Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Apr 28 2024
- 4 MIN
Team Site Ripper Recap image

ADELAIDE, South Australia – As storybook endings go, the LIV Golf Adelaide script went to perfection for the all-Australian Rippers on Sunday as they clinched the team title on the second playoff hole in front of massive home crowds.

After conjuring a Houdini-like escape on the first extra hole where the all-South African Stingers held an early advantage before missing tricky birdie putts from inside 10 feet, Ripper GC sealed victory one hole later.

Although captain Cameron Smith bogeyed the hole, the par-4 18th, his team mate Marc Leishman safely parred while both Stinger GC players Louis Oosthuizen and Dean Burmester wound up with bogeys after their approach shots ended up in the back left greenside bunker. Both teams had finished regulation play at 53-under.

"I think we're all exhausted," Smith said after the Rippers had won their first LIV Golf team title since Bedminster last August. "It's been a very long week, and for it to end the way it did was a storybook ending. It was so cool.

"All the boys played really well. I think we all finished in the top 15, which is something we probably haven't done as a team before. So that's pretty cool, for everyone to show up at our home event and play really solid golf. I think we're all ready for a beer and a long sleep."

Smith, who said he did not have his "best stuff out there" during the final round at The Grange Golf Club, ended up in a tie for 14th after closing with a 2-under 70. Level with Smith was Leishman, who carded a flawless 65.

Matt Jones was the highest Ripper GC finisher, sharing ninth place after signing off with a 68, while Lucas Herbert placed 15th after also returning a 65.

"Playing with Leish, I don't know that either of us would have played as well as we did had we not played with each other," Herbert said after being grouped with Leishman and Fireball GC's Abraham Ancer for the final round.

"It was like anytime he did anything remotely good, I was just straight into him, like, 'Great shot, Leish, well done there, that was tough, really well done.' "We fed off each other all day like that. I think that played a big part in why both of us shot 65 and ultimately got us into that playoff."

Herbert made a red-hot start, recording a birdie on his second hole and an eagle on his third - the par-5 ninth. Though he bogeyed the 11th and 13th, he rebounded with birdies at the 15th, 16th, 18th, first, fourth and fifth.

Leishman, meanwhile, reeled off two birdies in his first four holes - at the seventh and 10th - before picking up further shots at the 12th, 13th, 14th, 17th and the par-4 fourth.

"It was just a great day all-in-all really," said Leishman. "To play with Lucas for the day, I've never really fist-pumped to go from 20th to 18th or 17th before, and I think that team aspect really does that to us. You don't have a chance to win the individual tournament, but you've got a chance to help your team, so I think that's really a massive draw card of this event."

One year ago, the inaugural LIV Golf Adelaide established itself as the league's gold standard for attendance and enthusiasm. More than 77,000 fans were onsite for the three rounds of competition and this week's number exceeded 90,000, making it one of the most attended golf events ever held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Last year the Rippers fell short in their quest to win the team title in front of boisterous home fans. Although Smith closed with a 66 to secure fourth place on the individual leaderboard, the Aussie foursome ended up eighth out of 12 in the team standings after perhaps striving too hard for success under the weight of expectation.

For this week, they made a conscious effort to prepare better, to embrace the crowd support and to limit some of their media commitments. The end result was a resounding success.

"For us to win in Australia as a team, it's something we wanted to do last year," said Leishman. "We didn't get it done. To do it this year, it's hard to explain. To do it with these guys who are all good friends, we have such a good time together, and that's one of the aspects that makes our team so good. We have a good time hanging out, drinking, which we'll do plenty of tonight and on the plane tomorrow, I'm sure."

On Monday, the Rippers will be flying to Singapore for the May 3-5 LIV Golf Singapore at Sentosa Golf Club.