LIV Golf in Bangkok leaderboard: Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra extends his lead after sizzling 63 in Round 2

Beginning the second round alongside Richard Bland and Branden Grace atop the 2022 LIV Golf in Bangkok leaderboard, Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra forged ahead. Once again getting around Stonehill Golf Course in a bogey-free fashion, the Spaniard improved on his first day effort with a second-round 9-under 63 to put a stranglehold on this tournament.

Beginning his day on the first hole, Chacarra was after it at the jump. Making birdie in his first two holes, he saw his name rise above the rest on the leaderboard. Tacking on another birdie on the par-4 fifth and an eagle on the par-5 sixth, the 22-year-old’s advantage had grown to four by the time his group made its way to the inward half.

Not only had Chacarra ascended to the top spot alone, but one of his closest competitors Branden Grace had fallen out of the competition. Citing an acute muscle strain on his left side, the LIV Portland winner was only able to complete three holes in his second round before withdrawing.

Adding three birdies on his back nine, Chacarra ultimately signed for his second consecutive round in the mid-60s to put him at 16 under for the week. With Grace’s absence, a number of suitors have lined up behind Chacarra heading into the final round of LIV Bangkok where a massive effort will be needed in order to overcome a five-stroke deficit.

Former Masters champion Patrick Reed played himself back into the mix with a 7-under 65 and is in a tie for second alongside Bland, Sihwan Kim and Harold Varner III at 11 under. Just one stroke back is Brooks Koepka who is well-positioned to capture his first top-10 finish with LIV Golf and possibly his first victory if Chacarra is to struggle after two straight rounds of 67.

The leader

1. Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra (-16)

If able to sign for a third straight bogey-free round, it is more than likely Chacarra will be your LIV Golf Bangkok winner. Breaking a streak that has included winners such as Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith, the inclusion of the youngest member of the circuit in the winner’s circle is welcome news for the upstart golf league. The 22-year-old still has his work cut out for him, but he is insistent that — much like Matthew McConaughey — by going back, he is actually moving forward.

“I think the key was I went back to see what I was doing in college because I was working so well and I didn’t do as good the first four weeks as a pro, and it was just try to have fun and then play to not make bogeys,” said Chacarra. “Kind of playing smart on the course, and that’s what I’ve started doing this week. I feel my game — I’m actually hitting it pretty good, but I’m playing smart and I’m having fun, so that’s the key for these couple rounds.”

Other contenders

T2. Richard Bland, Sihwan Kim, Harold Varner III, Patrick Reed (-11)

T6. James Piot, Brooks Koepka (-10)

T8. Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood, Kevin Na (-9)

There are some strong pursuers in this group if Chacarra is to slip up. Koepka is the most intriguing I would say just given his lack of recent quality but also his ability to seal the deal when in contention. Motivation is a word that has been thrown around in regards to some of these players and while some are still working away on their off-weeks, Koepka has been seen yachting around the Mediterranean and enjoying his life to the fullest. This has led to some poor efforts in the LIV Golf Series but maybe, just maybe, he decided enough was enough and put his head to the grindstone ahead of this week.

Grace’s injury comes at a horrible time

The man from South Africa was right in the thick of it before his untimely departure from LIV Golf Bangkok due to injury. Grace entered the week 39 points behind Johnson in the season-long race and was primed to cut into the American’s deficit with a strong effort in Thailand. It is unknown how long the LIV Portland winner will be sidelined, but with his absence, Johnson’s grip on the regular season trophy most certainly tightens.

Team standings

1

Fireballs

Sergio Garcia, Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Eugenio Chacarra

-34

2

Niblicks

Turk Petit, James Piot, Hudson Swafford, Harold Varner III

-27

3

Cleeks

Richard Bland, Laurie Canter, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell

-26

4

Iron Heads

Sadom Kaewkanjana, Phacara Khongwatmai, Sihwan Kim, Kevin Na

-24

5

Crushers

Bryson DeChambeau, Paul Casey, Charles Howell III, Anirban Lahiri

-2. 3

T6

4 Aces

Talor Gooch, Dustin Johnson, Pat Perez, Patrick Reed

-22

T6

Smash

Chase Koepka, Peter Uihlein, Brooks Koepka, Jason Kokrak

-22

8

Majesticks

Sam Horsfield, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson

-20

9

Punch

Matt Jones, Wade Ormsby, Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman

-18

10

Hey Flyers

Bernd Wiesberger, Phil Mickelson, Matthew Wolff, Cameron Tringale

-17

11

Torque

Jediah Morgan, Hideto Tanihara, Scott Vincent, Joaquin Niemann

-13

12

Stinger

Branden Grace (WD), Shaun Norris, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel

-12

With Branden Grace’s WD, Stinger GC must use each team member’s score (3) in the final round.