Chile’s rising star Niemann wins first PGA Tour event

Chile’s Joaquin Niemann finished with a 21-under par total of 259, six shots ahead of American Tom Hoge, who shot a 65. (AFP pic)

LOS ANGELES: Joaquin Niemann fired a closing round of 64 on Sunday to capture The Greenbrier by six strokes and become the first Chilean to win on the US PGA Tour.

The 20-year-old Niemann roared home with three straight birdies on his final three holes, capping it off with a 25-foot bomb on 18 at the Old White TPC course in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Niemann finished with a 21-under par total of 259, six shots ahead of American Tom Hoge, who shot a 65.

Brian Harman, Harris English, Nate Lashley and Richy Werenski finished in a tie for third at 14-under.

The tournament moved from its traditional spot in July to September to kick off the fall schedule for the 2019-20 PGA season.

Niemann started quickly on his back nine, rolling in three birdies on his first four holes and then posting three more on 16, 17 and the par-three 18.

He is the youngest international winner on the Tour since 1923 and the first third-round leader to hold on and claim this event.

The win also earned him spots in the 2020 Masters and the PGA Championship.

Niemann recorded his first win in his 44th start on the PGA Tour.

He had a stellar amateur career, winning the 2018 Latin America Amateur Championships, and was the top-ranked amateur from May 2017 to April 2018.

His nine career top-10 PGA finishes, including two ties for fifth last season.

Defending champion Kevin Na shot back-to-back 68s on Saturday and Sunday and finished in a tie for 14th.

Kevin Chappell, whose second-round 59 on Friday was just the 11th sub-60 round ever produced on the PGA Tour, stumbled to the finish with final rounds of 73 and 72.