Niemann Shoots 68, Leads Young by Three Strokes in Genesis Invitational

Joaquin Niemann of Chile didn’t come close to shooting a third straight 63, but still increased his lead. 

The 23-year-old Niemann carded a 3-under-par 68 without his best stuff and will take a three-stroke lead over rookie Cameron Young into the final round of the 96th version of the Genesis Invitational, the former Los Angeles Open, at storied Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. 

“It was obviously different than my first two rounds, but I’m still happy with the way I played to stay in the lead,” said Niemann, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2019 Military Tribune at the Greenbrier. “I didn’t hit the ball nearly as well or make as many putts, but I made some really good par saves to keep the round going. 

“I enjoyed the day and interacting with the fans, some of them out who were from Latin America and Chile. We had some nice interaction going and it made for a fun day, no matter what my score was. 

“I’m not going to thing about winning but will go over the things I did well and the bad things, too, and try my best tomorrow.” 

Niemann, who won seven times on the Chilean Tour, made four of his five birdies on the front nine, holed out from 22 feet on No. 10 for an eagle and had two bogeys in his round to post the 54-hole tournament record of 19-under 194—breaking the mark shared by three players by three strokes. 

Young, 22, followed his 62 in the second round with a 69, bouncing back from a double-bogey 5 on the 16th hole with a three-foot birdie putt on the next hole to remain within reach of Niemann. 

“It was important that I saved par on the first hole and escaped another mess at No. 5 to play that stretch of the round without a bogey,” said Young, who is seeking his first PGA Tour victory after winning twice last year on the Korn Ferry Tour and finishing second in the 2021 Sanderson Farms Championship. “I didn’t make bogey in that stretch and keep things going. 

“I made some mental mistakes, some bad decisions that I haven’t been making, but for the most part was able to salvage things—except at No. 16. They were just some bad choices, and I will be thinking about them, so I don’t do the same things tomorrow.” 

Fourth-ranked Victor Hovland of Norway, who has won three times around the world in recent months, collected five of his eight birdies on the front nine and is six shots down in solo third after a 65, followed one more down by eighth-ranked Justin Thomas, who birdied the last two holes for a 70, and second Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, who is another shot behind in fifth after also making birdies on the last two holes in a 68. 

Ninth-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who won the WM Phoenix Open last week, shot 65 and is nine strokes back in a tie for sixth with defending champion Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, who sank a 61-foot eagle putt on the first hole to kick-start a 67, Maverick McNealy of Portola Valley and Stanford, who also had a 67, and Marc Leishman of Australia, who birdied the last hole for yet another 67. 

Emiliano Grillo of Argentina posted a bogey-free 65 and is 10 down in a tie for 10th with Adam Scott of Australia, a two-time winner of this tournament, who stumbled to four bogeys in the last seven holes to wind up at 71. 

Twelfth-ranked Xander Schauffele, the Olympic Gold medalist from La Jolla and San Diego State, is tied for 12th after a 66, fifth-ranked Rory McIlroy totaled 67 and is tied for 18th, and third-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA is tied for 33rd after a 66. 

Tenth-ranked Hideki Matsuyama of Japan finished at 68 and is tied for 50th, and top-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, who made the cut on the number, made two late birdies to salvage a 70 and is tied for 60th. 

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