Winner's Bag

The clubs Joaquin Niemann used to win the 2022 Genesis Invitational

February 20, 2022

Cliff Hawkins

After a then 20-year-old Joaquin Niemann won A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier in 2019, it seemed more victories would easily follow. Niemann certainly had some chances since then, but each time couldn’t close the deal. Despite some moments where it appeared that might be the case again on Sunday at Riviera Country Club, Niemann steadied himself enough over the final 11 holes to win the Genesis Invitational by two shots.

Although Niemann went wire-to-wire—the first Riviera winner to do since Charlie Sifford in 1969—it was not in the runaway style one would have assumed after he opened with a pair of 63s outside Los Angeles. A Saturday 68 kept the margin at a comfortable three shots over Cameron Young, yet Niemann stalled on the front nine with the lead cut to one.

Then came the first of two momentum-turning moments: a stuffed sand wedge from 110 yards to seven feet at the par-4 eighth. Niemann made the putt, and Young bogeyed the hole, to restore the lead to three.

Three holes later, on the par-5 11th, the Chilean used the sand wedge again, this time to hole out from 46 feet for an eagle to push the lead to five. Niemann uses the Ping’s new Glide Forged Pro wedges (he also has a Glide 3.0 wedge for his pitching wedge).

As nifty as those shots were, Niemann’s work with his irons throughout the week was pivotal. Niemann ranked first in strokes gained/approach-the-green, picking up more than seven shots on the field with his Ping iBlade irons (the same model he won with in 2019). The iBlades have thin, hot faces but account for that with an elastomer insert that supports the face from heel to toe. The material allows the face to flex at impact and filter vibrations to produce a pleasant feel. Stability also gets a boost from a x-density tungsten block in the low toe. Niemann’s irons have True Temper Project X 6.0 shafts with Golf Pride Tour Velvet ribbed grips

Around the green his wedges were working, too. Niemann ranked second in strokes gained/around-the-green, bettering the field average by more than five shots with his Ping wedges. In all, Niemann got up and down 19 out of 25 times for a 76 percent conversion rate, ranked 10th.

Although the lead dwindled over the final few holes, Niemann’s putter—not usually a strong point as he came into the event ranked 154th in strokes gained/putting—was a major contributor to the win. Niemann finished the week 25th in strokes gained/putting and second in putts per green in regulation with his Ping PLD Anser prototype. The putter is 35 inches in length with 3 degrees of loft.

All of which combined for a long-awaited PGA Tour win No. 2.

What Joaquin Niemann had in the bag at the 2022 Genesis Invitational

Driver: Ping G410 LST (Graphite Design DI 6X), 10.5 degrees

3-wood: Ping G425 Max, 14.5 degrees

7-wood: Ping G425 Max, 20.5 degrees

Irons (4-9): Ping iBlade; (PW): Ping Glide 3.0

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged Pro (52, 56, 60 degrees)

Putter: Ping PLD Anser