Charl Schwartzel scoops $4 million prize and wins inaugural LIV Golf event

South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, who has the inaugural LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club, St Albans

South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, who has the inaugural LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club, St Albans - Credit: Kieran Cleeves/PA

Charl Schwartzel has been crowned the champion of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational event near St Albans.

The South African golfer finished (-7), just one ahead of Hennie Du Plessis on the final day of LIV Golf London today (Saturday, June 11).

Schwartzel took an early lead during the first round of the event on Thursday and held onto his lead throughout day two on Friday, finishing three ahead.

Charl Schwartzel, pictured here on day two of LIV Golf London, has won the first LIV Golf tournament

Charl Schwartzel, pictured here on day two of LIV Golf London, has won the first LIV Golf tournament and the $4 million top prize - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

Hennie Du Plessis tees off the 18th hole on day two of the LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club, St Albans

Hennie Du Plessis tees off the 18th hole on day two of the LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club, St Albans - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

Schwartzel's team Stinger Golf Club - comprising Du Plessis, Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen - also won the team format played alongside the individual game.

For winning both the individual and team formats, Schwartzel has scooped the maximum $4.75 million prize (around £3.86 million).

The total prize fund for the LIV Golf London event is $25 million.

Staff in Queen's Guard dress on day two of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series near St Albans

Staff in Queen's Guard dress on day two of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series near St Albans - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

Fans on the final day of the LIV Golf London event near St Albans

Fans on the final day of the LIV Golf London event near St Albans - Credit: Kieran Cleeves/PA

Following his win, Schwartzel said: "I am proud of how I hung in there.

"I'm proud of my teammates. This is a historic moment."

On the new LIV format, he said: "The guys put on an amazing show.

"It was way beyond my expectations."

After romping through days one and two at the top of the leaderboard, the final round was nearly disaster for Schwartel, who had to hack the ball out from under a tree branch on the fairway on 12th hole - with seven to play.

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He plugged the ball into the bunker, but finished the the 12th with a double bogey, bringing him from (-10) to (-8), two ahead his teammate in second place, Hennie Du Plessis.

Schwartzel was able to increase his lead with a (-9) score with a birdie on the following hole.

The event began with Martin Kaymer recording the first birdie within the first half-hour on Thursday, June 9.

Martin Kaymer, who scored the first birdie in a LIV game

Martin Kaymer, who scored the first birdie in a LIV game - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

Phil Mickelson on the 15th green on the final day of LIV Golf London

Phil Mickelson on the 15th green on the final day of LIV Golf London - Credit: Kieran Cleeves/PA

Viraj Madappa recorded the first eagle with a 10ft putt on the 13th hole.

By the end of Saturday, Hennie Du Plessis finished in second place with (-6).

Branden Grace tied for third with Peter Uihlein on (-5).

The new LIV format - so named because of its 54 holes rather than the usual 72 - has caused controversy in the golfing world.

A so-called "super league", the event was part-funded by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The head of the PIF is Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is allegedly complicit in human rights abuses such as the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Jay Monahan of the PGA Tour, which features events such as the US Open, said LIV players could no longer compete in its well established tournaments.

"Players' participation in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf event is in violation of our tournament regulations," Monahan said.

"I am certain our fans and partners – who are surely tired of all this talk of money, money and more money – will continue to be entertained and compelled by the world-class competition you display each and every week, where there are true consequences for every shot you take and your rightful place in history whenever you reach that elusive winner’s circle."

He said the "same fate holds true" for any players who join future LIV events without permission from the PGA Tour.

Dustin Johnson tees off the first green on day one a LIV Golf London, held at the Centurion Club near St Albans

Dustin Johnson tees off the first green on day one a the inaugural LIV Golf London event, held at the Centurion Club near St Albans - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

The flypast on day two of the LIV Golf London event, St Albans

The flypast on day two of the LIV Golf London event, St Albans - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

But this did not stop former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and former Masters champion Patrick Reed from announcing their intention to join the LIV league.

Pat Perez signed with the "super league" in the final hours of Saturday's game.

"I'm actually very excited," he told LIV live stream viewers.

"It's a new chapter in my life. I have been in the PGA Tour for 21 years straight."

Ian Poulter at the Centurion Club, St Albans on day three of the LIV Golf Invitational Series

Ian Poulter at the Centurion Club, St Albans on day three of the LIV Golf Invitational Series - Credit: Kieran Cleeves/PA

He added: "I've got more motivation now than ever really.

"The PGA Tour been a fun run."

A statement on the LIV website reads: "Our mission is to modernize and supercharge the game of professional golf through expanded opportunities for both players and fans alike."

LIV Golf chief Greg Norman, pictured on day two of the St Albans event

LIV Golf chief Greg Norman, pictured on day two of the St Albans event - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

James Piot tees off on the 16th hole at the Centurion Club, St Albans

James Piot tees off on the 16th hole at the Centurion Club, St Albans - Credit: Kieran Cleeves/PA

The series features eight tournaments around the world, culminating at a team championship in Miami which begins on October 27.

The London games, hosted at the Centurion Club between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead, was the debut event in the inaugural series.

It features shotgun starts, where each cluster of players tee off at the same time.

Dustin Johnson putts on the green on day three

Dustin Johnson putts on the green on day three - Credit: Kieran Cleeves/PA

Kevin Na on day three of the LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club, St Albans

Kevin Na on day three of the LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club, St Albans - Credit: Kieran Cleeves/PA

The fan events in the evenings featured live music from DJ Fat Tony and Craig David.

Jessie J headlines the Centurion Club tonight (June 11).

The next LIV event is due to take place in Portland in Oregon, USA from June 30.

The LIV Golf Invitational fan experience at the Centurion Club near St Albans

The LIV Golf Invitational fan experience at the Centurion Club near St Albans - Credit: Kieran Cleeves/PA