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Joaquin Niemann impresses in wire-to-wire triumph at Genesis Invitational

A Genesis Invitational event that began with a first-shot salute to Charlie Sifford finished with a 23-year-old increasing star from Chile matching a uncommon feat past completed by the trailblazing Sifford far more than 5 many years back.

Joaquin Niemann sank his mitts deep into the legendary Riviera Region Club course on Thursday and did not enable go, taking pictures an even-par 71 on Sunday to fend off the late-charging Collin Morikawa and the pesky Cameron Younger and develop into the 1st wire-to-wire winner at Riviera considering the fact that Sifford in 1969.

With followers packing the all-natural amphitheater green on the 18th hole, Niemann tapped in for par for a two-shot victory around Morikawa, the La Cañada Flintridge native and 2nd-ranked golfer in the globe, and Young, a rookie vying for his initial PGA earn.

Niemann, who acquired $2.16 million with his next vocation PGA Tour victory, pumped his ideal fist, hugged his caddie and hurled his ball into the crowd, the seem on his experience a combination of pleasure and relief.

“When I completed, it was like, ‘Hell yeah, it took for good, we’re lastly carried out and I can have a smile on my face and just believe about it like it was a fun day,’ ” mentioned Niemann, whose 19-under-par rating of 265 was a person limited of Lanny Wadkins’ study course report 264 in 1985. “Oh my God, this weekend took forever. It felt like a thirty day period.”

The pressure on Niemann, the wiry 6-foot, 154-pounder with a slight bow-legged gait, to defend a big direct was self-induced, thanks to his 3-day assault on Riviera.

The event opened Thursday early morning with Sacramento State golfer Aaron Beverly, actively playing on the Charlie Sifford exemption supplied on a yearly basis to a golfer with a minority track record, driving off the initially tee, which was modified to No. 100 to honor Sifford, who would have turned 100 on June 2.

The first-tee starter was Tiger Woods, the 15-time significant champion who was mentored by Sifford, who in 1967 grew to become the very first African-American to perform on the PGA Tour. “He was the grandpa I hardly ever experienced,” Woods explained.

Genesis Invitational winner Joaquin Niemann, suitable, shares a giggle with event host Tiger Woods throughout the match trophy presentation at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades on Sunday.

(Gina Ferazzi / VFAB)

From that level on, the tournament belonged to Niemann, who shot 8-under-par rounds of 63 on Thursday and Friday and a 3-beneath-par 68 on Saturday to established a 54-gap Riviera scoring report and acquire a a few-shot lead about Younger into Sunday’s remaining spherical.

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That cushion dwindled to one particular when Young, who missed birdie putts of 7 feet on No. 3 and 10 ft on No. 5, built par on the 412-yard, par-four seventh to keep at 17 less than and Niemann two-putted for bogey to tumble to 18 beneath.

But the momentum shifted again to Niemann on the 436-property, par-4 eighth, exactly where Young’s tactic strike the business environmentally friendly 12 feet in front of the pin and bounced previous the gap and off the green, some 50 toes away. Younger chipped to in just 21 toes and two-putted for a bogey to drop to 16 under.

Niemann hit a organization driver 333 yards into the fairway, a gorgeous solution to within seven feet of the pin and nailed his putt for birdie to go to 19-beneath.

“I feel No. 8 was large,” Niemann stated. “After bogeying No. 7, I realized I wanted to hit a very good driver on No. 8 simply because it’s not an simple tee shot. I experienced been hitting my wedges so great this 7 days that I knew if I hit in the fairway, I had a good possibility to make birdie. I strike a excellent shot … and I realized it was my opportunity to arrive back again a minor stronger.”

Joaquin Niemann hits out of the rough on the 15th hole during the final round of the Genesis Invitational.

Joaquin Niemann hits out of the tough on the 15th gap during the final spherical of the Genesis Invitational.

(Gina Ferazzi / VFAB)

There were a lot more nervous times on the back again nine. Niemann acquired some respiratory home when he chipped in from 46 feet for an eagle on No. 11 to go to 21 under and open a 5-shot lead with 7 holes to go. But bogeys on No. 14 and No. 15 dropped him again to 19 below.

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Younger, just after blasting out of a fairway bunker on No. 15, then holed a spinning 130-property pitch that bounced a few moments on the environmentally friendly in advance of generating a brief proper switch into the cup to go to 17 below. But Young strike into a greenside bunker on No. 16 and skipped a 13-foot putt for par, the bogey dropping him to 16 less than.

“It held me in it,” Younger said of his long shot on No. 15. “You’re staring bogey in the deal with and to go to the following hole only two back again, which is a possibility with 3 to enjoy. And then I shanked just one in the bunker.”

Morikawa posed as significant a danger to Niemann as Younger. Eight strokes back again by means of six holes, Morikawa went on a tear, holing a 50-foot chip from the rough for birdie on No. 7, draining a 17-foot putt for birdie on No. 9 and holing a 90-foot wedge from the fairway for an eagle on No. 10 to go to 15 beneath.

Morikawa drained a 15-foot putt for birdie on No. 16 to go to 16 under and a seven-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to go to 17 below, but he just missed a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have pulled him to in a single stroke of the guide.

Niemann crushed his 319-lawn travel down the middle of the 18th fairway, hit a pitching wedge to the environmentally friendly, 27 toes absent from the gap, and two-putted for the get, with Woods, who served as match host, handing him with the trophy. Niemann is the next-youngest winner in Riviera background powering 21-year-aged Harry Cooper in 1926.

“It’s the hardest event, I believe, throughout the yr,” Niemann reported. “It’s got the very best field, the finest gamers are here, and that proves to myself that I can be competing with the top fellas. I consider it is heading to give me a lot of self esteem for what is coming upcoming.”



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