Viktor Hovland won his fifth PGA Tour title with a stunning two-shot victory at the BMW Championship. Hovland sets new course record with final round of 61 to hold off Scotty Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick at Illinois
With Ali Stafford
6:37, UK, Monday 21 August 2023
Viktor Hovland believes he has turned his career round so far to grab a dramatic victory over world No 1 Scottie Scheffler and Ryder Cup teammate Matt Fitzpatrick at the BMW Championship.
Hovland overturned a three-under deficit during a remarkable final day at Olympic Fields Country Club, where he birdied seven of his last nine holes to set a new course record with a stunning nine-under 61.
The fast finish saw the Norwegian star finish two clear of Scheffler and Fitzpatrick, with his fifth PGA Tour title also seeing him jump to second in the season-ending FedExCup standings on the Tour Championship.
Asked where that round ranked in his career, Hovland said Sky Sports: “It has to be number one. I remember playing a very special round of golf my first year [the PGA] Tour, I shot seven under at Torrey Pines when it was hail and windy and raining and that’s probably the best I’ve ever hit in a round.
“But to shoot 61 and shoot 28 on the back nine on this golf course and in those conditions, I don’t have anything that beats that.”
Hovland, who combined for 10 birdies with a solitary bogey, added: “I thought if I posted a score like I did yesterday (65) I could at least have a chance, but it’s tough when you have so many guys in front of you who are really good. Getting hot on the back nine was what I needed to do.”
The 25-year-old was playing alongside Ryder Cup teammate and FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy, who finished the week five strokes back in fourth after a four-under 66 on Sunday.
“I felt like I played pretty average out there next to Victor [Hovland],” McIlroy said. “He played amazing. I was marking his card in there and I’m like, “oh, you only made one four on the back nine, the rest three,” so it adds up to a nice little 28 for him. It was great to see. He played great. I kind of realized around 14, 15 something very special was happening.
“He [Hovland] he’s had some big wins already this year. He had a great opportunity at the PGA Championship. I didn’t make it, but yes, he’s a world-class player and I’m looking forward to him being in my Ryder Cup team in a few weeks.”
Scheffler held at least a share of the lead for most of the final day before disappearing over the closing holes, with the six-time PGA Tour winner left stunned by how Hovland closed out the tournament.
“It’s a pretty amazing round of golf to win this tournament like that,” Scheffler said of Hovland’s 61. “I still don’t understand how the scores were so low this week. This place looks really tough to me, but the guys are just 61 is a fantastic round, especially with the pressure of Sunday.
“I’m a bit disappointed. I think that would be the way to describe it. I mean, Victor came out and really beat me today and played a fantastic round. I can hold my head up – I did my best out there today and fought tough. I just finally hit some shots.”
Fitzpatrick started the week outside the top-30 in the FedExCup standings but secured his place at East Lake by claiming a share of second, with the former US Open champion having no complaints about narrowly missing out on victory.
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“I can’t do anything about 61,” Fitzpatrick said. “I just saw Victor [Hovland], I was calling him some s***! But for me, I’m very pleased again that I played very well in the final round in the dispute with the world No. 1 and didn’t lose him.
“Somebody else came from behind and won it – can’t do anything about it. I feel like my game is definitely in better shape than it was and I’m looking forward to next week and working on it a little bit more.”
The PGA Tour season culminates Thursday in the Tour Championship, where only the top 30 in the FedExCup standings are featured and players are given a stroke advantage based on their position.
Scheffler will start with a two-shot lead over Hovland and McIlroy will start at seven under in third, while Jon Rahm starts in fourth ahead of Lucas Glover.
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