Joaquim Neimann made a birdie on the fourth extra hole in near darkness to win the play-off and claim his first LIV Golf title
Niemann wins play-off to secure first LIV Golf title
Joaquin Niemann won the first event of LIV Golf’s third season with a play-off victory over Sergio Garcia at Mayakoba in Mexico.
The day ended far better than it had started, with the Chilean’s four-stroke lead having been halved to just two after he was judged by rules officials to have made an incorrect drop during the second round. Penalised two shots, he suddenly found the chasing pack far closer than he would have liked.
But the Torque GC captain – who opened the tournament with a 12-under 59 on Friday – overcame the setback, shooting a 1-under 70 to finish at 12 under to match Garcia, who shot a final-round 66 to make his second LIV Golf playoff. Last year in Singapore, he lost in a playoff to Talor Gooch.
Niemann and Garcia exchanged pars for the first three playoff holes. In the fading light and with the gallery chanting for one more hole, both players agreed to continue. Garcia’s approach shot on the fourth playoff hole found a small patch of rough near the greenside bunker while Niemann’s finished on the fringe. He buried the putt as the nearby scoreboard provided light
“DINNER WILL TASTE BETTER THAN BREAKFAST!”
“The last putt, which it was super dark, I think it probably helped me just not being so picky on picking my spot and just looking at the hole, getting a feeling and just get it there,” said the 25-year-old Niemann. “It was the best way to end it up. I wanted to make a putt on the last one to win.”
“I’m pretty happy that the day ended this way, especially how the morning started,” Neimann said. “I think dinner is going to taste a little bit better than breakfast.”
Meanwhile, Jon Rahm bogeyed his final two holes to miss the playoff, but his new Legion XIII team captured the team trophy in an impressive LIV Golf debut, earning the title by four shots over defending Mayakoba champions Crushers GC in the first regular-season Sunday in which every score counted for each team. Legion XIII shot a cumulative score of 14 under on Sunday, best of any team.
“It’s very nice in a day in which in any normal tournament I probably would have been upset at my finish to actually have something to celebrate,” said Rahm, who finished at 10 under to share third place with Dean Burmester. “That is one of the big reasons why I decided to transition [join Liv Golf].”
Fellow LIV Golf debutant Tyrrell Hatton contributed Legion XIII’s lowest score, a 7-under 64 which was the low round in the field on Sunday. Kieran Vincent added a 69, but the most impressive performance may have been from 19-year-old Caleb Surratt, making his professional debut this week. After suffering a four-putt triple bogey at the par-4 17th, Surratt reeled off five consecutive birdies to end his round with a 4-under 67. Those five birdies were vital for Legion XIII to hold off the hard-charging Crushers down the stretch.
“I told myself after that triple that I’m not going to be shaken from anything that happens,” said Surratt, who only recently moved out of his dorm room at the University of Tennessee. “I put my head down and played.”
TOP 3 TEAM POSITIONS AND FINAL ROUND SCORES
LEGION XIII -24 (Hatton 64, Surratt 67, Vincent 69, Rahm 70; Rd. 3 score -14)