Niemann wins LIV Golf event in Saudi Arabia

Joaquín Niemann takes off his cap after sinking his putt on the 18th hole during Sunday’s final round of the LIV Golf Jeddah event in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (LIV Golf via the Associated Press)
Joaquín Niemann takes off his cap after sinking his putt on the 18th hole during Sunday’s final round of the LIV Golf Jeddah event in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (LIV Golf via the Associated Press)

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia -- Joaquín Niemann won his second LIV Golf title in three starts Sunday, closing with a 4-under 66 at LIV Golf Jeddah for a four-shot victory ahead of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

Niemann now has three wins in the last three months, starting with the Australian Open victory in December that allowed him to rejoin the European tour and eventually put him on the path toward getting invited to the Masters.

Niemann started his third season on the Saudi-funded league by opening with a 59 at Mayakoba and winning in a playoff against Sergio Garcia. Now he soars to the top of the points list with another win ahead of next week’s LIV event in Hong Kong.

“We’ve got another week to come,” Niemann said. “I told myself I can win these three weeks I’m playing. So next week and see what happens.”

He finished third in an Asian Tour event in Oman last week.

No one got closer than two shots of Niemann in the final round at Royal Greens. Oosthuizen was the last challenger until a bogey on the 16th hole. He shot 67, while Schwartzel had a 68.

Niemann also took a dig at the world ranking in his interview with LIV’s broadcast team. He was asked if he was one of the leading favorites to win a major this year.

“How is that possible? I’m like 100 in the world,” Niemann said with a grin.

Niemann is No. 72 in the world. The Official World Golf Ranking, in a vote cast by the organizations that run the majors, chose not to award LIV ranking points because of the small field (54 players) that functions as a closed shop with no qualifying.

Anthony Kim, who had gone 12 years without competitive golf until signing a deal with LIV Golf this week, had a 74 and finished his week in last place, 33 shots out of the lead. He made two birdies Sunday, giving him four birdies for the week.

Kim’s deal allows him to play the rest of LIV’s events this year without being attached to a team.

Crushers won the team event Sunday.

Niemann finished at 17-under 193 and earned $4 million, giving him $8,162,000 in three LIV events this year.

The Masters gave Niemann an invitation based on his Australian Open victory, along with two other top-5 performances in European tour events. The Australian Open win gets him into the British Open and his performance is likely to earn him a spot in the PGA Championship.

He would have to qualify for the U.S. Open, unless he were to win the Masters. The 25-year-old Chilean is getting plenty of attention with his two victories this year.

“I’m more than happy about the way I’m playing,” Niemann said. “I just want to keep on the same path. I’m pretty proud of the way I played all week.”

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