September 14, 2019 / 11:47 PM / a month ago

Young Chilean Niemann takes command in West Virginia

(Reuters) - Chile’s Joaquin Niemann shook off his first bogey of the week to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia on Saturday.

The 20-year-old, seeking to become the first from his South American nation to win a PGA tournament, shot a two-under 68 on a day when playing conditions toughened to finish at 15-under 195.

“I think it was a really good round,” Niemann said. “The pin locations were a lot tougher. They were all like the back of the green like on top of a hill, so it was tough to get it close.

“I just leave a couple short, but really happy the way I played.”

Americans Richy Werenski (65), Nate Lashley (65) and Robby Shelton (70) were tied for second at 13 under at White Sulphur Springs.

Adam Long (70) and Scottie Scheffler (71), the second round co-leader with Niemann and Shelton, were another stroke back in the first tournament of the new PGA Tour season.

Lashley, with an eagle at the 17th, had shared the lead with Niemann before a bogey at the last.

Kevin Chappell also had his troubles.

After becoming the 10th player to break 60 on the PGA Tour with a 59 on Friday, the American soared to a three-over par 73 with four bogeys.

Niemann, in his third season on the tour, had played 46 holes without a bogey.

But the streak ended after an errant tee shot at the 11th.

He rebounded with five pars and a birdie at the 17th before closing with another par that came after a 49-minute weather delay.

“Two years ago I was playing this same event as an amateur, and I never thought I was going to be leader in two years,” said Niemann, who first played at White Sulphur Springs as an 18-year-old.

“I just feel like I’m almost a member here. I just like being out here. Always when you play on a course that you know already it helps a lot. Yeah, I think this is the course I have played more on tour, so, yeah, helps a lot.”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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