November 7, 2021
Funny thing, fate. Think Viktor Hovland, some gadgets on the driving range, and a crushed driver.
The day before this week’s World Wide Technology Championship in Mayakoba, Hovland loaned the club to Danny Lee for a swing, Lee caught him and Hovland got stuck with a backup from James Hahn. It was also a touch shorter, but after a few swings it went into my pocket.
A Thursday 67, followed by a Friday 65, a Saturday 62, and a Sunday 67 tell you what a godsend it could have been.
“I think I did him a favor, he’s fine,” Lee tweeted on Sunday morning.
How Viktor Hovland loaned his driver to another professional – and got it back in pieces.
As a matter of fact. While there’s no way of knowing what a longer driver might have been doing this week, the shorter driver Hovland kept doing the job, giving him more control from the tee shot in the tight at El Camaleon Golf Club. In the end, in defending his title, which he won last year, Hovland finished under at 23, which was four better than Carlos Ortiz and five better than Justin Thomas.
“It’s perfect on this golf course because I can get up on those tight holes and just know that if I hit it a little and just go down one thing, it’ll be pretty straight,” Hovland said of the driver after his third Round. “It was amazing.”
Hovland started Sunday with a two-shot lead over Talor Gooch, and after four his lead was reduced to one. But from then on his lead was never less than three and even six. At the 554 yard, par-5 5th, Hovland made a birdie after getting his ball about a foot from the hole. At the 554 yard, par-5 7th, Hovland rolled in an 8-footer for birdie. At the 462-yard, par-4 9th, Hovland dropped a 30-footer for birdie.
On the back, Hovland went birdie-bogey on both the 11th and 12th holes and the 14th and 15th holes, and he added a birdie on the 386-yard, par-4 17th. Scottie Scheffler was within three strokes at one point on the second nine, but a double bogey on par-4 16 after a drive-out of bogey derailed his chances.
For Hovland, at the age of 24, this is his third career PGA Tour title and the second in a row in Mexico.
“I’ve played really good golf all week,” Hovland said afterwards on the Golf Channel. “I didn’t have my best clothes today, but I wish I could putt more like I did today. That was wonderful. It was just a blast all week.
The big snack
Hovland wins. Justin Thomas is third. Scottie Scheffler fourth. Matthew Wolff is fifth. With Thomas, the old man in this group at 28, the next decade of golf will be fun.
The big shots
– Viktor Hovland starts the final round with 19 under and two punches ahead of Talor Gooch and three punches ahead of Justin Thomas. When Hovland tees, Danny Lee is also within three strokes of having played his first 15 holes at 8 under.
– Gooch fucks the 116-yard, par-3 in 4th place after throwing in a 6-foot roller and he moves close to Hovland’s lead on one shot. Hovland is 19-under, Gooch is 18-under and Sergio Garcia is 16-under.
– Hovland birdies the 554 yard, par-5 5th after chipping to about a foot, Gooch bogey it and Hovland takes the lead with three strokes. Hovland is 20-under, Gooch and Scottie Scheffler is 17-under and Matthew Wolff is 16-under.
– Hovland birdies the 554 yards, par-5 7th after rolling an 8-foot putt and shifts his lead to four strokes. Hovland is 21-under, Scheffler and Thomas is 17-under and Wolff and Gooch is 16-under.
– Hovland, after hitting the left rough from the tee, rolls a 30-foot for birdie at the 462-yard, par-4, 9th, increasing his lead to four strokes. Hovland is 22-under, Scheffler is 18-under, Thomas is 17-under and Wolff and Gooch is 16-under.
– Hovland rolls a 15-foot for birdie at the 360-yard, par-4 11th, and leads with four strokes. Hovland is 23-under, Scheffler is 19-under and Thomas and Gooch is 17-under.
– Hovland bogeys the 451-yard, par-4 12th after missing the green on his approach shot, and is three shots ahead. Hovland is at 22-under, Scheffler at 19-under and Gooch at 17-under.
– Scheffler double-bogeys the 515-yard, par-4 16th after swinging his tee shot, and Hovland’s lead grows to five strokes. Hovland is 22-under and Scheffler, Thomas and Gooch is 17-under.
– Hovland drops an 8-foot for birdie at the 452-yard, par-4 14th, and is six strokes ahead. Hovland is 23-under and Scheffler, Thomas, Gooch and Carlos Ortiz is 17-under.
– Hovland bogeys the 155-yard, par-3 15th on a three-putt, and is four strokes ahead. Hovland is 22-under and Thomas and Ortiz is 18-under.
– Hovland drops a 12-foot for birdie at the 386-yard, par-4 17, and his lead is four strokes. Hovland is 23-under, Ortiz is 19-under and Thomas is 18-under.
– Hovland saves the 458-yard, par-4 18th, defends his title and wins his third career PGA Tour crown. It ends at 23-under, Ortiz at 19-under and Thomas at 18-under.
The last word
“It’s about getting better and better all the time. He knows he has a chance to be a great player out here and he’s well on his way. ”- Curt Byrum on the Golf Channel on Hovland
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