Lopez-Chacarra takes five-stroke lead into final round at LIV Golf Bangkok

By Sports Desk October 08, 2022

Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra will take a five-stroke lead into the final round at LIV Golf Bangkok after ending a brilliant second day in Thailand at 16 under par.

Lopez-Chacarra was one of a leading trio on seven under after the first round, but Richard Bland was unable to keep up with the Spaniard and Branden Grace withdrew after just three holes on Saturday due to an acute muscle strain.

Bland is one of four five shots off the lead with Sihwan Kim, Patrick Reed and Harold Varner III – while they may not be completely out of the running yet, the chasing pack need Lopez-Chacarra to lose momentum.

If his form from the first two rounds is anything to go by, there is little hope of such a collapse, with no one in the field bettering his respective scores of 65 and 63.

Saturday's 63 was nine under par as the 22-year-old – who was a high-ranked amateur before joining LIV Golf in June – carded seven birdies and an eagle, which was holed from the sand on six, and avoided a single bogey.

Those trailing Lopez-Chacarra will be hoping the Madrid native's inexperience leads to a blip on Sunday.

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka is one of those who will aim to propel himself into contention as he sits on 10 under for the tournament, though victory will require something special.

Few other big names retain much of a chance of glory, however, with Bryson DeChambeau at seven under and Phil Mickelson another shot back.

Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson are among a group on four under, while 2022 Open Championship winner Cameron Smith is way down near the bottom of the standings at two under.

If Lopez-Chacarra can hold his nerve on Sunday, he will have gone from amateur golfer to winner of a $4million purse within four months.

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