Charles Howell III cruised to victory in LIV Golf Mayakoba at El Camaleon Golf Club for his maiden win on the circuit after joining last year.
The Crushers GC player started the day a shot behind new 4 Aces GC recruit Peter Uihlein and the man Uihlein replaced, Range Goats GC’s Talor Gooch.
However, the two overnight leaders couldn’t maintain their momentum, while Howell III was virtually imperious throughout. Gooch’s first bogey came on the second hole, while for Uihlein, he only lasted one hole longer before dropping a shot of his own. Meanwhile, by this time, the other member of the group, Howell III, had already made two birdies, on the second and third holes.
That became a common theme for the American, who made four birdies in succession between the fifth and eighth hole, and another on the par-3 10th to open up a four shot-lead.
After his setback on the third, Uihlein appeared to recover his composure with a birdie on the next hole that he followed up with an eagle on the fifth. However, disaster awaited him on the back nine. Gooch, meanwhile, had lost the lead by the time he made his second bogey of the day, on the seventh.
Elsewhere, Stingers GC’s Branden Grace was making his own bid for glory, with three birdies in his first nine holes keeping him in contention. However, by that point, Howell III’s lead over the South African was five, while Uihlein wasn’t faring much better as he opened up a four-shot lead over the man in second.
If Uihlein still had confidence of catching the leader, it surely all but vanished with seven to play when he found the woods. After playing a reasonable recovery shot, his next saw him hit the ball back behind more trees. Meanwhile, on the safety of the green, the ever-consistent Howell III finished for par safe in the knowledge his four-shot lead would soon increase.
Uihlein took a drop and finally found the green for a double-bogey chance. He missed, and had to settle for a triple-bogey seven. That placed Grace in second, six behind the leader, with Uihlein tumbling to a tie for third with Paul Casey. ‘
In fairness to Uihlein, he didn’t let his dreadful experience on the 12th get to him, and he hit back with a birdie immediately. Two holes later, he did it again. However, although by now back in second, the gap between him and the leader was still five, and Howell III seemed destined to close out victory. Uihlein kept fighting, though, and another birdie with three to play made things more…
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