Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Apr 28 2024
- 4 MIN
Oosthuizen Adelaide recap story image

ADELAIDE, South Australia – Stinger GC saved its very best for last at LIV Golf Adelaide on Sunday before it turned out to be a case of so close but so far in its pursuit of a first team title this season.

After producing the lowest collective score in the final round at The Grange Golf Club, the all-South African Stingers lost out to the all-Australian Rippers on the second hole of LIV Golf's first ever team playoff.

Stinger GC captain Louis Oosthuizen and Dean Burmester each had tricky birdie chances from inside 10 feet on the first extra hole, the par-4 18th, but both attempts slid past the cup. The team crown was then decided on the next hole, also the 18th, after both Oosthuizen and Burmester had ended up in the back left bunker with their approach shots.

"You couldn't have staged a better place to do the first playoff," Oosthuizen said after Ripper GC captain Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman had clinched team honors in front of massive home crowds at The Grange. "Probably couldn't script it better with the Rippers winning.

"We had chances. We had two putts (on 18). And I had a good putt on the second playoff hole as well. Some days they go in, some days they don't. It was just one of those things."

Oosthuizen made a sizzling start to the final round with three birdies in his first five holes en route to a 7-under 65 and second place at 17-under, one stroke behind HyFlyers GC's triumphant Brendan Steele.

Charl Schwartzel was the best of the Stinger GC players on day three, firing a bogey-free 64 which rocketed him up the leaderboard into a five-way tie for third at 16-under. Level with Schwartzel was the long-hitting Burmester, who closed with a 67 in his first start since winning LIV Golf Miami earlier this month.

Branden Grace was 10 strokes adrift at 6-under after signing off with a 68 that included an eight-foot eagle putt at the par-5 10th which was a key factor in the late surge which put the Stingers level with the Rippers.

Oosthuizen, Schwartzel, Burmester and Grace combined to post a 24-under score in the final round, by two strokes the best effort on day three and good enough to tie them with Ripper GC at 53-under overall.

"The guys are so good," said Schwartzel, after sinking a 15-footer for birdie at the par-4 15th, his final hole. "Louis and Dean have been playing really consistently for weeks in and weeks out now, and I managed to keep the bogeys off my card this week. I had a good week."

Asked what the experience had been like at The Grange, especially over the final nine holes of regulation play, Schwartzel replied: "It was exciting. I think at one stage we were seven back with three or four holes to go. We were sort of lucky to maybe get in the playoff.

"Everybody played really well. It could have gone our way down the first playoff hole, but that's how playoffs go. It's a great week, very exciting, and such a pleasure to play in front of so many people."

The Stingers also had added motivation on a very personal front for Schwartzel, whose beloved wife Rosalind was diagnosed with breast cancer at the tender age of 39 just eight weeks earlier.

In a sign of solidarity with her, all four Stinger GC players, plus the caddies and the entire team management, had shaved their hair during the build-up to LIV Golf Adelaide.

"We were hoping to get the team win for her," said Schwartzel. "It was close there. It's amazing when you play for a bigger cause."

The Stingers have now come close to victory in four of their six starts this season - in Mayakoba (where they finished fifth), in Jeddah (second), in Miami (third) and in Adelaide (second). They now head for the May 3-5 LIV Golf Singapore at Sentosa Golf Club where they will bid to land LIV Golf team honors for the first time since Tulsa last year.