24 August 2017, St Andrews, Scotland and Far Hills, New Jersey, USA: Chile’s Joaquin Niemann has won the Mark H McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player in the 2017 World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR™).
Niemann becomes the first player from South America to win the McCormack Medal since the inception of WAGR™ in 2007.
Joaquin Niemann said, “I am very honoured to receive the prestigious 2017 Mark H McCormack medal. Thank you to The R&A and the USGA for this important award.”
A 2016 Rolex Junior All-America First-Team selection, Niemann started this year with a joint runner-up finish in the third Latin America Amateur Championship as his compatriot Toto Gana won the three-man play-off.
He made several appearances in professional events in 2017, including the US Open and the Greenbrier Classic, where he posted a five-under-par total of 275 that included a 64 in the final round. He won three professional events in Chile.
Niemann also won consecutive events in April; the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Junior at Innisbrook and the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.
In last week’s US Amateur at The Riviera Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club, Niemann lost to NCAA individual champion and 2017 USA Walker Cup team member Braden Thornberry in the first round of match play. A two-time winner of the IMG Academy Junior World Championship, Niemann also reached the quarter finals in the 2017 Western Amateur.
The Chilean joins Danny Lee (2008) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013) as the only 18-year-olds to earn the McCormack Medal and will receive an exemption into the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club from 14-17 June and The 147th Open at Carnoustie from 19-22 July, provided he remains an amateur.
This R&A and United States Golf Association (USGA) award is named after Mark H McCormack, who founded the sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A, said, “Joaquin is a thoroughly deserving winner of the McCormack Medal and I wish to congratulate him on an excellent season. It’s wonderful to see another talented young golfer emerge from South America to compete on the global stage and we look forward to welcoming Joaquin to Carnoustie for The 147th Open next year.”
John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships & Governance, said, “Joaquin Niemann has consistently returned impressive results, especially in high-profile events, and the USGA is pleased to see his steady play recognised with the McCormack Medal. We look forward to watching Joaquin succeed for many years to come.”
Last week, Leona Maguire of Ireland was named the winner of the Mark H McCormack Medal for the third consecutive year as the leading women’s player in the 2017 World Amateur Golf Ranking™.
The World Amateur Golf Ranking™, which is supported by Rolex, was established in conjunction with the launch of the men’s ranking and encompasses more than 2,600 counting events, ranking more than 6,000 players from 103 countries. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,400 counting events with more than 2,700 ranked players from 73 countries worldwide.