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Niemann grabs lead at Tournament of Champions

By Dejan Kalinic
Joaquin Niemann made four birdies on the front nine before picking up shots at 12, 15 and 18

Kapalua (Hawaii), January 3: Joaquin Niemann fired a seven-under 66 to grab the first-round lead at the Tournament of Champions on Thursday (January 2).

The Chilean, 21, produced a bogey-free opening round in Kapalua, Hawaii, while making seven birdies.

Niemann made four birdies on the front nine before picking up shots at 12, 15 and 18 and holds a one-stroke lead over Justin Thomas.

"I played really good, hit a lot of good shots, I just missed one green on 16," he told the Golf Channel.

"During the practice round, I knew it was going to be tough, there was a lot of wind on Tuesday especially and today it wasn't that windy and I played great.

"I made a lot of putts and it was my day."

Thomas, the 2017 champion, produced a strong finish, making five birdies on his final eight holes.

Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler carded five-under 68s to be tied for third, while a group of five are a shot further back.

Defending champion Xander Schauffele is among them, alongside Tyler Duncan, Matthew Wolff, Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm.

A two-time winner of the event, Dustin Johnson is tied for 16th at one under.

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Story first published: Friday, January 3, 2020, 9:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 3, 2020
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