Talor Gooch avoided an almighty collapse, the 4Aces continued their team dominance and Chase Koepka stepped out of his brother’s shadow with a hole-in-one during a pulsating finish to LIV Golf Adelaide.

At 19-under par, Gooch closed out a two-stroke victory from India’s Anirban Lahiri with Patrick Reed, Cam Smith, Cameron Tringale and Pat Perez tied for third, four strokes behind.

Starting the final round with a 10-stroke lead, Gooch appeared set for a collapse of monumental proportions. He played his first six holes in 1-under par to reach 21-under. But he dropped four strokes in his next four holes to offer hope to a chasing pack led by Lahiri.

Gooch’s lead was reduced to just two strokes at the par-5 10th when he bladed a bunker shot over the green and then three-putted for a double-bogey 7.

In a sign of class, Gooch drained birdie putts at the 11th and 13th to steady the nerves, then parred in to card a 1-over 73. Afterwards, Gooch credited his Australian caddie Mal Baker for keeping his head in the game.

Baker has been on Gooch’s bag for six years, beginning in 2017 when the American navigated his way from the Web.com circuit onto the PGA Tour. Gooch said he couldn’t have picked a more meaningful tournament to win given his caddie’s country of origin.

“His green reading ability out here is incredible. I leaned on him more this week than I have in a long time. He was so spot on early on, and it just gave me confidence in him, and I think it gave confidence in himself,” Gooch said.

“Today he did a really, really good job of just not wavering and just being himself and just acting like this is another round of golf, even though it was a huge round of golf for us.

“I made a bunch of putts the last couple days – a bunch of eight, 10, 12-footers. And without him, I don’t make as many putts, plain and simple. Having the confidence in his green-reading ability was a huge difference maker. Then today, when things were shaky, he was a constant. He does a great job of not wavering, not getting too high, not getting too low, and he knows that I don’t need a cheerleader that’s going to kind of pump me up when I’m down.”

Baker returned the compliment, appreciating how Gooch’s extended family had supported he and his wife through the years: “He’s a great golfer but an even better person.”

Chase Koepka – the brother of four-time Major champion Brooks Koepka – sent the party hole into a frenzy when he aced the par-3 12th hole from 137 metres (150 yards).

“It was wild out there today again. I got up on the tee and was trying to hit a trap draw 9-iron, something that we’ve been working on all week, trying to make sure I drew it.

“I hit it and I knew it was good. I thought if anything it was going to be a little deep. I saw it pitch in the upslope and take a soft bounce, and I was like, ‘Oh, it’ll be close.’ Then the roars kept getting louder and louder and louder. And when it went in, I started getting peppered with beer cans.

“I smelled like beer the whole entire rest of the day. Yeah, it was wild. Crazy experience. Obviously to do it on a hole like that was super special. It definitely gave the fans something to remember.”

In the team competition, 4Aces GC set a new LIV Golf scoring record of 47-under par while capturing its first win of the season and sixth title overall. RangeGoats GC fell one stroke shy while the all-South African Stinger GC made it a podium finish at 44-under par.

4Aces captain Dustin Johnson shot 5-under 67 for the round but his score wasn’t required as Patrick Reed (65), Peter Uihlein (66) and Pat Perez (67) stepped up when they were needed.