Tee Time with T: Nieman breaks record at Genesis Invitational 

The group of Justin Thomas, Cameron Young and Joaquin Nieman walk up the hill to the eighteenth fairway during the third round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament. Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

With a packed field full of just about all of the top golfers on the PGA Tour, it was hard to predict who would come out on top at the Genesis Invitational. The tournament took place from Feb. 17-20 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.  

My guess throughout the weekend was that American golfer Colin Morikawa would be taking home a purse of $2,160,000 and 550 FedEx Cup points. He ended up coming in second, with 267 shots across four rounds, which was split between him and fellow American Cameron Young. This keeps Morikawa at No. 2 in the world, per Official World Golf Rankings.  

Speaking of second, the Genesis Invitational was the second PGA Tour win that Chile golfer Joaquin Niemann now has secured, finishing Sunday with a total of 265 shots on the weekend and earning $2.1 million out of the $12 million purse. Ahead by three strokes, going into the final round Niemann sat comfortable for his finish, which was a 54-hole record and was 3-under 68. He might as well have just called game right then and there, without a need to prove anything further on Sunday but extending the lead to six.   

Previously, the 54-hole record was claimed by Mike Weir of Canada, Dustin Johnson of and Justin Thomas both of whom are from America. All are honorable golfers, meaning that much more for Nieman’s win as he set the new record at 19-under 194. The most recent record, held by Johnson, was 17-under. This contributed to Niemann’s elevation to No. 20 in the world. Currently, he is No. 32 on TOUR.  

Unfortunately, Niemann was unable to break another tournament record, which was Lanny Wadkins’ 264 score. It may hurt or help this to know that Niemann missed this by a single shot, as he tallied 265. Nonetheless, still an impressive performance and an incredible weekend for the Chilean.  

Right off the tee, Niemann led the first round at 63 shots and was followed by Cameron Young, who would end up second a few days later, so this was almost a perfect indication of how the tournament would go. However, Young beat Niemann for 62 on the second round only by a shot. He sunk to 17th on the third round, but it didn’t matter considering he had already broken the record by this point and was still ahead by three. He sunk to 30 on the final round, but with such a lead, Niemann had the freedom to do so and still earn the maximum payout and points.  

I would also say that the defending champion, Max Homa of America, had a successful four rounds. Homa finished in a three-way tie for 10th place with fellow American Chez Reavie and Rory McIllroy, Northern Ireland. Homa had two eagles, one in the first and then another in the final round. He did have 10 bogeys though, which ultimately brought him down but to still come out with a top 10 win is nonetheless impressive.  

However, Jon Rahm delivered another disappointing collection of swings. The Spanish golfer continues to score below what would be expected of someone who is currently ranked as the top golfer in the world. Last week’s column addressed his lackluster showings as of late and finishing in a five-way tie for 21st place continues to solidify that this week. He attempted to save face with an eagle in the last round, but it wouldn’t be enough to cover the 10 bogeys he had.  

Hopefully Rahm can pick it up to keep his No. 1 spot for the next stop on the PGA Tour schedule, where he’ll be playing next. The Honda Classic, which takes place this upcoming weekend, starts Feb. 24 and ends on Feb. 27. Play travels east to the Champion Course at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Defending champion Matt Jones, Australia, will look to defend his title and earn a portion of the $8 million purse in his pursuit.  

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