A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier

A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier

A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Winner: Joaquin Niemann

When that final putt dropped in West Virginia, they started partying in Chile. Joaquin Niemann, a mere 20, became the first golfer from Chile to win on the PGA Tour, rolling to a six-stroke victory in A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, a resort in the West Virginia mountains. “I just never thought this moment was possible,” said Niemann. “I can’t wait to go back home and celebrate with all my friends.”

But Niemann’s six-shot cushion was hard-won, built on the final back stretch. His card of 65-62-68-64–259, 21 under par on Old White TPC, was deceptive.

Niemann had convinced himself that this was his tournament. In his first visit in 2017, as an amateur on a sponsor’s exemption, he tied for 29th. In 2018, as a pro, he leaped up to a tie for fifth. So… “I was just feeling like I was going to win the tournament from the first day,” he said. The Greenbrier was greeted by 21 tour rookies and other Korn Ferry Tour graduates. “I’m fired up,” said Robby Shelton, who won two Korn Ferry events earlier. “I’ve been waiting for this moment all season.” He broke from the gate to the first-round lead on an eight-under 62. Niemann, after his opening 65, shot 62 in the second round for a share of the halfway lead with Shelton (65) and Scottie Scheffler, whose 62 included birdie putts of 24, 38 and 28 feet. But everyone was upstaged by Kevin Chappell and his 11-under 59, the 11th sub-60 round in tour history. “I was trying to keep the foot on the gas and attack,” said Chappell. (He would finish joint 47th.)

In the third round, Niemann took the solo lead by two with a 68. “I’m just really happy, the way I’ve been playing,” said Niemann, who then had to rein himself in on the morning of the fourth round. “I woke up and … I just couldn’t think about this moment, holding the trophy,” he said. “I was [thinking], Man, take it easy. Don’t think about that yet.”

Niemann started the final round leading by two and was briefly tied twice. He made five birdies against one bogey through the 15th. He had taken the lead for good with a birdie at the par-four 10th, and after a par save at the 11th, he birdied 12 from nine feet and 13 from 13, then birdied the last three holes to lock it up — the 16th on a 10-foot putt; the par-five 17th, going from rough to bunker and finally holing a six-footer, and at 18, calmly rolling in a 22-footer.

Niemann’s closing 64 locked up one of the tougher six-shot wins on record, and even got him fist-pumping. “Yeah, normally I’m not really too excited any time,” Niemann said. “I normally never do fist pump and those things. So just make those putts on the last three holes … I couldn’t resist it. I just fist pump.”


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