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Casey, Smith beaten in play-off as Ancer wins LIV Hong Kong

Paul Casey’s bid for a first LIV Golf title and Cameron Smith’s pursuit of a fourth were ended by Abrahm Ancer as the Mexican won a three-way play-off in Hong Kong.

Ancer held a five-shot lead going into Sunday’s final round but a two-over 72 dropped him back to 13 under for the tournament alongside Englishman Casey and Australian Smith.

The trio then headed back to the 18th hole at Fanling amid heavy rain, where Ancer shot birdie after a terrific approach to the green to claim his maiden LIV Golf trophy as Casey and Smith bogeyed.

Ancer said: “I made that so hard on myself. The ball striking wasn’t there but mentally I was really strong so I felt really good. I felt like I was not going to give up.

“That round could have gone south really quickly. I hit some good bunker shots, some good putts that I needed to just to get myself in it. I then hit the right shot at the right time in the play-off.”

Casey stars before play-off as Niemann hits hole-in-one

Casey carded six birdies in a blemish-free 64, including when he chipped in from a greenside bunker on his final hole, while Smith shot a four-under 66 with two gains on each nine.

Paul Casey, LIV Golf Mexico (Getty Images)
Image: Paul Casey carded a blemish-free final-round 64 in Hong Kong

Smith had previously won LIV events in Chicago in 2022 and then London and New Jersey last year but is yet to triumph this term.

Joaquin Niemann was victorious in the season opener in Mexico and then in Saudi Arabia last week, with Dustin Johnson winning in Las Vegas and now Ancer in Hong Kong.

Niemann finished one shot behind the leaders in Hong Kong on 12 under, with his seven-under 63 – which included a hole-in-one on the par-three eighth – just short of lifting him into the play-off.

Captain Joaqu..n Niemann of Torque GC hits his shot from the fifth tee during the second round of LIV Golf Jeddah at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club on Saturday, March 02, 2024 in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via AP)
Image: Joaquin Niemann’s hole-in-one came amid a seven-under round of 63

The Chilean racked up seven birdies in addition to that aced eagle but two bogeys proved damaging as he missed out on back-to-back titles and a third in four events.

The LIV season returns in Miami from April 5-7.

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