STINGERS LOSE OUT IN RACE FOR TEAM BYE; SCHWARTZEL SIGNS OFF WITH 66 IN JEDDAH
KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia – It was another frustrating day for Stinger GC at LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN in the regular-season finale as the all-South African team failed to secure a first-round bye for next week's Team Championship in Miami.
The Stingers had arrived in Jeddah occupying fourth spot in the season-long team standings but, by the time the final round at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club was over, they ended up fifth after being dislodged by RangeGoats GC in the hunt for that valuable bye.
For the LIV Golf Team Championship, teams will be seeded 1-12 based on the final regular season standings after Jeddah. The top four teams will receive a first-round bye in Miami and automatically qualify for Saturday’s semifinals. Teams seeded 5-12 will compete in Friday’s quarterfinals.
With LIV Golf Jeddah now in the books, the top four teams for Miami are 4Aces GC, Crushers GC, Torque GC and RangeGoats GC.
Charl Schwartzel was the best of the Stingers on Sunday, carding a bogey-free 4-under 66 to finish 20th on the individual leaderboard at 7-under 203. Long-hitting Dean Burmester was one spot back after closing with a six-birdie 67 while Louis Oosthuizen placed 33rd after signing off with a 69.
Branden Grace, who has produced three podium finishes this season, ended a frustrating week in Jeddah on a brighter note by shooting his lowest score, a 67 lifting him into 37th position at 3-under 207.
Burmester, who joined LIV Golf in February this year after earning his PGA Tour card via the developmental Korn Ferry Tour, got off to the best start among the Stinger GC players on Sunday with four birdies in his first eight holes. Although he picked up two more shots, at the seventh and ninth, he offset those with bogeys at the sixth and 15th to remain at 7-under for the tournament.
The Stingers ended up in ninth spot on the team leaderboard in Jeddah, certainly a letdown after finishing third, third, third and eighth in their previous four LIV Golf starts.
For Burmester, the biggest challenge all week in Jeddah was the heat.
"That was probably the toughest test," said the 34-year-old who was born in Mutare, Zimbabwe. "The wind is obviously one thing, coming off the sea like it does on some of the holes. That's pretty tricky. But the heat, it's a marathon here and everybody has just got to kind of try and get through it and figure out what they're going to do.
"One of the physios who is working with us, he was saying that we need to be drinking six bottles of water every nine holes just to kind of break even. It's been pretty brutal but I sweat a lot and I could certainly lose a couple of pounds, so I am pretty happy! We know Florida is going to be pretty hot, so it will be important for all of us to get some rest before Miami."