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LIV GOLF HOUSTON: TORQUE’S ORTIZ AND CLEEKS GC EARN FIRST-EVER LIV GOLF TITLES

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Written by
LIV GOLF STAFF
Jun 09 2024
- 5 MIN

HUMBLE, Texas – Cleeks GC entered this week’s LIV Golf Houston as the last remaining club in LIV Golf’s young history to never celebrate either a team or individual trophy.

That changed on Sunday.

Captain Martin Kaymer’s team ended its drought in impressive fashion, shooting a three-day total of 33 under to win the team title at the Golf Club of Houston by two strokes over Smash GC and Fireballs GC. 

RELATED: FINAL ROUND NEWS AND NOTES: ORTIZ'S FUTURE PLANS AFTER HOUSTON WIN

In LIV Golf’s 30th tournament since its inception, the Cleeks finally popped champagne bottles atop the podium.

“This is why we signed up for LIV, to play for the team,” said Kaymer, whose team tied for second in the previous tournament in Singapore. “The individual is great, but to celebrate together and to do that together, this is why we came here, and this is why LIV exists, to have that team competition.”

The Houston individual title went to Torque GC’s Carlos Ortiz, who has celebrated four team victories but never an individual LIV victory. Ortiz shot a final-round 5-under 67 to finish at 15 under, one stroke ahead of the Cleeks’ Adrian Meronk. Houston-area resident Patrick Reed (4Aces GC) tied for third with David Puig (Fireballs GC) at 13 under.

For Ortiz, it’s his second win in Houston, as he won the Houston Open on a different course in 2020. 

“I love playing here,” Ortiz said. “Obviously Texas treats me well. It's my adopted home state. I'm just happy to get it done again in Houston.”

After gaining separation from the rest of the pack, Ortiz and Meronk found themselves in a duel for most of the back nine. Tied going into the par-4 15th, Ortiz birdied the hole while Meronk bogeyed it after finding trouble off the tee and having to take a penalty drop.

Ortiz bogeyed the 18th hole after missing his only green of the day, but Meronk’s birdie attempt slipped past the cup.

“He played unbelievable, and he put pressure all the way to the end,” Ortiz said of Meronk. “It was a good battle.”

“He played really great,” Meronk said of Ortiz. “He really deserved it. I hope I can get him next time.”

Meronk shot a final-round 68 for his best result since joining LIV Golf in the offseason. While disappointed not to win the individual title, he was happy to be part of the Cleeks’ first team celebration.

“That's what's cool about LIV, to have three other guys with you on the team,” Meronk said. “Even if you don't win or you don't perform as you want individually, you still have that team standings.”

The Cleeks started the final round five shots off the lead. But during the final nine holes, the team collectively caught fire. Kaymer birdied five of six holes. Kalle Samooja birdied three of five holes. Meronk birdied three consecutive holes. Bland birdied two straight.

Suddenly, the Cleeks held a six-shot lead. But it evaporated quickly with three team bogeys in quick succession, and the lead was down to one in the final stretch. Bland’s birdie on his final hole, the par-4 11th, was huge, as it gave the Cleeks a two-stroke advantage and essentially sealed the outcome.

“I gave myself such a talking-to to the 11th, and I said, you'd better birdie this hole,” Bland recalled. “Fortunately I hit a great wedge shot to two feet and knocked it in.”

A few minutes later, the Cleeks were popping champagne.

“When you see other guys lifting trophies, of course, that's what you want to do,” Bland said. “It's easy to see that we were going in the right direction. We were. Today we were able to pull it off. What a great feeling. It's very, very special.”

TEAM COUNTING SCORES

Standings and counting scores for Sunday’s final round of the team competition at LIV Golf Houston. The three best scores from each team count in the first two rounds while all four scores count in the final round. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title. 

1. CLEEKS GC -33 (Bland 67, Meronk 68, Kaymer 70, Samooja 71; Rd. 3 score: -12)

T2. SMASH GC -31 (Koepka 65, Gooch 66, McDowell 69, Kokrak 74; Rd. 3 score: -14)

T2. FIREBALLS GC -31 (Garcia 68, Puig 69, Ancer 71, Chacarra 75; Rd. 3 score: -5)

T4. 4ACES GC -25 (Reed 68, Varner III 69, Johnson 70, Perez 77; Rd. 3 score: -4)

T4. CRUSHERS GC -25 (Lahiri 68, Catlin 71, DeChambeau 72, Casey 73; Rd. 3 score: -4)

T4. TORQUE GC -25 (Ortiz 67, Muñoz 70, Pereira 71, Niemann 77; Rd. 3 score: -3)

7. LEGION XIII -18 (Campbell 67, Hatton 71, Surratt 72, Vincent 72; Rd. 3 score: -6)

T8. MAJESTICKS GC -15 (Horsfield 66, Stenson 70, Westwood 70, Poulter 79; Rd. 3 score: -3)

T8. HYFLYERS GC -15 (Tringale 68, Ogletree 70, Mickelson 74, Steele 74; Rd. 3 score: -2)

10. RIPPER GC -13 (Herbert 69, Leishman 70, Jones 73, Smith 80; Rd. 3 score: +4)

11. STINGER GC -11 (Schwartzel 69, Burmester 70, Ormsby 71, Grace 74; Rd. 3 score: -4)

12. RANGEGOATS GC -10 (Uihlein 68, Wolff 73, Pieters 74, Watson 75; Rd. 3 score: -2)

13. IRON HEADS GC -4 (Kozuma 70, Vincent 70, Na 74, Lee 79; Rd. 3 score: +5)

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