Joaquin Niemann didn’t break Lanny Wadkins’ record, but he did win the Genesis Invitational on Sunday at Riviera Country Club for his second career PGA Tour victory. Here’s everything you need to know from the final round in Pacific Palisades, California:
Leaderboard: Joaquin Niemann (-19), Collin Morikawa (-17), Cameron Young (-17), Viktor Hovland (-14), Adam Scott (-14)
How it happened: As he stood on the 18th green Sunday evening, Niemann summed things up perfectly. “This weekend, it felt like a month,” he said. He had stormed out to a record-breaking 36-hole lead after back-to-back 63s and then set a new 54-hole tournament record at 19 under, taking a three-shot advantage over Young into Sunday’s final round. After a chip-in eagle at the par-5 11th hole, that cushion on the field had stretched to six.
But after back-to-back bogeys, at Nos. 14 and 15 (the latter came on a brutal lip-out from 5 feet), Niemann found himself just two shots clear of Young, who chipped in for birdie at No. 15. Morikawa also made a charge up ahead with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 to pull within two. However, both threats quickly ended. Young found thee front bunker at the par-3 16th and made bogey while Morikawa’s 10-footer for birdie at the par-4 18th hole just missed. Three easy pars to finish and a closing even-par 71 were good enough for Niemann.
What it means: Niemann now holds two scoring records at the Genesis, but he couldn’t quite end what is the longest-standing 72-hole record on Tour – Wadkins’ 20-under winning total in relation to par from the 1985 event at Riviera. Niemann, who at age 23 is more than 13 years younger than Wadkins’ record, had gotten it as low as 21 under a day earlier. However, as consolation, he became just the fourth wire-to-wire winner in tournament history and the first since Charlie Sifford in 1969. Niemann’s second Tour win comes a few years after his first, at the 2019 Greenbrier, which he won by six shots.
Round of the day: Morikawa began the day eight shots back before putting together a 6-under 65, highlighted by a hole-out eagle at the par-4 10th hole and five other birdies, and finishing two shots behind Niemann.
Shot of the day: Niemann’s chip-in eagle at No. 11 was great and all, but this hole-out eagle by Morikawa on No. 10 was just a little better.
Biggest disappointment: Justin Thomas. Five shots off the lead at the start of the round, Thomas made just one birdie after a birdie at the easy par-5 opening hole.
Winning quote: "I think it's one of those courses that you do everything right – you have to hit it good off the tee, you have to hit your irons pretty good and you've got to putt unbelievable, especially on these type of greens because they're so fast. Yeah, I think obviously the first two days are different than the weekend. I was more surprised by myself or how good I handled myself, my attitude on the course during the weekend. I know I didn't play my best golf like I did the first two days, but I was impressed the way I handled. And, yeah, looking back, I think a couple tournaments ago that I didn't win, I think my attitude wasn't the same as this here, so I think that is one big change." – Niemann