Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Mar 11 2024
- 4 MIN
Niemann HK recap

HONG KONG – With captain Joaquin Niemann once again leading the way, Torque GC came close to landing its first team title of the year before finishing second - just two strokes behind the triumphant Crusher GC - at LIV Golf Hong Kong on Sunday.

Red-hot Niemann, who had won twice and tied for 30th in his first three LIV Golf starts of 2024, closed with a sparkling 7-under 63 on Hong Kong Golf Club's Fanling Course to tie for fourth on the individual leaderboard with his teammate Carlos Ortiz, who carded a 66.

Colombian Sebastian Muñoz signed off with a 71 to share 21st spot while Chilean Mito Pereira returned a 68 to finish joint 48th.

With all four scores counting in the final round, the Spanish-speaking combination produced an aggregate score of 12-under to end another successful week with a 33-under total - and a second podium finish this season. Torque have now placed third, sixth, fourth and second in their first four LIV Golf starts this year.

"We have had some good finishes this year," said Niemann, whose closing 63 on Sunday was highlighted by a hole-in-one at the 189-yard eighth - the sixth ace of his career.

"Obviously it's a little bit harder with the format in the final round being the four scorecards. The four of us have got to play really good golf. I still think we've got a lot more to prove during the season."

Chilean professional Niemann has been LIV Golf's standout player this year. He clinched the season-opening LIV Golf Mayakoba on the fourth playoff hole after firing a spectacular 12-under 59 in the opening round, shared 30th place at LIV Golf Las Vegas and then won LIV Golf Jeddah by four strokes.

"I just want to keep doing the same," said the 25-year-old. "This is what I love to do, come here, play tournaments, have a chance to win. It's always fun.

"I want to feel and I want to think I'm the best all the time," he added with a broad smile. "I think that's the only way to be confident and play good golf. I think it's something that you need - to believe in yourself to be out here playing competitive golf and winning tournaments."

In Hong Kong, Niemann opened with a 3-under 67 and then followed up with a 68 before saving his best for last.

In Sunday's rain-swept final round, he birdied his opening hole, the par-4 sixth, aced the eighth and then picked up further shots at the 11th and 14th. Although he sandwiched bogeys at the 15th and the first around a birdie at the 11th, he ended his round with a sizzling run of three consecutive birdies from the par-5 third.

That gave him a 12-under total of 198, just one stroke outside a three-way playoff for the title which was clinched by Fireballs GC's Abraham Ancer.

Niemann ended his round ranked joint top for driving accuracy - level with Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson and Marc Leishman - at 92.86% after hitting 13 of 14 fairways. For the season, he ranks joint top for total birdies (with an average of 5.15 per round) and is ranked joint second for greens in regulation (with an average of 13.5).

Score-wise, Niemann has shot 68 or better in nine of first 12 rounds of 2024, and is now a cumulative 43 under. Following his tie for fourth in Hong Kong, he also increased his lead in the individual points standings: he now has 97 points and is nearly 40 points ahead of second-placed Jon Rahm.