Joaquin Niemann Survives Late Scare To Secure Riviera Title

The 23-year-old held off PGA Tour rookie, Cameron Young, to secure the biggest title of his career at the Genesis Invitational

Niemann and Woods
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After a chip-in eagle at the 11th, it seemed that Joaquin Niemann was going to cruise to his second PGA Tour title, especially as his five-shot lead remained intact with five holes remaining.

Despite a bogey at the 14th, the 23-year-old still remained four ahead with four to play. However, a stunning hole-out birdie for Cameron Young was met with a bogey from Niemann, with his lead reducing by three shots in just two holes.

However, following a solid run of pars to close out his round, the Chilean would get his hands on the trophy, with his level-par final round and 19-under-par tournament total good enough for a two-shot win over Collin Morikawa and Young.

Speaking after his round, Niemann said: "This is the toughest tournament I think during the year. It's got the best field, the best players are here and that proves myself that I can be competing with the top guys. I can be up there in the world ranking. I think it's going to give me a lot of confidence for what is coming next.

"It was awesome having Tiger there. I haven't seen him since probably a year. Everybody knew what happened here one year ago, which was pretty sad. Being able to see him doing as well as he's doing is awesome. He's one of my idols. I always watched him on TV and I still do. Having Tiger on site receiving the trophy is something special."

Going into the final round, it had already been a historic week for Niemann, whose 19-under-par tournament total had set the 54-hole scoring record at the Genesis Invitational. 

Beginning with a three-shot advantage though, the Chilean soon saw the margin cut to one by the 8th hole, with his nearest challenger, Young, sat at one-under and Niemann at one-over.

However, at the par 4 8th, the 23-year-old would find his first birdie of the day. What's more, is that his opponent, Young, would bogey, restoring his three-shot margin that he began with at the start of the final round.

Following a run of pars, it seemed that the Niemann's name was ready to be printed on the trophy, as a chip-in eagle put him five shots clear of his nearest rival. But drama was to follow, as back-to-back bogies at the 14th and 15th were punished by Young, who produced a brilliant pitch at the 15th for an unlikely birdie.

Niemann chips

Niemann's last victory came at the 2019 A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Niemann though remained strong, with three consecutive pars to close out his round enough for a two-shot victory and the biggest title of his young career.

Receiving the trophy from tournament host, Tiger Woods, Niemann became the second youngest winner of the event and also pocketed a cool $2.16 million for his efforts.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x