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Chile's Niemann grabs early two-stroke PGA lead at Riviera

Chile's Joaquin Niemann fired his second consecutive eight-under par 63 to seize a two-stroke lead on Friday at the US PGA Genesis Invitational at Riviera. ©AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) - Joaquin Niemann had another highlight-reel day at Riviera Country Club on Friday to maintain his lead early in the second round of the US PGA Tour Genesis Invitational.

The 23-year-old Chilean, who equalled the first-round record with an eight-under par 63 on Thursday, fired another 63 for a 36-hole total of 16-under 126.

He was two strokes in front of American Cameron Young, who powered up the leaderboard with a nine-under par 62 to stand on 128.

Niemann, chasing a second PGA Tour title after his victory in the 2019 Greenbrier, opened with a bang at the first hole, where he landed his second shot three feet from the pin for an eagle.

He rolled in a 14-foot birdie putt at the second and gave himself a tap-in at the seventh before picking up his fifth shot on the front nine with a nine-foot birdie at the ninth.

Niemann bounced back from a bogey at the 10th with a 12-foot birdie at 11 and a 42-foot birdie putt at the 12th.

Young was piling on the pressure with a late charge when Niemann added a 17-foot birdie at the 14th and a tap-in birdie at the par-5 17th.

Young, a 24-year-old rookie who graduated from the Korn Ferry developmental tour, had nine birdies, including four straight to end his round from the sixth through the ninth holes.

He polished off the superb effort by hitting his 107-yard second shot at the ninth to within two feet and tapping in.

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