Niemann wins Australian Open after sudden death play-off

Chile’s Joaquin Niemann struck another blow for LIV Golf after beating Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino in a play-off to win the Australian Open in Sydney.

The pair finished level on 14-under-par after 72 holes and both birdied the 18th at The Australian Golf Club to send the sudden-death play-off to a second hole.

Starting the final day four shots behind co-leaders Min Woo Lee and Hoshino, Niemann stormed home with a final round 66 to join the latter at the top of the leaderboard after Lee slipped to a closing 73.

Both players made birdie on the first play-off hole, with Hoshino getting up and down from a greenside bunker on the 18th hole, before Niemann saw an eagle putt from five feet slide past. He then bettered Hoshino’s birdie with an eagle to claim his first victory since he won the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational in February 2022.

After finishing fifth in last week’s Australian PGA Championship, the win for Niemann is his first on the DP World Tour and sees him become just the second Chilean to do so after Felipe Aguilar.

“It’s amazing! These last two play-off holes showed how I have been playing the last few weeks here in Australia,” he said. “My putting hasn’t been the best, but I’ve been working hard on it and it was nice to make that last putt. I always practise those three, four, five-feet ones and know that one of those will be to win a tournament.”

Niemann, who has seen his world ranking drop from a career high 15th to 87th following his switch to the LIV Golf League in August last year, also earned exemption to next year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon along with the two other top finishers not otherwise qualified – Rikuya Hoshino and Adam Scott.