Two years ago became the first South American to top the world amateur rankings and by staying there to the end of the season was awarded the Mark McCormack Medal and with it an exemption into The Open in 2018.
But he forfeited that by turning professional after appearing in The Masters, to which he had earned an invitation by capturing the Latin America amateur title in his home city Santiago. With back-to-back fifth place finishes on the PGA Tour last month Niemann moved into the game’s top 100 and was called into the field for Royal Portrush when 2004 winner Todd Hamilton withdrew on July 6.
His major debut was the 2017 US Open after he birdied the final qualifying hole and then survived a three-for-two play-off. Had just missed out on the 2017 Masters, losing a play-off at the Latin America championship to close friend Tito Gana, whom he then watched at Augusta.
Two weeks after his own Masters appearance he tied for sixth at the Valero Texas Open on his professional debut. A former student at the University of South Florida, he was only the third 18-year-old to receive the McCormack award after Danny Lee and Matthew Fitzpatrick.