Phil Mickelson’s long year leading him to be a central figure in Saudi Arabian-funded LIV Golf ended when Australian British Open champion Cameron Smith landed a seven-foot bird’s-eye putt on the last hole to beat Mickelson and eliminate his team.
The LIV-Miami Golf Team Championship at Trump National Doral is game-by-game, with four teams advancing to Saturday’s semi-finals to face the four teams that have earned byes based on the previous seven LIV events.
Marc Leishman of Australian team “Punch” defeated Matthew Wolff in a singles match on Friday. In the match four, Bernd Wiesberger and Cameron Tringale of the “Hy Flyers” won one point. This gave way to the other single match between Smith and Mickelson.
They traded par for most of the top nine – they started with the par-3 ninth off the rifle tee – and finished with the par-5 eighth. Mickelson missed his eight-foot birdie putt and Smith scored his 1 at win.
In another quarter-final, Harold Varner III easily handled four-time main champion Brooks Koepka, 4 and 3, for his “Niblicks” team. But in this case, Koepka’s brother saved him. “Smash “‘s Chase Koepka and Jason Kokrak won game four by one point, after Peter Uihlein defeated James Piot in a battle of American amateur champions.
Ian Poulter and his “Majestiks” advanced easily with an “Iron Heads” sweep in which neither game went far. The captains faced each other in all quarter-finals, meaning Poulter faced Kevin Na, winning 4 and 2.
Graeme McDowell and Richard Bland led the “Cleeks” to victory. “Torque “‘s Joaquin Niemann picked up his team’s only point, a 5 and 3 single win against Jordan’s Shergo Al Kurdi, a late replacement when Martin Kaymer couldn’t play with an injured wrist.
Laurie Canter made a 25-foot putt for a 1-up win over Australian Jed Morgan who sent the “Cleeks” to the next round.
Dustin Johnson and his flagship team, “4 Aces”, will face the Cleeks on Saturday. The other games will be Sergio Garcia’s “Fireballs” against Smith and the Punch; Brooks Koepka versus Ian Poulter as the Smash take on the Majestiks; and Bryson DeChambeau and his Crushers against the South African team “Stinger” led by Louis Oosthuizen.
The four winning teams will advance to Sunday, which will be a match for medals where each player’s score will count.
Each member of the losing teams on Friday won 250,000 US dollars (390,000 Australian dollars). The losers of Saturday’s semi-finals will each receive $ 750,000 (A $ 1.2 million).
Each player on the winning team receives $ 4 million (A $ 6.2 million).