Cameron Smith beats Phil Mickelson in LIV Golf team finale

DORAL, Fla. — Phil Mickelson’s long year that saw him become a central figure in Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf ended Friday when British Open champion Cameron Smith hit a 7-foot birdie putt on the last Loch potted to hit Mickelson and eliminate his team.

The LIV Golf Team Championship-Miami at Trump National Doral is an all-match play where four teams advance to Saturday’s semi-finals to face off against the four teams that earned byes based on the previous seven LIV events.

Aussie team Punch’s Marc Leishman beat Matthew Wolff in a singles match. In the four-man match, Bernd Wiesberger and Cameron Tringale from the “Hy Flyers” won a point. That left the other singles match between Smith and Mickelson.

They traded pars for most of the front nine – they started on the par 3 in the shotgun start on the ninth par – and it came down to the par 5 in the eighth. Mickelson missed his 8-foot birdie putt and Smith made his 7-foot putt for a 1-up win.

In another quarterfinal, Harold Varner III for his “Niblicks” team easily defeated four-time Major Champion Brooks Koepka, 4th and 3rd. But in this case, Koepka’s brother saved him. Chase Koepka and Jason Kokrak of “Smash” won the foursome by one point after Peter Uihlein defeated James Piot in a US Amateur Champions bout.

Uihlein won the amateur in 2010 while Piot won it in 2021.

Ian Poulter and his “Majestiks” advanced easily with a swing from the “Iron Heads” where neither match went the distance. The captains played each other in all quarterfinals and that meant Poulter faced Kevin Na and won 4 and 2.

Graeme McDowell and Richard Bland led the Cleeks to victory. Torque’s Joaquin Niemann won his team’s only point, a 5-3 singles win over Jordan’s Shergo Al Kurdi, a late substitute when Martin Kaymer was unable to play with an injured wrist.

Laurie Canter made a 25-foot putt for a 1-up win over Jediah Morgan, which sent the Cleeks through to the next round.

Dustin Johnson and his leading team “4 Aces” meet the Cleeks on Saturday. The other games will be Sergio Garcia’s “Fireballs” versus Smith and the Punch; Brooks Koepka versus Ian Poulter as the Smash take on the Majesticks; and Bryson DeChambeau and his Crushers against the South African “Stinger” team led by Louis Oosthuizen.

The four winning teams qualify for Sunday’s medals competition, where each player’s score counts.

Each member of Friday’s losing teams earned $250,000. The losers of Saturday’s semifinals will each receive $750,000.

Each player on the winning team will receive $4 million. Cameron Smith beats Phil Mickelson in LIV Golf team finale

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