The LIV Golf tournament at Mayakoba was a rollercoaster of excitement. Joaquin Niemann's Sunday got off to a rocky start with a two-stroke penalty for a rules violation during the second round, but it concluded with him triumphing over Sergio Garcia and claiming his first LIV Golf individual title.
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Niemann shared his elation, saying, "I'm very happy that the day ended this way, especially with how the morning started. I think dinner will taste better than breakfast." Jon Rahm was also in contention until the 16th hole.
Unfortunately, two late bogeys on the 17th and 18th holes dropped him to third place at -10. Nevertheless, his performance contributed to the Legion XIII's impressive team victory in their debut, securing a four-stroke lead over the defending champions, the Mayakoba Crushers.
The final round began with a twist when the Competition Committee adjusted Niemann's four-shot lead due to a rules infraction detected from a prior round. Despite the two penalty strokes, Niemann remained undeterred and finished the tournament at -12, tying with Garcia, who carded a final-round 66 and forced a playoff.
The playoff saw both champions par the first three holes before Niemann secured victory with a birdie on the fourth playoff hole, just as darkness was setting in. Niemann commented, "The last putt, which I made in the dark, helped me not to be so calculating.
I found the right feeling and I shot." Dean Burmester of Stinger GC also finished tied for third place with Rahm at -10 overall. Tyrrell Hatton, making his debut for the Legion XIII team, played a pivotal role with the team's lowest score (64) in the final round, which was the best score of the entire field.
The team finished at -24, with contributions from Hatton (64), Surratt (67), Vincent (69), and Rahm (70). Looking ahead, the LIV Golf circuit resumes with the LIV Golf Mayakoba tournament from February 2nd to 4th on the "El Camaleón a Mayakoba" course in Mexico.
This marks the beginning of the second 14-tournament season and the third season overall for the LIV Golf League. Reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm will make his debut at this event. Teams will compete for a total prize pool of $25 million, with $20 million for the individual classification and $5 million for the team classification.
Nine out of the twelve participating teams will feature at least one new player in their lineup. The El Camaleón course, designed by Greg Norman, offers a challenging 6506-meter par 71 layout nestled amidst tropical jungle, dense mangroves, freshwater canals, and two holes with panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea.
Recent enhancements have made certain greens more complex, widened tees on specific holes, and added new professional tees on others. You can follow the tournament live and on demand for free via LIV Golf Plus, available for download on iOS, Android, FireTV, and LIVGolfPlus.com.