South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel won the inaugural event of the breakaway LIV Golf Invitational Series by holding off compatriot Hennie Du Plessis by one stroke.

With his win, he also pocketed the biggest pay cheque in golf history as the breakaway league’s first event came to a close.

The 37-year-old led by three strokes going into the third and final round at the Centurion course north of London, and finished with a round of 72 to seal the $4 million prize.

His previous highest pay cheque was the $1.4 million which he earned for winning the 2011 Masters.

Charl Schwartzel finished seven-under with Du Plessis finishing one stroke back with another South African Branden Grace finishing third after carding five under.

All three were also part of the Stingers team which easily won the team element of the new series.

Schwartzel’s victory bookends a tumultuous launch week for the breakaway circuit.

Despite all the outside noise, the first event managed to attract decent-sized crowds and some of golf’s biggest names including six-time major champion Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Sergio Garcia.

They failed to translate their star-power on the greens though, as Dustin Johnson finished the tournament at 1-under, six strokes behind the leader while Phil Mickelson finished at 10-over, 17 strokes back.

Though his rustiness can be attributed to the fact that he has not played competitive golf in months.

The war between PGA Tour and the LIV, meanwhile, continues to rage on as on Thursday the Tour announced it had suspended players taking part in the LIV series.

The PGA suspension and the prospect of being ineligible for the Ryder Cup have not stopped more players from turning their back on the PGA Tour with major champion Bryson DeChambeau and fellow American Patrick Reed also registering for the breakaway circuit.

Both will make their debuts at the second event of the series in Portland, Oregon later this month.

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