Golf roundup: Dustin Johnson wins LIV’s Tulsa tourney in playoff

LIV Golf photo by Katelyn Mulcahy via AP / Dustin Johnson hits his tee shot on the sixth hole at Cedar Ridge Country Club during Sunday's final round of LIV Golf Tulsa in Broken Arrow, Okla.
LIV Golf photo by Katelyn Mulcahy via AP / Dustin Johnson hits his tee shot on the sixth hole at Cedar Ridge Country Club during Sunday's final round of LIV Golf Tulsa in Broken Arrow, Okla.

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Dustin Johnson overcame a triple bogey in the final round Sunday by making a birdie on the 18th hole to join a playoff and another birdie on the 18th to win the LIV Golf League's Tulsa tournament.

It's the first victory of the year for the 38-year-old American and his second since he joined LIV when it launched last summer. Johnson won a three-man playoff last September at LIV's Boston tourney.

This one required some clutch shots on the closing hole at rain-soaked Cedar Ridge for Johnson to take down 2022 British Open champion Cameron Smith of Australia and South Africa's Branden Grace. The trio finished 54 holes of regulation play at 17-under-par 193.

Johnson, who closed with a 3-under 67, was trailing Grace (65) and Smith (61) by one shot when he hit his drive into the left rough on the 18th, partially blocked by a tree. He hit a sand wedge over the corner of the tree to about 12 feet and made the birdie.

Smith was on the range waiting, having already birdied the 18th for his 61 to tie the LIV scoring record that Grace set in the opening round Friday. Grace two-putted from 35 feet on the final hole, which put him in a playoff and assured his Stinger GC its first team win of the year.

In the playoff, all three players were roughly on the same line, with Grace putting from the fringe. Grace missed to the left, Johnson holed his putt from 15 feet and Smith missed from 12 feet to the right of the hole.

All of this was made possible by Johnson making a mess of the par-3 10th hole. He had a shot bounce down a path into the water, a muddy lie and missed a four-foot putt. It added up to a triple bogey, allowing Grace to take the lead.

"Everything I could do wrong, I did wrong on the hole," Johnson said. "To fight back and birdie 18 two times in a row when I had to, I'm really happy with that."

He was equally happy to see a good result heading into the second major of the year; the PGA Championship starts Thursday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. A former No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Johnson won 24 times on the PGA Tour before leaving for the rival circuit backed by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.

Until Sunday, he had not finished closer than within five shots of the winner in the previous five LIV events, and he was never a factor at the Masters last month. Now he feels as though his game is ready for another major test.

"I'm really playing well," Johnson said.

Oklahoma native Talor Gooch, coming off two straight LIV victories, tied for 36th at 4 under after closing with a 67.


Stricker wins major

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A close contest for three days, the Regions Tradition ultimately ended up in just another six-stroke victory for Steve Stricker.

It's becoming a trend.

Stricker closed with a 7-under 65 and tied the tournament's 72-hole scoring record as he finished at 23-under 265, running away with his the PGA Tour Champions major by six strokes for the second year in a row. South Africa's Ernie Els (65) and Sweden's Robert Karlsson (71) shared second place.

This is Stricker's third win in the past five editions of the Regions Tradition — all by six shots — and gave the 56-year-old from Wisconsin five major wins, sixth-most on the 50-and-older tour. He also has two runner-up finishes in that span on the par-72 Founders Course at Greystone Golf & Country Club.

Stricker's late surge Saturday pulled him into a tie with Karlsson entering the final round, but he pulled away early.

"It was a special week here again," Stricker said. "I don't know what it is about this place, but it brings out the best in me for some reason. I've played some really good golf here, and today was no different.

"I got off to a good start. Birdieing the first three holes kind of settled my nerves a little bit. I played really nicely all the way around."

There was scant drama in Stricker's 13th victory in 55 tournaments after the first few holes, and he returned from a 58-minute weather delay with a birdie putt on No. 15 and added another on 16 to set up a drama-free finish.


Q school grad wins

ANTWERP, Belgium — Simon Forsstrom held off fellow Swedish golfer Jens Dantorp in the final round for a wire-to-wire victory at the DP World Tour's Soudal Open.

The 34-year-old Forsstrom was one stroke ahead of Belgium's Thomas Detry overnight, but Dantorp's late charge from third on the leaderboard proved the main threat. Forsstrom did just enough with some late birdies for a 2-under 69 to finish 72 holes at 17-under 267, a stroke ahead of Dantorp (67).

"I'm very happy, I don't have any words," Forsström said. "I just thought to give myself chances and hopefully some would drop."

Forsstrom, No. 429 in the Official World Golf Ranking, came through qualifying school at the end of last year to gain his card on the European circuit.

"It means everything to me to finally make it. I was happy being out here after Q school," he said. "I'm super happy with the win, and I proved to myself that I can win out here."

Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen (66) was third at 14 under, with Sweden's Alexander Bjork (67), France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera (69) and England's Matthew Southgate (68) another stroke back.

Detry (73) dropped back to a share of seventh place at 12 under.


Better in the playoff

CLIFTON, N.J. — Jin Young Ko overcam a four-shot deficit to win the Founders Cup for the third time in five years, getting the victory on the first playoff hole when 2022 tournament champion Minjee Lee three-putted for bogey.

In winning for the 15th time on the LPGA Tour and the second time this year, Ko shot a final round-best 5-under 67 in tough, windy conditions. The 27-year-old South Korean forced the playoff by making a clutch downhill birdie from roughly 15 feet on No. 18 to tie for the lead.

Australia's Lee shot a 1-under 71 and finished 72 holes of regulation at 13-under 275.

The players went back to the par 4 No. 18 at the Upper Montclair Country Club for the playoff. Both players hit the green with their second shots, with Lee being about 15 feet away and closer than Ko, who had a winding putt from right to left.

Ko snuggled her birdie attempt to tap-in range and Lee went for the win, but she putted it six feet past the hole, missing the par save to the right. Ko tapped in and then ran over and hugged her caddie, David Brooker.

Lee gave away what would have been her ninth LPGA Tour win by squandering a three-shot 54-hole lead early and then blowing a two-shot lead with three holes to play with a bogey at No. 16 and then Ko's late birdie.