Chile’s Niemann wins by 6 shots at The Greenbrier

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Joaquin Niemann is going to give International Team captain Ernie Els something to think about when he makes his captain’s picks for the Presidents Cup.

Niemann became the first player from Chile to win on the PGA Tour, shooting a 6-under 64 on Sunday for a six-stroke victory in A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.

The 20-year-old Niemann entered the final round of the season opener with a two-stroke lead and held off challenges from Tom Hoge and Richy Werenski. Niemann birdied the final three holes to finish at 21-under 259 at Old White TPC, which has quickly become one of his favourite venues.

“I just never thought this moment was possible,” Niemann said. “I can’t wait to go back home and celebrate with all of my friends.”

While eight players already qualified for the International Team that will play the U.S. team in December at Royal Melbourne in Australia, Els will choose the four remaining team International members the week of Nov. 4.

“Being on the Presidents Cup is just a dream,” Niemann said. “It’s a really good team this year. There’s a lot of good players fighting for those spots. This win definitely helps.”

Niemann grew up in Santiago, Chile, won a pair of junior world titles and was the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world before turning pro in 2018. He played his first full season on tour in 2019, finishing No. 67 in the FedEx Cup standings.

In 2017, Niemann finished tied for 29th as an amateur at The Greenbrier after receiving a sponsor’s exemption. He improved to a tie for fifth in 2018.

Niemann said the resort’s dozens of amenities have steered his mind away from the pressure of golf. Among the activities he participated in before the tournament started was exploring the rugged side of West Virginia with his caddie in an off-road vehicle.

“I was just feeling like I was going to win the tournament from the first day,” he said. “I was in that mindset.”

Niemann is the first third-round leader to win at The Greenbrier since its debut in 2010. He shot 64 in the final round for the third straight year.

He told himself before the round started to go out and have fun.

“I was just trying not to think of anything else,” Niemann said. “My caddie made me laugh to try to forget about it. The last couple of holes I was feeling great.”

It marks the first year since 1931 that there has been more than one tour winner under 21. Matthew Wolff won the 3M Open in June at 20 years, 2 months.

Hoge shot 65 and finished second at 15 under. Werenski faded to a 69 and finished in a four-way tie for third at 14 under, along with Brian Harman (65), Harris English (67) and Nate Lashley (69).

Hoge fell short in another chance at an elusive first win. At the 2018 Sony Open, he lost a one-shot lead with three holes to play, finished third and missed a playoff.

Hoge birdied five of his first eight holes Sunday, then birdied the 568-yard 12th hole to temporarily join Niemann at 16 under before making bogeys on two of his next three holes.

“A couple bad shots I would like to have back, but it was a good week and good way to start the year,” Hoge said.

Niemann made a short birdie putt on the par-4 10th to forge ahead for good. He saved par from 6 feet at No. 11, made birdie putts of 9 feet at No. 12 and a curling 13-footer at No. 13 that prompted a fist pump to push his lead to four.

There would be more bursts of joy down the stretch.

“Normally I’m not too excited,” Niemann said. “I normally don’t do fist pumps. The emotions on the last couple of holes was crazy. Just making those putts on the last three holes was unbelievable. I couldn’t resist.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta confirms 28 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

There are 28 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, bringing the… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP seize guns, more than $14K in cash after curfew check

Rocky Mountain House RCMP came upon an expected seizure Wednesday. During a… Continue reading

Visitors should stay home this long weekend, say central Alberta’s resort communities

Social distancing and other virus prevention measures must override pleasure trips

Police officers who shot and killed a suspect near Bashaw cleared in review

ASIRT concluded they used “reasonable force” under the circumstances

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Red Deer businesses still serving

BY PAUL COWLEY ADVOCATE STAFF… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Leafs’ Matthews hoping to take care of ‘unfinished business’ if season resumes

Leafs’ Matthews hoping to take care of ‘unfinished business’ if season resumes

No ice, big problem: Nothing mimics skating for NHL players

No ice, big problem: Nothing mimics skating for NHL players

Oilers forward Cave remains in medically-induced coma at Toronto hospital

Oilers forward Cave remains in medically-induced coma at Toronto hospital

In abrupt about-face, UFC halts shows in face of COVID-19 pandemic

In abrupt about-face, UFC halts shows in face of COVID-19 pandemic

Saskatchewan premier doesn’t see need for Emergencies Act in COVID-19 fight

Saskatchewan premier doesn’t see need for Emergencies Act in COVID-19 fight

Most Read