Joaquin Niemann after his win at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley
(Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Photo)
GRANITEVILLE, SC (April 22, 2017) - After beginning the final round of the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley one back, Joaquin Niemann of Chile has captured the title by four shots with 12-under posting.
The 12-under tally is the tournament record since course renovations were completed in 2011.
“I just enjoyed this last day very much,” Niemann said. “This is the best tournament I can ask to win, and I won it.”
Ranked second in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, the USF commit and six-time winner last year would not be denied on Saturday at Sage Valley Golf Club as he put together an impressive 5-under 67 closing round.
1-over after a bogey on the 3rd, Niemann birdied seven of the next ten holes with a dropped shot mixed in to take the lead and command of the tournament. Niemann birdied the 4th and 5th holes consecutively and then three in a row from Nos. 9-11.
Defending champion and Oklahoma State commit Austin Eckroat was second at 8-under while Davis Shore (Alabama commit), Garrett Barber (LSU commit) and 36-hole leader Min Woo Lee (2016 U.S. Junior winner) shared third at 7-under.
Eckroat fired the round of the day, a 6-under 66 that included two eagles in a five hole stretch. First on the par-5 4th and then again on the par-5 8th.
-Golfweek contributed to to this story
ROUND TWO RECAP
A sparkling 7-under 65 has propelled Min Woo Lee into the lead at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. Lee, 8-under, was the runner-up a year ago at Sage Valley Golf Club and this year he will try to finish one spot higher.
Following a 1-under 71 on Thursday, Lee who became the first Australian to win the U.S. Junior Amateur last year, kick started his round with an eagle on the par-5 4th before going on to birdie an additional six holes against just one bogey.
Lee, who played well throughout the round finished with three consecutive birdies.
Garrett Barber will begin Saturday's final round in a tie for second place at 7-under with first round co-leader Joaquin Niemann of Chile.
Barber, an LSU commit, turned in a second round bogey-free 6-under 66 that included 2nd, 4th, 6th, 10th, 11th, and 16th hole birdies.
Niemann, who is heading to USF in the fall, carded a 2-under 70 second to place himself just one back.
Davis Shore (Alabama commit) and John Axelsen (Florida commit) are two shots further back at 5-under in a tie for fourth.
ROUND ONE RECAP
With day one of the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in the books Joaquin Niemann and Cameron John are sharing the lead at 5-under.
Niemann, competing in his third Junior Invitational played a flawless round of golf while birdieing five-times. A six-time winner a year ago including the IMG Junior World Championship and the Toyota Junior World Cup, the USF commit recorded his birdies on the 1st, 4th, 8th, 10th and 15th holes.
For John his round at Sage Valley Golf Club included six birdies and a lone bogey. The native of Australia rolled in his first birdie on the 4th hole and then additional birds on Nos. 6, 7, 10, 14 and 15. Last year John's signature victory came at the Argentine Amateur.
In third place Kaito Onishi of Japan is in third place at 4-under while American Cole Hammer (Texas commit), Adrien Pendaries (Duke commit) of France and American Brandon Gillis (Wake Forest commit) are sharing fourth at 2-under.
Defending champion and Oklahoma State commit Austin Eckroat is just four shots back at 1-under in a tie for seventh.
ABOUT THE Junior Invitational
The Junior Invitational's mission
is to operate the most prestigious junior golf
championship in the world—an invitation-only
annual event for the top 54 players from
around the globe, hosted by the renowned Sage
Valley Golf Club.
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