BANGKOK – Behind the strong play of individual winner Eugenio Chacarra, the all-Spanish-speaking team called the Fireballs won the team title at the LIV Golf Invitational Series Bangkok event on Sunday.
Chacarra and teammates Sergio Garcia, Abe Ancer and Carlos Ortiz used their best three scores in each round to shoot a combined 45 under par and win by seven strokes.
The victory was worth $3 million to the team to be split, meaning $750,000 each.
The Crushers team of Bryson DeChambeau, Paul Casey, Anirban Lahiri and Charles Howell II finished second to capture $1.5 million. The Cleeks team of Richard Bland, Laurie Kanter, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell finished third and will split $500,000.
It was the first time since LIV Golf’s first event in London that the 4 Aces did not win. The team consisting of Dustin Johnson, Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez finished sixth.
“We felt like we had a team that we all played really solid, so having three scores count out of the four was great,” Ancer said. “I think we even could have done four out of four, and we would have been maybe here in the same spot. That really says a lot about this team, and I think we couldn’t be happier.”
The format changed this week to have three out of four scores count in all three rounds. For the first five events, two of the four counted in the first rounds with three scores counting in the third.
LIV Golf sees the team concept as a big part of its future plans in which one day there is a hope to have team owners, with captains getting equity stakes in those teams.
LIV Golf’s First Weather Delay
LIV Golf experienced a first in Bangkok: a weather delay. None of the previous events in London, Portland, Bedminster, Boston or Chicago had weather issues. While rain and storms were in the forecast every day this week, it only impacted the tournament on Sunday – which saw the shotgun start moved up an hour to 9 am local time to try and beat the weather.
But with about three holes to go, a storm moved in swiftly and after trying to wait it out players were eventually brought in due to lightning in the area. Play was suspended at 12:58 pm and did not resume until 2:31 pm
Next Stop: Saudi Arabia
For the first time during the LIV Golf Invitational Series schedule, there are events in back-to-back weeks. After playing in Bangkok, LIV Golf heads to Saudi Arabia – where its Public Investment Fund backs the enterprise – and the event in Jeddah.
The tournament is actually about an hour from Jeddah at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City. The venue is the host for the Saudi International tournament, which is now part of the Asian Tour and was previously on the European Tour.
Harold Varner III won that event in dramatic fashion with a birdie-eagle finish to beat Bubba Watson by one shot. The victory propelled Varner up the world rankings into the top 50 and ultimately helped him qualify for the Masters.
Now both Varner and Watson are part of LIV Golf, as is Dustin Johnson, who has won the Saudi International twice and Graeme McDowell, who won it in 2020.
Update on Branden Grace’s injury
Three holes into the second round, Brandon Grace was forced to withdraw with an acute muscle strain on his left side. Grace could not swing the club properly and was treated by a trainer but could not continue. He officially finished last in the field and earned $120,000, but received no points in the overall individual competition that concludes next week, where Dustin Johnson holds a healthy lead.
Grace’s status for the Jeddah event is unknown at this point. Although he was not replaced in the field even for his team in Bangkok, there would be an alternate who gets into the field at the next tournament if he is unable to start and that player would also contribute to Grace’s team.