Niemann in action at Al Mouj Golf in Oman
Niemann in action at Al Mouj Golf in Oman Image Credit: Supplied

Joaquin Niemann arrived at this week’s International Series Oman in search of some vital World Ranking points to have any chance of playing his way into the Masters Tournament, but that pressure was relieved after the Chilean received a special invite from tournament organisers.

Despite arguably being in the form of his life, shooting a 59 earlier this year en route to winning LIV Golf Mayakoba, the 25-year-old had been in danger of missing out on the first Major Championship of the year due to his World Ranking of 81st.

The only exemption into the tournament available to Niemann looked like playing his way into the top 50 the week prior of the Masters, but with LIV Golf events not receiving any World Ranking points, that also looked extremely unlikely.

Step forward Augusta National.

The prestigious club has a long-standing tradition of inviting leading international players who are not otherwise exempt into the event, with Niemann, Dubai resident Thorbjørn Olesen and Japanese star Ryo Hisatsune the recipients of a special invitation earlier this week.

“It’s exciting, I was trying to chase that invite so it is nice that they called me yesterday – I am super excited with that news,” said Niemann.

“I obviously love that course at Augusta National and it is one of those courses you must be hitting it well off the tee and hitting it long. If I keep driving it well, I think it is going to serve me well and I’m looking forward to that week.”

The Chilean shot a bogey-free 66 at the first round of the International Series Oman
The Chilean shot a bogey-free 66 at the first round of the International Series Oman Image Credit: Supplied

The Torque GC captain’s delight at receiving an invite was evident in his game at Al Mouj Golf during the first round of the season-opening International Series Oman, with Niemann firing a blemish-free six-under par round of 66 to sit one off leader David Puig from the Fireballs GC team.

“It was a great day,” he said.

“I started off pretty good, with a birdie and then eagle on three. I kept hitting it well until the end of the round. I think my putter went a little bit off on the back nine but yes it was a good round but could have been better.

“It’s a good course, I like playing here. You have to hit different shots off the tee and to the green you must be a little bit creative with the wind, so it was fun, especially with David who was playing great. We had a good time, especially the way we were playing.”

Niemann will have plenty of time to hone his game between now and his trip to Augusta National in April.

Following the International Series Oman, he heads straight to Saudi Arabia for LIV Golf Jeddah, before a further two weeks on the road at LIV Golf Hong Kong and the International Series Macau presented by Wynn.

When it comes to the Masters, Niemann is trending in the right direction. In the last three tournaments he has finished T40, T35 and T16, so he has cause for optimism going into the historic event.

“I’m looking forward for all those next three weeks, they will all give me good preparation for what’s coming next,” said Niemann.

“I like my chances and I want to play well. Obviously, I can’t say what’s going to happen, I have to go out there and grind it.”