Spanish prospect Eugenio Chacarra was among the least well-known players to ruffle a few feathers by signing up to LIV Golf, but that may be about to change.
Chacarra announced his arrival on Sunday with a wire-to-wire win against a field stacked with major winners at the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok.
It delivered the first title of the 22-year-old’s fledgling professional career and almost $5m (£4.5m) in prize money.
“I’ve got no words,” he said at Stonehill, the brand new course staging the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok. “All the hard work I’ve put in since I was little. Finally.”
Dustin Johnson’s 16th place was enough to ensure that he will be crowned the series’ first individual champion – and pocket a $18m (£16m) bonus – at next week’s event in Jeddah.
Chacarra held off Sunday challenges from Patrick Reed and Paul Casey with a closing 69 that gave him a final score of 19 under par and a three-shot victory.
He also helped Fireballs GC, captained by his hero and fellow countryman Sergio Garcia, romp home by seven shots in the team competition.
The individual title earned him $4m (£3.6m), while his share of the team crown saw him bank a further $750,000 (£675,000).
Madrid native Chacarra was a star of the US college golf scene until the summer, rising to No2 in the world amateur rankings.
His decision to drop out of Oklahoma State before his final year and choose LIV Golf over a path towards the PGA Tour was seen as a coup for the big-money circuit.
He joins Johnson, Cameron Smith, Henrik Stenson, Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel in winning tournaments in its inaugural season.
Reed conjured a 67 to finish as Chacarra’s closest challenger on a storm-hit last day in Bangkok, while Casey was a shot further back after a seven-under-par 65.
Richard Bland tied with fellow Englishman and South Korean Shiwan Kim after the Hampshire man’s challenge stalled with a 68.
Individual championship leader Johnson knew he could put himself out of reach with one counting event to go with victory in Thailand.
He finished 10 shots off the pace but that was better than title rivals Grace and Smith, meaning the American will be confirmed as champion in Saudi Arabia.
The series concludes with a team championship in Miami at the end of the month, where a further $50m is on offer.