Niemann cruises to second win in three LIV starts in 2024

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Joaquin Niemann (Photo by Montana Pritchard/LIV Golf)

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In winning for the second time this season, Joaquin Niemann believes he’s now the player to beat in the LIV Golf League.

In setting a record for biggest rally by any team in the final round, Bryson DeChambeau and his defending champion Crushers GC reminded the rest of the league they remain the foursome to beat.

Niemann shot a final-round 4-under 66 to finish at 17 under and claim a four-stroke victory Sunday at LIV Golf Jeddah. The 25-year-old captain of Torque GC also won the season opener at Mayakoba in a playoff against Sergio Garcia.

The two victories in the first three events of 2024 moved him atop the season-long Individual Championship standings and continued his sizzling play that began during the LIV Golf offseason when he won the Australian Open.

“It’s probably my best moment, the best I’ve ever played before,” Niemann said. “I just want it to keep going in the same direction.”

The Crushers, meanwhile, definitely produced their best moment of the season at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club after winning the 2023 Team Championship in Miami last October.

Starting the round with an 11-shot deficit, the Crushers shot 20 under – eight shots better than any other team – to finish at 38 under for the four-stroke victory over the Stingers. Smash GC, winners of the previous event in Las Vegas, finished third.

The previous largest rally by any winning team came last season in Adelaide when 4Aces GC won after starting the final round with a seven-stroke deficit.

DeChambeau provided his team’s lowest round with an 8-under 62, the best individual score in the field Sunday. Charles Howell III added a 64 (tying for second lowest of the day) and Anirban Lahiri’s 65 tied for the fourth lowest. Paul Casey chipped in another sub-70 round with a 69 as the Crushers moved to the top of the season-long team standings.

“It was just a top priority for us to play our best, and this obviously showed today,” said DeChambeau, who had the team’s best individual finish with a solo fourth. “Especially in these types of conditions, when it’s really windy, we do pretty well. We just hold our head high. I don’t know what else to say.”

Said Lahiri: “Shooting 20-under on any golf course is a big deal, and to do it on a course like this on such a windy day is actually, I think, one of the best Sunday team performances that you’ll see for a while.”

A pair of Stinger GC players, captain Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, tied for second individually behind Niemann. It was Schwartzel’s best LIV Golf finish since winning the inaugural London event in the 2022 beta-test season, while Oosthuizen equaled his best result as a LIV golfer.

Their results helped to offset any disappointment from the team perspective, as the South African squad held a 10-shot lead at one point early Sunday before the Crushers stormed past them.

“I think a good team score today, I would have said would probably be 10 [under],” Oosthuizen said. “To shoot 20 under like they did, there’s not much you can do against that.”

Right now, there’s not much the rest of the league can seem to do against Niemann. He’ll enter next week’s LIV Golf Hong Kong full of confidence.

“I want to feel, and I want to think I’m the best all the time,” he said. “I think that’s the only way to be confident and play good golf.”

Wild Card player Anthony Kim, making his return to professional golf this week after a nearly 12-year retirement, carded his best score of the week on Sunday with a 4-over 74.

Kim, who opened with a pair of 76s in the first two rounds, finished at 16 over for the week, the highest score among the 53 players who completed all three rounds.

While the rust was evident, Kim said he has plenty to build on as he prepares for his next start at LIV Golf Hong Kong.

“I’m very encouraged,” Kim said. “I’m excited about what’s coming. My game is starting to shape up. I’m doing things that I used to do before. I’m just looking forward to a great year.”

Kim’s final two rounds resembled each other – tough starts followed by an extended stretch of improved play. On Saturday, he was 6 over on his first seven holes before parring his last 11 holes. On Sunday, he was 4 over on his first seven holes before playing the next 10 holes in 1 under.

“I definitely played a lot better than the score actually showed,” Kim said. “I felt more comfortable today than I did the first two days. I shot 4-over par, but it could have been an under-par round if I had just cleaned up a few things.

“Unfortunately, it’s still taking me a couple holes to get comfortable. I think most of my over-par scores are the first six holes. If I can just figure a way to get my mind right before I get out there, I think I’ll be in great shape.”


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