Chilean Golf Pro Makes An Impact At ZOZO


- Grant Whittington

England golf pro Matt Wallace now lies two shots off the lead after the first round of the ZOZO Championship in Japan.

His performance on the day saw him shooting seven birdies and a couple of bogeys at Narashimo Country Club before ending the day on five under par. Leading the way right now is Japanese star and favourite Hiroshi Iwata, with a seven-under placement in the front.

But the real surprise golf star of the day had been Chile’s Joaquin Niemann who now shares a second place with Masters victor Hideki Matsuyama. New betting sites were quick to take note of this and adjust their odds accordingly.

Chile’s Niemann The Comeback Kid

Initially pegged as not anybody to be putting money on at new betting sites because of his poor start to the new season, with his best finish a T40 at Shriners, Niemann has been the proverbial comeback kid at the Japan event.

Niemann couldn’t have picked a better time for such a stunning return, with golf fans being back on site. This year also marks a welcome return for the ZOZO to Japan after the competition got moved to the US in 2020.

After winning three times a season ago, Niemann has been living a gutting time this year. With three runner-up finishes, and two of those having ended in Playoff losses and the third a single-stroke defeat, he hasn’t exactly been living his best golfing life in recent times.

Still – Niemann is the ultimate recover-er, if ever there were such a thing. After the day at the ZOZO opener started with something of a slip-up, Niemann had no issue recovering quickly from the momentary setback.

Commenting on the day’s golf play, the Chilean said he slipped on the first tee when he hit a “terrible” drive. But he soon recovered by making par, which is something he said gave him the necessary confidence to know that he was going to have a good day regardless.  

If past performances are anything to go by, Niemann is in for another hot performance. Usually, whenever Niemann has started hot, he’s also managed to remain that way.

Matsuyama Happy About Home Fans

As for Hideki Matsuyama, who now lies just a single stroke off the first round lead held by countryman Hiroshi Iwata, his golf day too, started off in electrifying fashion with a six-under round of 64.

Matsuyama, who became the first male Japanese golfer to win a major at the US Masters in April this year, said the best thing about the start to the ZOZO had been the privilege to play in front of fans at home. He said he felt happy about his performance, and even more so because of the reception he received from his home country. No doubt new betting sites were happy too.

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