The nearly 2,700-mile long South American country of Chile is known for its ferocious winds playing havoc between the Andes Mountains and Pacific Ocean.
Sunday afternoon in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, one of Chile’s own blew away the field with similar authority.
20 year-old Joaquin Niemann became one of the youngest professionals to ever win on the PGA Tour when he took a 2-shot lead after Saturday’s third round, and fired a final-round 6-under 64 to pull away with the minus-21, 72-hole 259 to win by six shots over runner-up Tom Hoge.
Niemann became the first Chilean to win on the PGA Tour and took home the winner’s share of $1.35 million of the tournament’s total $7.5 million purse.
Taking a 3-shot lead to the par-4 16th hole, Niemann put an exclamation point on his victory by birdieing the final three holes of the Old White TPC.
Niemann, who got quickly into contention after an 8-under 62 in Friday’s second round, followed with a 2-under Saturday to get into the final pairing with another unfamiliar name, Ricky Werenski.
Werenski was in position to finish alone at second before missing a short putt at the par-5 17th and finding the back bunker at the short par-3 18th that led to an expensive bogey-4.
Werenski tied for third with Brian Harman, Nate Lashley and Harry English, Harman and English both moved up the leaderboard with final-round 65s.
Niemann finally lost his composure during a green side interview when the enormity of his win finally sunk in.
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier kicked off the new 2019-2020 PGA Tour wraparound schedule. The new September date followed mid-summer dates for the popular tournament since its inception in 2010.
Other tournament highlights included a hole-in-one on Thursday by Sungjae Im on the tough par-3 15th, and an 11-under 59 by Kevin Chappell on Friday, only the 11th time in PGA history that a 59 or better has been shot.
Chappell’s round began with a par before he reeled off nine straight birdies that tied a PGA Tour record. It was the second time a 59 has been recorded at The Greenbrier, following Stuart Appleby’s final-round 59 to win the inaugural Greenbrier in 2010.
Local fan favorite, Blacksburg native Lanto Griffin, used an opening-round 64 to finish alone at 13th, good for a nifty tournament paycheck of $159,375.