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Martin Kaymer, Adrian Meronk, Lead Cleeks to Victory in Houston Before U.S. Open

Team Champions Captain Martin Kaymer, Richard Bland, Adrian Meronk and Kalle Samooja of Cleeks GC and caddies Craig Connelly, James Walton, Stuart Beck and John Dempster celebrate onstage

It goes without saying that LIV Houston was a resounding success as viewers were treated to an exciting neck-to-neck finish between LIV newcomer Adrian Meronk and Torque GC’s Carlos Ortiz!

The team championship went to Cleeks GC after late threats stemming from David Puig and Fireballs GC as well as Brooks Koepka catapulting Smash GC into tied for second place.

Sunday marked the Cleeks’ first-ever LIV Golf win, and it’s a win they’ll look to build on as the rebranding of this once-awful squadron continues down the path of redemption and stardom! 

Torque GC’s Carlos Ortiz won his first LIV golf tournament in a familiar place. His lone win on the PGA Tour came in the same city during the Houston Open in 2020.

Ortiz’s win gives Torque GC its third win this season after Joaquin Neimann’s early season victories in Mayakoba and Jeddah. 

Hometown hero Patrick Reed stayed within striking distance of the leaders for the majority of Sunday but fell just short shooting 13-under, good for third place.

Fireballs GC teammates David Puig and Sergio Garcia also finished the event among others with double-digit under-par scores. 

Cleeks Captain Martin Kaymer had a tremendous Sunday despite a couple of mistakes that resulted in a double bogey and a pair of bogeys.

Kaymer, who rarely shot for par on Sunday, was joined by Richard Bland who caught fire on Sunday after a disappointing first two days, shooting 5-under (Sunday) and staying red hot down the stretch to help propel the Cleeks into first place. 

Looking Ahead to the U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2 welcomes the world’s best this Thursday, and several LIV stars will take the field after taking advantage of exemptions or earning their way on through alternative means. 

Perhaps most intriguing will be one of the subjects of this article, Martin Kaymer, who was the last golfer to win the U.S. Open when it was hosted at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in 2014.

Kaymer, who has been in excellent form, may not be the favourite (that will obviously belong to World Number One Scottie Scheffler), but it should not surprise anyone to see the Cleeks captain make a solid run and perhaps pull off an upset victory which would make him the first LIV golfer to win a major in 2024.

The following LIV golfers will be joining Martin Kaymer on the trip to North Carolina:

Previous winners:

  • Dustin Johnson, 4 Aces GC, 2016
  • Brooks Koepka, Smash GC, 2017 & 2018
  • Bryson DeChambeau, Crushers GC, 2020
  • Jon Rahm, Legion XIII, 2021
  • * Graeme McDowell, Smash GC, 2010 (will not appear in U.S. Open 2024)

The previous champions will be joined by their fellow LIV golfers:

  • Dean Burmester, Stinger GC
  • Tyrrell Hatton, Legion XIII
  • Phil Mickelson, HyFlyers GC
  • Adrian Meronk, Cleeks GC
  • David Puig, Fireballs GC
  • Cam Smith, Ripper GC
  • Eugenio Lopez Chacarra, Fireballs GC

Another great storyline will be HyFlyers Captain and golfing legend Phil Mickelson!

The U.S. Open is the only major Phil has not yet won. Should he make the cut, Phil will celebrate his 54th birthday on Championship Sunday while battling for his first-ever U.S Open win.

Phil will have his legion of fans cheering him on as he looks to add that last elusive trophy to his legacy as one of golf’s all-time greats.

From the list of previous champions there doesn’t appear to be a clear favourite to win.

Reigning champion Wyndam Clark has had a subpar season in the PGA Tour and Jon Rahm may be nursing an ailing foot for a couple of days. 

Brooks Koepka showed poise and resolve at the end of Houston, giving Smash GC a very good chance to win.

Building on that momentum is convincing enough to believe that Koepka could very well be a third-time winner by this time next week.

Even if Rahm were completely healthy, Kopeka has shown that he can turn on his elite form at a moment’s notice, usually when he or his team is under extreme pressure.

Concerning would-be first-time winners, other than Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele must be one of the presumptive favourites after winning the PGA Championship and having the weight of the world lifted off his shoulders as none can call him the best player without a major anymore.

From our list of LIV golfers, Cam Smith would be the odds-on favourite despite a lacklustre finish in Houston that culminated in shooting an 8-over on Sunday. 

Elsewhere Around Houston

The shocking news occurred early with Jon Rahm withdrawing in preparation of next week’s U.S. Open.

LIV announcers claimed that Rahm was suffering from a cut between his toes and news outlets later reported that the cut had developed an infection.

With Rahm withdrawing from the tournament, Legion XIII quickly fell behind and finished in 7th place.

A respectable finish, all things considered after losing one of LIV’s best players. Stinger GC captain Lous Oosthuizen also withdrew from the tournament early.

Neither captain’s replacement players were quite up to the task of filling in some very big shoes.

We wish Jon Rahm a speedy recovery in order to be at one-hundred per cent for Thursday.

On early Friday afternoon it appeared that Iron Heads GC and Majesticks GC were going to make an improbable run to a podium finish, but those dreams were quickly dashed come Saturday with both teams quickly falling out of the top three, never to return to the visible four-team leaderboard displayed on CW Sports. 

In the individual standings, Adrian Meronk and eventual winner David Ortiz were neck and neck until an errant shot on the Par 5 15th put Meronk two strokes behind after Ortiz birdied the same hole.

Meronk surprisingly could very well have entered a playoff match with Ortiz as the latter bogeyed the 18th, but Meronk had already missed a makeable putt, perhaps wrongly convinced he had no chance to win individually.

Houston had a little bit of everything. Down to-the-wire finishes both on the individual and team level, surging comebacks, dizzying letdowns, surprise withdrawals, and a great crowd that braved the blistering heat to cheer on their favourite golfers and teams!

Stay tuned for LIV Golf at The Grove in Nashville, Tennessee following The U.S. Open. The new venue promises to have exciting action and interesting storylines!