LIV Golfer Joaquin Niemann Guarantees Major Start After Claiming Australian Open In Dramatic Fashion

The Chilean secured one of three spots at the 152nd Open Championship after winning the Australian Open via a playoff

Joaquin Niemann smiles at the camera while holding up his 2023 Australian Open trophy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Joaquin Niemann locked up his spot at the 152nd Open Championship courtesy of a thrilling playoff win over Rikuya Hoshino at the Australian Open.

The LIV Golfer was not assured of a place at Royal Troon next July pre-tournament, but a stunning fightback on the final day saw Niemann recover from four shots back to set the clubhouse lead before he ultimately went on to claim victory at the second extra hole.

Having started Sunday on nine-under and comfortably adrift of co-leader Hoshino, the Chilean registered the joint-second lowest round of the day - bested only by Spaniard Angel Ayora (65) - to end on 14-under and pile pressure on those coming in.

While no one managed to surpass Niemann at the top, Hoshino battled his way to a round of 70 to move alongside and force a playoff at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

Both players birdied the gettable par-five 18th after Niemann missed with a close-range eagle putt, but the 25-year-old made no mistake on the second run from slightly further out as Hoshino once again carded a four.

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Speaking post-round, Niemann said: "It was a nice day. These last two playoff holes showed how I have been playing the last few weeks here in Australia.

"My putting hasn't been the best, but I've been working hard on it and it was nice to make that last putt. I always practise those three, four, five-feet ones and know that one of those will be to win a tournament. It's amazing."

Niemann's first DP World Tour success ensured that LIV Golfers have won both of the first two Open Qualifying Series events of 2024, following Dean Burmester's victory in South Africa last week.

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Home favourite Min Woo Lee narrowly missed out on becoming the seventh player in history to win both the Australian PGA Championship and the Australian Open back-to-back as he finished third on 12-under, days after his entertaining victory at Royal Queensland GC.

Consolation for Hoshino - after his second runner-up finish in as many weeks - arrived in the form of a place at The Open next July, while Adam Scott usurped Englishman Laurie Canter and Scotland's Grant Forrest to the final qualifying place as a result of his superior OWGR position.

All three players ended in a tie for fourth on 11-under, although Scott will feel aggrieved at not ending his four-year title drought after a costly triple-bogey on number seven.

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It was a tough day elsewhere for the Lee family, too, as Min Woo's sister Minjee Lee came up short in the women's event. South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai claimed victory by a single shot to successfully defend her title ahead of the Australian.

Meanwhile, Lachlan Wood won the G4D Tour’s season-opening Australian All Abilities Championship on Saturday.

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.