19-year-old Joaquin Niemann earns tour card in just eight starts as a professional
Joaquin Niemann is not supposed to be on the PGA Tour, not at this age. He's also not leaving anytime soon.
Thanks to a final-round 64 at the Greenbrier, Niemann grabbed a T-5 finish at the West Virginia event. It wasn't enough to earn an invitation to next week's Open Championship, but he didn't leave empty-handed. Thanks to his Sunday push, Niemann, with his fourth top 10 in just eight professional events, now has 414 FedEx Cup points. A total well above the projected amount needed for the 125th player in the FEC standings by the end of the Wyndham Championship, meaning, at 19 years old, Niemann has secured his tour card for next season.
"Maybe the best day of my life!" Niemann wrote on Twitter. "@PGATOUR MEMBER."
Niemann already attained special temporary membership with a T-6 at the Memorial—his third T-8 or better in five outings—to earn unlimited sponsor invites until the FedEx Cup Playoffs begin. (Niemann's expected to play at this week's John Deere Classic.) By earning his card, Niemann joins a group featuring Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth that was able to bypass the Web.com Finals.
“Playing on the PGA Tour with these guys is awesome," Niemann said earlier in the week at the Greenbrier. "I thought I was going to be in college this year."
Which is perhaps the most fascinating part of Niemann's run: he's only on tour by accident. The former World No. 1 amateur was slatted to play in college for the University of South Florida. However, there was a snafu with Niemann's TOEFL exam, an English-language test required by USF. Niemann, who hails from Chile, is still learning the language, and didn't gain entrance.
Thanks to winning the 2018 Latin America Amateur Championship, Niemann was bestowed an invitation to this year's Masters. Following his first foray at Augusta National (he missed the cut with rounds of 76-77), Niemann turned pro at the Valero Texas Open, which meant losing exemptions into the U.S. and British Opens. Still, Niemann proved it was the right call. He finished sixth at TPC San Antonio, adding a T-8 at the Colonial before earning temporary status at Muirfield Village.