Joaquin Niemann of Chile wins Junior World
Joaquin Niemann
Joaquin Niemann

LA JOLLA, Calif. — 16-year-old Joaquin Niemann of Chile posted 76 on day one of the IMG Junior World Championship. He trailed opening-round leader Everton Hawkins of Irvine by seven shots.

But by Friday afternoon, he was hoisting the trophy — his second major junior victory in the last eight months.

Niemann, playing the difficult South Course at Torrey Pines, fired 66 in Thursday's third round to join four other players tied entering the last day. His birdie on the par-3 16th hole pushed him a stroke ahead of Sahith Theegala, and into the winner's circle.

Just last December, Niemann won the Junior Orange Bowl in Florida.

Theegala made a spectacular eagle on the finishing par-5 to break away from Norman Xiong, who took third place. Theegala, of Chino Hills, will attend Pepperdine University starting this fall.

In the Girls 15-17 division, Nasa Hataoka of Japan secured a four-shot win over Paphangkorn Tavatanakit of Thailand. Hataoka opened with 67, then cruised to victory with steady rounds of 71, 70, and 70 to close at the North Course at Torrey Pines.

The top placing American player was Yui Kawamoto of San Diego, who is a junior in high school. She closed with back-to-back rounds of 68 to jump into the third place spot.

ABOUT THE IMG Junior World

Age Divisions: 15-17, 13-14, 11-12, 9-10, 7-8, 6-under. 72 hole stroke play event for 15-17 division, 54 holes for other divisions. Qualifying required for 15-17, other divisions. Played at multiple courses in the San Diego area. Online application process begins approx. Feb 1.

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