Eugenio Chacarra lifts LIV’s lively debut with maiden tour win in Bangkok, takes home US$4 million purse
- The 22-year-old rookie pockets US$4 million for the individual win and another US$750,000 for his share of the team victory at Stonehill
- The breakaway rebel series LIV will now head to Jeddah before closing out the year in Miami
Spanish rookie Eugenio Chacarra secured the biggest payday of his young career, bagging US$4 million in the LIV Golf Invitational in Bangkok on Sunday.
Chacarra, who only turned professional in June, had not finished inside the top 20 previously at a LIV event but landed a monster cheque after carding a final round three-under 69 to hold off former US Masters champion Patrick Reed by three strokes at Stonehill golf club.
The 22-year-old followed up his opening two rounds of 65 and 63 to finish on 19 under par. In the team event, Chacarra’s 19 under par total helped his Fireballs team, comprised of Carlos Ortiz, Sergio Garcia and Abe Ancer, claim the team title.
The Fireballs’ victory ends the four-tournament winning streak by 4 Aces GC and gives Fireballs a chance to claim one of the day one byes at the Miami Team Championship to close out the season. The seeds will be finalised after next week’s event in Jeddah, with the top four teams getting byes.
“It feels great,” Chacarra said after the event. “Just trusting yourself and working hard every day. That’s what they taught me when I was young and what these guys tell me you need to do, and trusting your team, having a good team, and just work and work I would say.”
Chacarra was full of praise for LIV’s first event in Thailand, where he played alongside some of the world’s top golfers.
“What LIV Golf is doing for golf and for everyone is something that I couldn’t believe. I couldn’t be more proud to be here,” he said.
“I’m learning a lot. I’m playing with the best players in the world, and that’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was little. I’m learning from each of them.
“They’re trying to help me as much as they can and I’m always there learning … it’s been a dream, and I can’t be more excited for the years to come.”
There was a three-way tie for third in the 54-hole event, with Englishmen Paul Casey and Richard Bland finishing on 15 under par alongside American Sihwan Kim.
The US$25 million event at Stonehill in Bangkok was the first for the Saudi-backed LIV tour in Asia and if the persistent rumours are to be believed, it will not be the last.
LIV is eyeing a slate of events in Asia for 2023, from Hong Kong to Singapore, Vietnam and Australia. The series, headed by golfing great Greg Norman, is looking to expand its events in partnership with the Asian Tour’s new International Series.
Norman this week confirmed LIV and the Asian Tour were close to finalising their 2023 line-up, and Asia, he said, was ripe for growth.
This week’s event was overshadowed by a row over world ranking points, after LIV players were denied access to the global leader board.
LIV attempted to sidestep the issue under a “strategic partnership” with the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] Tour, but the official rankings body OWGR refused to recognise it and award points.
LIV will now head to Jeddah before closing out the year in Miami.