Mayakoba Golf Classic: 3 things to know after Round 1

Joaquin Niemann hits his tee shot on the 18th hole at El Camaleon Golf Club on Thursday.

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One of the contenders is donating all of his winnings to help cover the medical expenses for his one-month-old cousin. He needs $2.1 million. He may get $1.2 million this week. The winner’s share. Here are three things you need to know after Thursday’s first round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.     

Joaquin Niemann is one shot back 

Joaquin Niemann, before the RSM Classic two weeks ago, said he would be pledging all of his tournament winnings from both the RSM and the Mayakoba toward his young cousin, Rafita, who is battling spinal muscular atrophy in Niemann’s home country of Chile. He won $21,450 at the RSM for tying for 44th. He’s in line for more this week. 

Niemann, after starting on No. 10, played the front nine at El Camaleon Golf Club at five-under on his way to a five-under 66 and a share of second place with Emiliano Grillo and Tom Hoge. They are one stroke behind leader Russell Knox. 

“Yeah, it’s big for me and for my family in Chile,” Niemann said. “Having all the support from all the people here on Tour is really amazing, and also from Mexico. The tournament, they’re helping me a lot to tell a little bit more of the story of Rafita. So happy for all the support of the players. We’re fighting for him.”

Russell Knox leads 

Knox also started on the back nine, played it at five under, then added two more birdies on the front nine for a six-under 65. 

Two shots behind were Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau, Carlos Ortiz, Brendon Todd, Aaron Wise, Nate Lashley, Akshay Bhatia and Michael Giglic. Three strokes back were Pat Perez, Hunter Mahan, Chris Baker, Harry Higgs, Joel Dahmen, Kyle Stanley and Bo Hoag. 

Rickie Fowler makes eight birdies – and an 8

Rickie Fowler made eight birdies. 

He also made an 8. 

Fowler birdied holes 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 16, and double-bogeyed the par-4 3rd and quadruple-bogeyed the par-4 12th on his way to a one-under 71. 

“This has to be the lowest I’ve shot with a quad, though,” Fowler said. “That doesn’t happen a whole lot.”

Among other players, Brooks Koepka, shot an even-par 71, and Justin Thomas a one-over 72. 

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at