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Rahm’s Legion XIII claim team competition, Burmester wins individual title at LIV Golf Miami

MIAMI: Defending Masters champion Jon Rahm and Legion XIII teammate Tyrrell Hatton will head to Augusta National this week after celebrating their second LIV Golf team victory of the season.

Stinger GC’s Dean Burmester is not in the field for the year’s first major, but he made a bold statement Sunday on one of golf’s toughest courses.

Rahm and his expansion team survived a rollercoaster final round to win the team title at LIV Golf Miami by one shot over RangeGoats GC. It is a distinctive start to his Masters title defense, which begins on Thursday with 13 LIV Golf players in the field.

“It was a great week,” said Rahm, who tied for fourth in the individual competition as he remained the only player this season with top 10s in each of the first five starts. “Hopefully I can keep doing all the good things I’ve done this week next week and avoid a couple of silly mistakes and hopefully go back-to-back.”

One player he will not see next week is Burmester, who beat Sergio Garcia on the second playoff hole at Trump National Doral with a par. During the offseason, Burmester won back-to-back events back home in South Africa — including the South African Open — and now has his first LIV Golf victory as he continues to showcase his world-class talent. He finished T3 in the LIV Golf season opener at Mayakoba.

“Probably the best golf of my career,” Burmester said. “If I look at it that way, the amount of wins, the amount of top 10s, tops 5s that I’m producing is some really special stuff.”

It was made even more special on a Blue Monster course that remains one of the most demanding tests in pro golf.

Garcia, the Fireballs GC captain, entered the day with a two-shot lead but was eventually caught by multiple players. At one point on the back nine, five players — Burmester, his Stinger captain Louis Oosthuizen, Garcia, Hatton and Matthew Wolff — shared the lead.

Burmester grabbed the solo lead with a birdie at the drivable 16th but bogeyed the difficult par-4 18th after an errant drive. Meanwhile, Garcia grabbed the lead with a 40-footer birdie putt at 17, but he three-putted the 18th to fall back into a tie and force the playoff.

After matching pars on the first playoff hole, Garcia found the water with his approach shot at the 18th while Burmester safely landed on the green for a two-putt par to win.

“This is a monster of a place and it’s hosted so many great championships over the years,” Burmester said. “Now it’s hosting us, and I feel privileged to have won here.”

Garcia, who has played more than 50 competitive rounds on the Blue Monster, lost for the third time in a LIV Golf playoff. He went four holes against Joaquin Niemann at Mayakoba and also lost last year in Singapore to Talor Gooch.

“Obviously when you’re that close, you want to win it,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, that only happens to one guy, and it wasn’t meant to be me.”

Legion XIII was led by Rahm’s 3-under 69, with Caleb Surratt contributing a 70, Hatton a 71 and Kieran Vincent a 77 to finish at 1 under for the day and 22 under for the week. They were in command for a large part of the day until Hatton started struggling off the tee, while Vincent hit a rough patch with four consecutive bogeys.

“I decided to stick it in reverse standing on the 10th tee and just carried on going that way and just navigate myself through the back nine looking backwards,” Hatton said. “Made it a lot harder for the team, and it was a pretty miserable 2-1/2 hours, to be honest.”

It ended with a champagne celebration.

“I knew we would find our stride at some point,” Rahm said. “It was definitely a surprise to end up winning the first week, and I would say it was no surprise that we ended up winning this week.”

Team scores

Standings and counting scores for Sunday’s final round of the team competition at LIV Golf Miami. 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. LEGION XIII -22 (Rahm 69, Surratt 70, Hatton 71, Vincent 77; Rd. 3 score: -1)

2. RANGEGOATS GC -21 (Wolff 69, Pieters 69, Uihlein 73, Watson 74; Rd. 3 score: -3)

3. STINGER GC -15 (Burmester 68, Oosthuizen 71, Grace 72, Schwartzel 75; Rd. 3 score: -2)

T4. TORQUE GC -13 (Munoz 68, Ortiz 68, Niemann 70, Pereira 78; Rd. 3 score: -4)

T4. FIREBALLS GC -13 (Ancer 68, Garcia 70, Puig 71, Chacarra 76; Rd. 3 score: -3)

6. CRUSHERS GC -11 (DeChambeau 68, Casey 69, Howell III 70, Lahiri 77; Rd. 3 score: -4)

7. SMASH GC -7 (Kokrak 68, McDowell 70, Gooch 73, Koepka 77; Rd. 3 score: E)

8. 4ACES GC -5 (Varner III 70, Reed 72, Johnson 74, Perez 76; Rd. 3 score: +4)

9. CLEEKS GC E (Bland 73, Meronk 74, Kaymer 76, Samooja 77; Rd. 3 score: +12)

10. RIPPER GC +4 (Jones 69, Leishman 69, Campbell 73, Herbert 81; Rd. 3 score: +4)

11. IRONHEADS GC +5 (Vincent 72, Lee 72, Na 73, Kozuma 76; Rd. 3 score: +5)

T12. MAJESTICKS GC +6 (Poulter 71, Stenson 73, Westwood 73, Horsfield 73; Rd. 3 score: +2)

T12. HYFLYERS GC +6 (Tringale 71, Steele 72, Ogletree 75, Mickelson 76; Rd. 3 score: +6)

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