He’s the PGA Tour’s Red Hot Chili Pepper.
Or Red Hot Chile Pepper if you wish.
Whichever you prefer, this 19-year-old sensation otherwise know as Joaquin Niemann, who is from Chile, and is Red-Hot, has shown a truckload of game in just five events so far on the PGA Tour.
But sometimes even the hottest can run out of gas.
Niemann had it in full grind mode last Sunday at The Memorial. He entered the last round with a chance to win but faded a bit. He still finished in a tie for sixth, his third top eight in five events as a professional with no status on tour.
From there he went straight to Sectional Qualifying for the U.S. Open the next day at Brookside Country Club and Lakes Country Club there in Columbus. Thirty-six tough holes in one day. Keep in mind he also is playing this week at St. Jude in hot, steamy Memphis. Unfortunately for the hottest kid on tour, he shot 74 at the Lakes and did the logical thing — WD. No shame there, just about everyone who was in the St. Jude field got the heck out of town if they didn’t score well in the first round of the sectional qualifier. Danny Lee, Kelly Kraft, Grayson Murray, Beau Hossler, Andrew Landry — they all said adios to the sectional after not-so-great first rounds. No sense wearing yourself out with the lovely Memphis weather waiting for you.
It would have been great to see Niemann at Shinnecock, but his absence doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s been one of the most compelling stories out there the past two months.
After he missed the cut at The Masters, many figured he might be destined for the Web.com Tour. No way, Joaquin.
He’s on the Jon Rahm fast-track to tour success in the form of a field-earned tour card.
His sixth place finish at Valero earned him $223,200. He missed the cut at Wells Fargo by a shot, missed by a shot at the Nelson. His tie for eighth in Fort Worth won him $205,900 then he collected another $309,275 last week at the Memorial. Adds up to a nifty $738,375. And he was thinking about playing college golf at the University of South Florida. Good decision to nix the college gig.
He’s now in good shape with special temporary status on tour. If he were a member, he’d be 106th on the money list. Pretty strong for five weeks out there.
He still has eight exemptions and just about every sponsor out there would love to have this kid in their event so he’s in really good shape as far as that goes.
What he needs to do is keep doing what he’s doing to finish high enough in FedEx Cup points to make the playoffs.
This kid is a breath of fresh air out there.
He’s already, most likely, the highest-earning 19-year-old from Chile.
So no big deal about not making the U.S. Open. Would have been nice, you can bet he’ll be there next year.
He’s been going at a break-neck pace and sometimes even the best of ’em run out of gas, which is what happened to Joaquin this past Monday.
In the meantime, he can refuel and show us what he’s got in Memphis.