Unheralded Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra, who only turned professional in June this year, secured a massive $4 million pay day on Sunday by winning the breakaway LIV golf tour event in Bangkok.
The Spaniard 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.
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.
“It’s great,” said Lopez-Chacarra who until a few months ago was still a college student.
“I’m playing with the best players in the world, and that’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was little and I’m learning from each of them.
“It’s been a dream, and I can’t be more excited for the next years to come.”
The $25 million event in Bangkok was the Saudi-backed LIV tour’s first in Asia.
The deep pockets of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund have allowed LIV to offer eye-watering prize money -- last place in Bangkok took home $120,000 -- but have also drawn accusations of “sportswashing”, given the kingdom’s dubious human rights record.
A host of top players have joined the series, plunging golf into a bitter civil war with the US PGA Tour banning players who sign for LIV.
And this week’s event was overshadowed by a row over world ranking points, after LIV said it would be co-sanctioned by the developmental MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Tour but the official rankings body OWGR refused to recognise it and award points.
LIV has previously staged five events in its first season, but without any ranking points awarded for its players -- including former world number one Dustin Johnson.
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