Joaquin Niemann maintained his impressive form to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the LIV Golf League event in Jeddah, where Anthony Kim continued to struggle on his return to pro golf.

Niemann secured an invite to The Masters after three top-five finishes on the DP World Tour, including a victory at the ISPS Handa Australian Open, with the Chilean also taking third at an International Series event in Oman and winning the LIV Golf League season opener in Mayakoba.

The 26-year-old followed an opening-round 63 with a bogey-free 64 on Saturday in King Abdullah Economic City, posting six birdies to move to 13 under and two clear of former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

Jason Kokrak shares third spot with Louis Oosthuizen, who won twice on the DP World Tour earlier this season, with Masters champion Jon Rahm and fellow overnight co-leader Adrian Meronk among the group tied-fifth.

Captain Jon Rahm of Legion XIII GC seen on the sixth green during the second round of LIV Golf Jeddah at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club on Saturday, March 02, 2024 in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via AP)
Jon Rahm is searching for his first win since joining the LIV Golf League circuit

How Niemann moved ahead in Jeddah

Niemann – beginning on the second – opened with six straight pars before following birdies at the eighth and 10th by picking up a shot at the par-four 12th and then adding three more in a four-hole stretch from the 15th.

“I’m still a long, long way away from the position where I want to be,” Niemann said. “I just go from there, and hopefully tomorrow have a great day, too, see my shots, stay calm and just do the same.”

Schwartzel mixed five birdies with a lone bogey to card a second-round 66, while Kokrak made seven birdies in nine holes during his eight-under 62 and Oosthuizen carded a bogey-free 66 to also get to 10 under.

Rahm and Meronk posted second-round 69s to fall four back behind alongside Lucas Herbert and Abraham Ancer, who rolled in six consecutive birdies, with Branden Grace and Kevin Na both five behind.

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Digital editor of – Michael McEwen – and professional golfer Inci Mehmet discuss Anthony Kim’s return to golf after 12 years with LIV Golf

Kim rock bottom after more struggles

Kim, competing after being away from golf for nearly 12 years, started the second round at Royal Greens with three bogeys and a double bogey in his first four holes.

The American birdied the first and recovered from bogeying the third to par each of his last 11 holes, although is 25 shots off the lead and nine strokes worse than second-bottom Ian Poulter after a second successive 76.

Wild Card player Anthony Kim hits his shot from the sixth tee during the second round of LIV Golf Jeddah at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club on Saturday, March 02, 2024 in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Emily Burke/LIV Golf via AP)
Anthony Kim is making his first professional appearance since 2012

In the team contest, the all-South African Stinger GC hold a seven-stroke advantage over Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC and Rahm’s Legion XIII.

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