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Sensational Hovland Wins Second PGA Tour Title

By: | Mon 07 Dec 2020 | Comments

Viktor Hovland hit a nine iron to 12 feet to birdie the final hole and secure the Mayakoba Classic, his second PGA Tour title, by one shot from Aaron Wise at El Camaleon GC.

Hovland carded a final-round, six-under 65 – including three birdies in his final six holes – to finish the tournament on 20-under.

The 23-year-old Norwegian becomes just the fifth European player to earn multiple Tour titles before turning 24. He joins some pretty elite company in Rory McIlroy, Seve Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm.

Hovland earned his first title at the Puerto Rico Open in February, where he holed a 25-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to finish one ahead of Josh Teater.

Here, he got up-and-down from a greenside bunker on the 515-yard, par-four 16th to stay tied with Wise, then became the first player to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic with a 72nd-hole birdie in the event’s 14-year history.

Hovland earned his Tour card last year via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, after watching Matthew Wolff (3M Open) and Collin Morikawa (Barracuda Championship) gain immediate membership via victories.

And just 15 months after earning his card, he now stands third in the FedExCup standings.

“I feel like it’s just a personality trait, being kind of easygoing,” said Hovland. “I don’t like to worry about things, even though worry happens. I think you get it through practice and confidence in your abilities.

“It’s definitely a learned skill. I’m usually pretty bad at most things that I do, but if I get hooked on something, I’m going to put down some time and effort, until I feel like I can do it well. Golf has been one of those things.”

Hovland has yet to miss a cut since golf returned after the lockdown. He has made 16 starts in that time, with 11 top-25 finishes.

“During the lockdown I spent a lot of time on YouTube  just learning about stuff,” Hovland said. “I was into some fad diets, just weird stuff, just trying out to see how my body would feel. Figured out that’s not it. Going through more conventional nutrition, figuring out what I need to eat. Eating more protein, a little less fat, very basic stuff. A little more frequent meals instead of eating just two times a day.

“In Puerto Rico, I was doing intermittent fasting, and a couple of tee times, it was like 1pm and I hadn’t eaten the whole day. My early tee times, I teed off at 7am and finished after midday and didn’t have anything to eat before that. I don’t think that was the way to go for me.”

Since that breakthrough Puerto Rico Open title, Hovland believes his game has improved. He has gained distance from the tee – “practicing swinging hard, dedicating 20 minutes to just hitting it as hard as I can.” He has improved his short game, now using a 10-finger grip for chip shots within 30 or 40 yards. And the stats confirm that his putting has also improved. He is surely a shoo-in for Europe’s Ryder Cup team next year.

Two years ago, Hovland made his Tour debut at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and missed the cut by a stroke. Last year, he again missed the cut by one. But this time he made no mistake.

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Tags: PGA Tour FedEx Cup

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