Chacarra beats Jones in epic, record-breaking play-off at inaugural St Andrews Bay Championship
(Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland, 27 August 2023)
The Asian Tour sensationally witnessed the longest sudden-death play-off in its history today, when young Spaniard Eugenio Chacarra defeated veteran Matt Jones from Australia on the 10th extra hole at the inaugural St Andrews Bay Championship.
Chacarra made a par on the par-five 18th, two putting from 30 feet, while Jones, 20 years his senior, missed a five-footer for a five at Fairmont St Andrews – after one of the most exciting ever finishes on the Asian Tour.
Both players had birdied the final hole in normal time to finish tied on 19-under, with Chacarra carding a five-under-par 67 and Jones a 69.
Australian Andrew Dodt (68) and Jaco Ahlers (69) from South African finished one stroke short of the play-off.
Chile’s Mito Pereira and Gaganjeet Bhullar from India both returned 70s, and were another shot back.
The previous longest play-off took place at the 2001 SK Telecom Open in Korea, when local player Charlie Wi triumphed after seven holes against countryman Kang Wook-soon and Simon Yates from Scotland.
“It was a long day,” said Chacarra.
“Happy it came out my way, but I mean, Matt had a tremendous day as well. Tremendous 10 holes, I think we all know he’s a great player. Thank you very much it came out my way but I’m sure Matt will win a lot of more events.
“It was amazing, I think the Asian Tour is doing amazing things. I mean, they’re growing the game of golf and I had a lot of fun. We normally don’t get these good days in Scotland, so it was awesome. I mean, obviously I got the win so it would make it a little more fun, but it was awesome. Yeah, thanks to the Asian Tour and International Series for what they’re doing and hopefully we can come back a lot more years.”
This is the 23-year-old’s first 72-hole victory since turning professional last year, while he also claimed the individual title in last year’s LIV Golf Bangkok.
Two-time Australian Open winner Jones, who like Chacarra plays on the LIV Golf League, was looking for his first win since the 2021 Honda Classic on the PGA Tour and felt it was his putting that let him down.
He said: “I threw away a golf tournament with the way I putted during the tournament, and in the play-off. I putted pretty awful all week. I missed a lot of short ones. My speed was terrible, but I hit some nice shots. It is always good to get into contention, but I am done now, I am tired.”
The 43-year-old appeared out of it on the third extra hole but sensationally chipped in from 25 feet to keep his chances alive.
The play-off was just one short of the all-time longest sudden-death play-off: the 1949 Motor City Open, between Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum, which lasted 11 holes before they decided to share the honours.
Overnight-leader Turk Pettit from the United States closed with 74 and tied for eighth on 15 under, along with countryman Andrew Ogletree.
Ogletree helped maintain his dominance of the Asian Tour and International Series rankings after closing with a fine six birdies and no bogeys 65. Unlike this week, he was the runaway winner last week at the International Series England, where he triumphed by seven.
The St Andrews Bay Championship concludes the Asian Tour’s ‘UK summer swing’. The Tour heads to Korea next for the Shinhan Donghae Open, to be played on the Ocean Course at Club72 from September 7-10 – one of 11 more events scheduled to complete the season.
IMAGE 1: Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra pictured on Sunday August 27, 2023 during Round Four of the St Andrews Bay Championship at Fairmont St Andrews.
IMAGE 2: Matt Jones pictured on Sunday August 27, 2023 during Round Four of the St Andrews Bay Championship at Fairmont St Andrews.