Joaquin Niemann (2/5 Fav – Outright Winner) will take a three-shot lead into the final round of The Genesis Invitational and, barring a Sunday meltdown, he stands on the cusp of making history at the California venue.
Chile star Niemann already smashed the 36-hole scoring record at the tournament after carding back-to-back eight-under-par 63s and his 68 on Saturday, which included one eagle, four birdies and three bogeys, also saw him break the 54-hole record.
The 23-year-old sits on -19 ahead of the final 18 holes at Riviera Country Club, leaving him just one stroke behind Lanny Wadkins’ record tournament score of 268 (-20) that has stood since 1985.
Niemann, who is 50/1 to win the Masters in April, is on track to land his second PGA Tour title, having broken his duck at the 2019 A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, and he expressed his delight after Saturday’s round.
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“I’m having the best time of my life right now,” he said, as quoted by the PGA Tour. “I just try to keep it calm, but yeah, I’m enjoying it a lot and I just can’t wait to have a good day tomorrow.
“My speed (on the greens) has just been so good this week and that’s the thing that helps a lot… they’re so fast and every putt can run away from the hole pretty quick, so the speed has been good.”
While Niemann is in pole position to claim the spoils, any slip from him on Sunday could present an opportunity to world number 113 Cameron Young, who has sole possession of second on -16 and is three off the pace.
The American (9/2) is only four shots off Wadkins’ record tournament score and there is a scenario where he could surpass that -20 mark but still lose out to overnight leader Niemann.
Norwegian Viktor Hovland sits in third position on -13, six shots off the lead, and he is 9/1 to claim the spoils at Riviera, while American Justin Thomas (18/1) is a further stroke back on -12.
Reigning Open champion Collin Morikawa is in fifth position on -11, some eight shots behind Niemann, and the US ace can be backed at 30/1 to win the Genesis crown.
Scottie Scheffler (100/1), who won the Phoenix Open last week in a thrilling playoff finish, is on -10 alongside Maverick McNealy (200/1), Max Homa (150/1) and Marc Leishman (125/1), while Emiliano Grillo and Adam Scott are both on -9.
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