Friday, March 1, 2024

LIV Golf League: Joaquin Niemann four ahead in Mayakoba with Jon Rahm, Dean Burmester chasing -Dlight News

Joaquin Niemann takes a four-shot lead into the final round of the LIV Golf League’s season opener in Mayakoka, with Masters champion Jon Rahm in contention on debut.

Niemann followed a stunning opening-round 59 with a one-under 70 on Saturday in windy conditions at El Camaleon, mixing four birdies with three bogeys to move to 13 under.

The Chilean recovered from bogeying the second hole to make three birdies in a five-hole stretch, then responded to dropped shots at the par-three 10th and par-four 14th to birdie the par-three 15th.

Captain Joaqu..n Niemann of Torque GC speaks to the media during a press conference after the second round of the LIV Golf Mayakoba at the El Camale..n Golf Course on Saturday, February 03, 2024 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Photo by Charles Laberge/LIV Golf via AP)
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Joaquin Niemann is looking for his first worldwide victory since he won the Australian Open in December

Niemann holds a commanding advantage over Rahm and Dean Burmester, who share second on nine under, with Sergio Garcia a further two shots back in fourth and reigning PGA champion Brooks Koepka among the group in tied-fifth on five under.

“The course was playing a lot tougher,” Niemann said. “That wind was tricky. It never stopped since the first tee. I knew it was going to be a tough day. I got a few bad holes where I was able to kind of bring it back, but overall I’m still happy the way I played and the way I’m still hitting the ball.”

Burmester – already a two-time winner on the DP World Tour this season – started and finished his round with bogeys but registered seven birdies in an five-under 66, with Rahm also within four of the lead after a second-round 67.

Rahm, who only joined the Saudi-backed circuit in December and captains the new Legion XIII team, also recovered from an early bogey to make five birdies and stay in the hunt to make a winning start to his LIV Golf career.

“Fantastic day on a much tougher golf course,” Rahm said. “Much tougher conditions, a lot windier, where in a place with fairways this narrow I managed to keep it in. I played really well tee to green and it was a great day.”

Captain Jon Rahm of Legion XIII GC plays a shot on the driving range during the second round of the LIV Golf Mayakoba at the El Camale..n Golf Course on Saturday, February 03, 2024 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via AP)
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Rahm is making his first appearance in the LIV Golf League since joining in the off-season

Niemann’s Torque GC team sits at 15 under and owns a five-shot lead over Rahm’s Legion XIII in the team contest, with Smash GC – captained by Koepka – in third spot on nine under.

The three best scores from each team count in the first two rounds while all four scores count in the final round. The team with the lowest cumulative score after three rounds wins the team title.

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