Oct 10th, 2022
Chacarra wins the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok
22-year-old Spaniard winsin just his fifth pro start
Photography: LIV Golf
His Fireballs GC teammates, of course, as the Spanish-speaking foursome captained by Sergio Garcia claimed their first team win of the season. Also, his coach, who has taught Chacarra since he was five years old and just recently joined him on the road. His caddie. His best friend. His cousin. And his mother, who was a nervous wreck early but couldn’t stop smiling as her son became LIV Golf’s youngest champion.
“My mom has been getting me to the course since I was little and tried to help me reach my dreams,” said Chacarra, who pocketed $4 million for the individual win and another $750,000 for his share of the team victory at Stonehill. “This was one of the things I wanted to do, win with my mom.”
It was quite a performance she saw from her son this week at Stonehill. Chacarra’s 54-hole total of nineteen-under is the lowest winning score in LIV Golf’s inaugural season and his 3-stroke victory over Patrick Reed ties for the widest winning margin established in the previous event by Cameron Smith in Chicago.
“He played great,” Reed said. “To go around this place in 19 under is impressive.”
“He fully deserved it,” added Richard Bland, one of his playing partners the last two days in the final group. “I don’t think anyone was catching him today. He had it under control the whole back 9. He’s got a bright future.”
The Fireballs’ victory ends the four-tournament winning streak by 4 Aces GC and gives Garcia’s team a chance to claim one of the day one byes at the Miami Team Championship to close out the season. The seeds will be finalized after next week’s event in Jeddah, with the top four teams getting byes.
In shooting a collective 45 under for the week, the Fireballs produced all nine counting scores in the 60s, winning by seven shots over Crushers GC. Cleeks GC made the podium and the final money position for the first time this season, finishing third by one shot over Iron Heads GC.
“It’s an amazing week,” Garcia said. “… 4 Aces were coming off four wins in a row, so we knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. But we had a lot of faith in each other We’ve been playing really, really well, and been quite close a couple of times.
“We felt like we just needed to click a little bit here and there, and that was going to make the difference – and that’s what happened this week.”
For Chacarra, who joined LIV Golf for the second event in Portland after opting to skip his senior season at Oklahoma State, the final round at Stonehill was a testament to his maturity as well as his skill.
He entered Sunday with a five shot lead but quickly saw it reduced to a single stroke after suffering his first two bogeys of the week at the 4th and 5th. But he immediately bounced back with a birdie at the par-5 sixth.
“That birdie on 6 was big,” he said, “but I knew it was going to be hard today. It was going to be a long day.”
From there, he played bogey-free golf the rest of the way. But he had to endure one last big test.
After making a birdie at the 14th hole to move to eighteen-under, then hitting an approach shot that finished off the green at the 15th, Chacarra and the rest of the field were forced off the course due to severe weather. The 1 hour, 37-minute delay forced him to sit on a two shot lead over Reed.
Chacarra remained calm and composed. Once play resumed, he produced a terrific chip to give himself a tap-in par at 15. Meanwhile, Reed found the water with his tee shot at the 16th. He would eventually drop a shot, giving Chacarra a three stroke lead with three holes to play.
“I feel like the rain and the cold out on 15 helped me a lot,” Chacarra said. “I needed some time off. I was kind of nervous, and being with my family, my coach, and my best friend Gonzalo kind of helped me relax and just see how life is and how nice is my life right now.”
As for the chip shot at the 15th, Chacarra called it “the best chip I ever had in my life.”
Sunday was the best moment he’s had in his golfing career. Not just his first professional win but celebrating with Garcia, his hero and someone he describes as a “second father.” Certainly, Garcia was as proud as any parent about his young protégé’s performance.
Asked about the opportunities LIV Golf provides young players with the freedom to grow without worries of missing cuts or uncertain schedules, Garcia replied: “To be able to come out here with good talent and for them to be able to play a little bit more freely and show what they can really do without having to be super intense on if I don't make the cut this week, what am I going to do and am I going to be able to play the next three weeks or something like that, I think it's huge.
“LIV Golf has given us that chance, and super proud that we have one of them in our team and already a winner. It's amazing.”
1. Fireballs GC, 45 under (Sergio Garcia 68, Abraham Ancer 68, Eugenio Chacarra 69)
2. Crushers GC, 38 under (Paul Casey 65, Charles Howell III 67, Bryson DeChambeau 69)
3. Cleeks GC, 37 under (Martin Kaymer 68, Richard Bland 68, Laurie Canter 69)
4. Iron Heads GC, 36 under (Sihwan Kim 68, Phachara Khongwatmai 68, Sadom Kaewkanjana 68)
5. Niblicks GC, 36 under (James Piot 68, Harold Varner III 69, Turk Pettit 70)
6. 4 Aces GC, 35 under (Patrick Reed 67, Dustin Johnson 67, Pat Perez 69)
7. Majesticks GC, 32 under (Sam Horsfield 67, Henrik Stenson 68, Ian Poulter 69)
8. Smash GC, 32 under (Chase Koepka 67, Brooks Koepka 69, Jason Kokrak 70)
9. Punch GC, 28 under (Matt Jones 66, Cameron Smith 70, Marc Leishman 70)
10. Hy Flyers GC, 24 under (Bernd Wiesberger 68, Phil Mickelson 69, Cameron Tringale 72)
11. Stinger GC, 20 under (Charl Schwartzel 66, Shaun Norris 69, Louis Oosthuizen 73)
12. Torque GC, 18 under (Joaquin Niemann 65, Jediah Morgan 72, Scott Vincent 74)