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Jun 9, 2024 7:36 pm

Carlos Ortiz narrowly secures first title at LIV Golf Houston

Carlos Ortiz

Carlos Ortiz of Mexico earned his first LIV Golf victory on Sunday at LIV Golf Houston by shooting 5-under 67 to finish at 15 under, one stroke ahead of Poland’s Adrian Meronk.

Ortiz, 33, whose only PGA Tour win came at the Vivint Houston Open in 2020, entered the final round tied for the lead with Meronk, Spain’s David Puig and Englishman Paul Casey at the Golf Club of Houston.

Ortiz and Meronk remained tied with four holes to go, but on the par-5 15th, Meronk bogeyed the hole while Ortiz made birdie en route to his first win since February at the Asian Tour’s International Series Oman.

“I didn’t want to jinx it so I didn’t say anything the first few times,” Ortiz said about playing in Houston. “But I love playing here. Obviously, Texas treats me well. It’s my adopted home state. I’m just happy to get it done again in Houston.

“I think it was in between me and Meronk pretty much. (Puig), too, but Meronk probably on the back nine. Honestly, it was just a matter of playing solid coming down the stretch. I think there was a switch there on 15 that I made birdie, he made bogey, and I just knew that I had to par in pretty much, and it was mine. That’s what I was trying to do.”

Ortiz, who made six birdies, including three in a row on Nos. 6-8, sunk a chip for bogey on No. 18 to hang on for the victory.

“Don’t chunk it because people (were) going to get mad at me, so I just made sure I did,” he said. “No kidding, I’ve been working on those chips. It’s easy right now. I don’t even know what I did. It was an easy chip.”

It wasn’t a total loss for Meronk, who birdied five holes — including three in a row on Nos. 11-13 — as he helped Cleeks GC finish at 33 under to claim its first team title. Fireballs GC and Smash GC finished two strokes back in a tie for second.

Meronk and Puig (69 on Sunday), who tied Patrick Reed (68) for third this weekend at 13 under, are among the 12 LIV Golf players who will compete in the U.S. Open next weekend at Pinehurst No. 2. Both Puig and Reed had two bogeys Sunday.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia (68), who double-bogeyed the par-4 5th hole and had a bogey on No. 17, rounded out the top five at 11 under.

Anirban Lahiri of India (68), Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (69) and Australia’s Lucas Herbert (69) tied for sixth at 10 under.

Casey had a tough final round, with only two birdies to go along with a double bogey on No. 12 and a bogey on No. 17. He shot 73 and tied for ninth at 9 under along with Brooks Koepka (65), Cameron Tringale (68) and Germany’s Martin Kaymer (70).

–Field Level Media

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