Joaquin Niemann Sets Another Record; Leads Genesis Invitational

PACIFIC PALISADES (CNS) – Chilean Joaquin Niemann holds a three-shot lead over rookie Cameron Young entering today’s final round of the $12 million Genesis Invitational after setting another tournament record.

Niemann shot a three-under 68 Saturday at The Riviera Country Club to set the 54-hole record of 194, breaking the previous record of 196 set by Mike Weir in 2004 and matched by Dustin Johnson in 2017 and Justin Thomas in 2019.

Niemann began the third round with a two-shot lead over Young, then increased it to three when he birdied the 503-yard par-5 first hole. However, Niemann’s bogey on the second hole and Young’s birdie on the third cut the lead to one shot.

Niemann regained a two-shot lead with a birdie on the par-4 fifth hole. Back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth holes gave him a four-shot lead.

Young cut the lead to three shots with a birdie on the ninth hole. Young also birdied the 10th hole, but Niemann increased his lead to four shots by sinking a 22-foot, 2-inch putt for an eagle, following a 290-yard drive on the par-4 315-yard hole, the second shortest par 4 so far this season on the PGA Tour.

The eagle dropped Niemann to 21-under, surpassing the lowest winning score relative to par in the history of the tournament, a 20-under by Lanny Wadkins in 1985. The tournament has been played annually since 1926, except for 1943, and at The Riviera Country Club each year since 1973 except for 1983 and 1998.

Niemann’s lead shrunk to two shots after he bogeyed the 12th and 15th holes, while Young, who was playing in the same group, parred four consecutive holes. Young fell four shots back when he double-bogeyed the par-3 16th.

Young put his drive into the right front greenside bunker and his second shot into the front center greenside bunker. He missed an 8-foot, 9-inch putt that would have salvaged a bogey, then tapped in a 2-foot, 5-inch putt for the double-bogey.

Young again pulled to three shots back with a 2-foot, 8-inch putt for a birdie on the par-5 17th after his 244-yard second shot put him 44-feet, 3- inches from the hole.

Young parred the 18th hole to complete his round at 2-under 69.

Niemann parred each of the final three holes.

“I’m having the best time of my life right now,” Niemann said. “I just try to keep it calm, but yeah, I’m enjoying it a lot and I just can’t wait to have a good day tomorrow.”

Niemann set the tournament’s 36-hole record of 126 thanks to consecutive rounds of 8-under 63. He had tied the tournament record for the lowest first-round score.

Viktor Hovland of Denmark is third, six shots off the lead after equaling the day’s low round, a 6-under 65. Hovland was among three golfers tied for seventh, nine shots off the lead, entering the round. Niemann is seeking to be the tournament’s fourth wire-to-wire winner and first since Charlie Sifford in 1969 and the first wire-to-wire winner of any PGA Tour event since Nick Taylor won the 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Niemann is also seeking his second victory in his 101 starts on the PGA Tour, joining the 2019 A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.

The third-round scoring average of 69.28 strokes was the lowest in a round at The Genesis Invitational. PGA Tour records are available dating back to 1984.

The winner will receive $2.16 million. Young expressed optimism Saturday about his chances of recording his first victory in his 12 PGA Tour starts.

“I’ve only got one guy ahead of me,” said Young, whose best finish on the PGA Tour is a tie for second at the 2021 Sanderson Farms Championship. “He’s a great player and I know he’s playing really well, but you just never know what can happen.

“Tomorrow, that three shots can be gone in a hole and three shots can go the other way in a hole, so we’ll just have to see.”

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