WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — For the third consecutive year, Joaquin Niemann carded a 64 on Sunday at the Old White TPC Course.
This year, the final round 6-under par was plenty good enough for Niemann, 20, to win A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.
At 21-under par, Niemann became the first Chile native to win on the PGA Tour and now holds the largest margin of victory at six shots in the tournament’s nine-year history.
“I’m really happy to get the trophy for my family, my coach and everyone back in Chile,” Niemann said. “It’s unbelievable. It couldn’t get any better.”
Niemann’s final round included eight birdies and a pair of bogeys, but he didn’t pull away until the back nine to claim the $1,350,000 top prize.
Niemann stepped to the 10th tee box at 15-under and was tied atop the leaderboard with Tom Hoge. His second shot at the 10th was inside of 4 feet and set up a birdie that allowed him to regain the solo lead.
On No. 11, Niemann got up and down for par from 40 yards out to remain on top.
Niemann made birdie putts from 9 and 13 feet, respectively, on the 12th and 13th holes to begin to pull away for his first PGA Tour victory.
“From the beginning of the week, I played with a lot of confidence,” Niemann said. “Coming off three weeks off, I felt fresh. I was playing really well and practiced a lot with my coach in the offseason.
“My game was feeling great and mentally it was awesome. I was feeling like I was going to win this tournament since the first day. I was in a really good mindset.”
Niemann responded to a bogey on the par-3 15th by finishing his round with three straight birdies, including one from 10 feet on No. 16 that all but sealed the verdict.
“I love this place and I’ve played really good golf here,” Niemann said. “I’m going to be here a couple more times.”
After an opening round 65, Niemann fired a 62 in Friday’s second round that left him tied with Scottie Scheffler and Robby Shelton atop the leaderboard.
With Old White playing tougher on Saturday, Niemann managed a third-round 68 to take a two-shot lead into Sunday.
He began his final round with four consecutive pars before making a birdie putt from just inside 8 feet on No. 5.
Niemann played his final four holes on the front nine at even par, making a birdie on the par-3 8th, but giving it back with a bogey on No. 9.
At that point, Hoge was right in the mix having played the front nine in 4-under par, while making birdie on five of his first eight holes.
Hoge responded to his lone hiccup on the front — a bogey at the 9th — with a birdie on No. 10. He birdied the par-5 12th to get to 16-under for the tournament, but bogeys on the 13th and 15th holes allowed Niemann to create more separation.
Hoge did make an important birdie on the par-5 17th that allowed him to finish -15 and in solo second place.
“Today I hit a lot of shots close right off the start and had some good momentum going,” Hoge said. “Just a couple bad shots I would like to have back, but it was a good week and good way to start the year.”
At 14-under par, Brian Harman, Harris English, Nate Lashley and Richy Werenski tied for third.
Werenski couldn’t convert a birdie putt from inside 6 feet on No. 17 and made bogey on the par-3 18th to give Hoge the second-place finish.
“I putted pretty well all week, but today I didn’t,” Werenski said. “The greens got really fast, kind of baked out. Just really couldn’t get the speed.”
Scheffler, Shelton and Sebastian Munoz finished in a three-way tie for seventh at -13.
Viktor Hovland, who tied Niemann for Sunday’s low round, tied with Matt Jones and Mark Hubbard for 10th place at -12.
Niemann was the top-ranked amateur in the world from May 2017-April 2018 and finished tied for 29th during that time in his first appearance at Old White.
Last year, Niemann tied for fifth at The Greenbrier thanks in large part to an opening-round 63 and the closing 64.
The win increases his chances of being one of Ernie Els’ four captain’s picks for the International Team at this year’s Presidents Cup.
“Being on the Presidents Cup team is a dream,” Niemann said. “It’s a really good team this year and I know there are a lot of good players fighting for the four spots. It’s going to be tough, but this win helps to get a spot.
“I have to be patient and I have a couple more tournaments to hopefully play good golf and get on that team.”