a birdie on 15, then birdied again on 17 to take what ended up being a decisive lead at 12 under par.

The team winners, Smash GC, consisted of Talor Gooch, Jason Kokrak, Brooks Kopeka, and Graeme McDowell. They finished with a combined score of -33, aided in large by a strong 5-under final round performance from McDowell to go along with Kokrak and Gooch’s late individual contention.

“G-Mac, to play the way he did today was spectacular. Talor had a chance to win and Jason played phenomenal. We had another chance to win (the individual championship) right there,” Koepka told reporters. “I love this team, I love the way we play.”