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NIEMANN BECOMES FIRST PLAYER FROM CHILE TO BREAK INTO TOP 20

Joaquinn Niemann closed with an even-par 71 to become the first wire-to-wire winner of The Genesis Invitational in 53 years and the first player from Chile to break into the World Top 20.

JC Ritchie successfully defended his Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open title after holing a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole for a one-stroke victory at Royal Cape Golf Club moving from World No. 288 to 196.

Korean Byeong Hun An emerged from the 2022 LECOM Suncoast Classic with his first TOUR-sanctioned victory and first worldwide win since 2015.

21ST FEBRUARY 2022 | 09:00 AM
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PGA Tour - The Genesis Invitational

Joaquinn Niemann closed with an even-par 71 to become the first wire-to-wire winner of The Genesis Invitational in 53 years and the first player from Chile to break into the World Top 20.

Staked to a three-shot lead, Niemann's margin was down to one when he made a 7-foot birdie on the eighth hole and PGA TOUR rookie Cameron Young sailed the green and made bogey.

The 23-year-old from Chile chipped in for eagle on the par-5 11th to stretch his lead to five, and he held on for a two-shot victory over Open champion Collin Morikawa (65) and Young, whose last hopes ended with a bogey from the bunker on the 16th. Young shot 70.

About the only thing Niemann missed was a chance to break the longest active tournament scoring record on the PGA TOUR. With two bogeys on the back nine, Niemann finished at 19-under 265, one short of the score Lanny Watkins had in 1985.

Morikawa holed an eagle chip on the infamous and reachable 10th hole that one-hopped into the cup, and two late birdies gave him a chance. But he missed a 10-footer on the 18th in his bid to win and reach No. 1 in the world.

Young, making only his 12th career TOUR start, was a runner-up for the second time this season. He also tied for second in Mississippi. Given the prestige of the tournament hosted by Tiger Woods, Young earned $1,068,000 for his tie for second. The purse was $12 million.

As for Niemann, Riviera hasn't had a 23-year-old winner since Phil Rodgers in 1962, the tournament best known for Jack Nicklaus making his pro debut. Nicklaus tied for 50th and earned $33.33 that year.

Sunshine and Challenge Tour - Bain's Whisky Cape Town Open

JC Ritchie successfully defended his Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open title after holing a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole for a one-stroke victory at Royal Cape Golf Club moving from World No. 288 to 196.

The South African, who defeated countryman Jacques Blaauw in a play-off last year, retained his crown by posting a four under par round of 68 to reach 18 under par, one clear of Belgium’s Christopher Mivis, who raced through the field on the final day to set the target at 17 under par.

It was Ritchie, however, who prevailed by responding to back-to-back dropped shots at the 13th and 14th with birdies at the 16th and 18th.

“Words can’t describe this feeling, it’s awesome,” he said. “For how I felt on the golf course the last two days and to come out on top, it means everything to me.

“I didn’t feel great. I wasn’t hitting the ball my best up until about Friday, when I felt unbelievable about my game. Then on Saturday, the wind threw me off a little, made a couple of bad shots and started feeling uncomfortable. I went and did some important work yesterday and I managed to hit the important shots well and managed to give myself a chance down 18.

Korn Ferry Tour - LECOM Suncoast Classic

Byeong Hun An emerged from the 2022 LECOM Suncoast Classic with his first TOUR-sanctioned victory and first worldwide win since 2015. An followed Saturday’s 4-under 67 with a 2-under 69 in Sunday’s final round, taking him to 17-under par for the week and securing a one-stroke victory over four different players at T2.

“It was a long day,” An said. “I was grinding all day. Last hole was a bit unlucky, lucky and unlucky at the same time, but I got the job done and that’s what you need to do. I missed a lot of putts today, but grinded it out and just did enough to win out there.

“I finally realized I don’t need to play four days of perfect golf. I had a mediocre day yesterday and today and still got away with this. It gives me a lot of confidence.”

An was one of several players who held at least a share of the lead in the final round, but a 55-footer for birdie at the par-4 16th, the toughest hole Sunday on Lakewood National Golf Club’s Commander course, gave An a two-stroke advantage over a host of chasers.

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