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2022 AT&T Byron Nelson: Joaquin Niemann continues to seize strong opportunities when the PGA Championship is coming


Wow, it’s so dirty“was a phrase used on Thursday’s TV show to describe one of Joaquin Niemann’s chip shots during the first round of AT&T Byron Nelson’s 2022. In the end, signing to 5 under 67 in Round 1, Niemann assisted everything on Friday morning without a single mistake 7 under 65 – good with a total under 12. Now, Niemann finds himself tied in fifth and just three strokes away. speed set by Ryan Palmer as the afternoon wave begins the second lap.

“You know that before the start of the week… this is one of the pitches where they score pretty low, so you should have that thought a little bit before the tournament,” Niemann said. “I know 12 under is really impressive, but yeah, you know, they’re going to be pretty low in four days.”

While birdies are a prerequisite in low-scoring events, avoiding bogeys can be of equal importance. A drop will see a player’s name leap up the leaderboard, and few do better than Niemann in that regard. Having hit just one bogey through his first 36 holes, Niemann is sublimating at 92% at TPC Craig Ranch. Top 10 in this category, it is worth noting that the short match of the young Chilean tennis player is not always so clean. His ranking around the green has taken a significant step up this season compared to his three years ago:

  • 2022: 12
  • Year 2021: T138
  • 2020: T152
  • 2019: 102

It’s been part of his game to be a liability so far this season. Niemann’s presence off the tee and constant iron play is likely to get him in contention several times a year, but around the pitch he’s often looking for answers. 2021 sees Niemann finish second three times, and if he performs to current standards, the two-time PGA Tour winner will be at least a four-time winner.

I understand golf doesn’t work this way – growing pains are part of the process – but as a thought exercise, let’s pretend it is. What would Niemann’s resume look like if he averaged +1.86 strokes around the green per tournament? That’s the current number the 23-year-old boasts as he ranks 12th in the aforementioned category on this season’s PGA Tour (before AT&T Byron Nelson started).

Texas Open 2018

6

-2.04

2

Memorial Tournament 2018

T6

-2.84

VICTORY

2018 Classic Greenbrier

T5

-1.92

2

2019 John Deere Classic

T10

-1.64

3

Wyndham Championship 2019

T13

-0.80

5

Tournament 2021

2

+1.64

VICTORY

2021 Sony Open

T2

+0.80

Playoff

2021 Honda Classic

T25

-5.12

2

Wells Fargo Championship 2021

T18

-2.96

T6

2021 PGA Championship

T30

-3.64

T2

2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic

T2

+1.00

VICTORY

It’s not perfect math, and I’m sure 2018 Memorial Prize winner Bryson DeChambeau will find flaws in it, but that’s not the point. This is simply to illustrate how good Niemann is and how good it would be to have more presence around the pitch that is currently better than that of every player in the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings. Official World.

Niemann is enjoying a career season because of his brief run, not despite it, as shown in his win at the Genesis Invitational, where he hit +5.04 strokes achieved. around the green. In a major championship-sized field on a major championship-type venue, this type of innovation has the potential to be a difference-maker at not only AT&T Byron Nelson but also at the 2022 PGA Championship in next week.

“You have to work with the ball quite a lot, you have to. You have to be really, really good around the pitch. You can’t fake your way around it,” Justin Thomas said after the scouting tour. his to the Southern Hills earlier. the week. “And it’s very hard to chip. I mean, the balls roll off the green, they go pretty far. You get some rough, raised greens to the point where it’s very difficult to get the ball around the hole and during the tournament round there are greens. There can be quite a few shots. And the one who I think does it best has the best chance of winning.”

If you had told Niemann this last year, chances are some doubts would have crept into his mind. However, the side of his game that has prevented him from returning to serious running at Kiawah Island may be the reason he sees himself as a chance for his first major title at the Southern Hills.





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