Eight days after he won the BMW Championship, another virtuoso performance gave Viktor Hovland his sixth PGA TOUR victory and the FedExCup as he became the first Norwegian in golf history to claim the PGA TOUR’s ultimate prize.
Hovland’s performance at the Playoffs Finale, the TOUR Championship was sensational, particularly on the weekend when he shot 66 on Saturday to open a six-stroke lead over Xander Schauffele. And he closed with a 63 that would have been Sunday’s low score had the American not nipped him by one in their entertaining duel.
That round of 7-under was Hovland’s 11th straight sub-70 round and one of the 37 he fired this year. Hovland, who didn’t miss a cut in 23 starts this season – and finished 25th or better in all but five – put together a 64.33 scoring average in the final round of the Playoffs, better than anyone in FedExCup history.
Hovland led the field in Driving Accuracy for the second straight week – the only player to do so at the BMW Championship and TOUR Championship in the same season since the Playoffs began in 2007. His 68.45 percentage for the three post-season events was the best ever by a FedExCup champion.
And continuing another trend, he hit 76.39 percent of his greens in regulation during the Playoffs, better than any other FedExCup champion. Hovland’s proximity to the hole average of 25 feet, 8 inches was second only to Rory McIlroy’s tally of last year among players who took home the season-ending bonus.
He was no slouch on the greens, either. Hovland ranked first in average distance of putts made (90 feet, 4 inches) and putting outside 10 feet (25.81 percent) to lead players in the Playoffs with at least six rounds. Those numbers contrasted with his season average of 153rd and 59th, respectively.
Small wonder, then, that he gained 13.36 total strokes on the field during the BMW Championship and TOUR Championship, which was the most of any player since 2007. His sixth victory came in just his 98th start and added to his first multiple win-season that also included the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday “I feel like I’ve taken a lot of steps this season,” said Hovland, who moved to No. 4 in the world. “… And then obviously the last couple weeks have just superseded that. It’s been pretty surreal.”
Hovland races to BMW Championship prize
Viktor Hovland used a near-flawless final round of 61 to power past world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and former U.S. Open champ Matt Fitzpatrick and win the BMW Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs penultimate event. The victory vaulted him to second in the standings entering the final week at East Lake.
The round of 9 under was the lowest of Hovland’s career and the lowest by a winner this season on TOUR. Not to mention, no one has ever shot lower in the final round of any event in the FedExCup Playoffs, which began in 2007 – when Hovland was 10 years old!
Hovland, who trailed by three entering the final round, made 10 birdies on Sunday and more than doubled his birdie or better percentage in the first three rounds (24.1 to 55.6) “I sort of realized around like 14, 15 something pretty special was happening,” Rory McIlroy, who played with Hovland, said.
The stellar Sunday enabled the 25-year-old Norwegian to gain 7.69 strokes on the field, the fifth most during a final round ever in the FedExCup Playoffs.
Glover strikes gold at FedEx St. Jude Championship
With his victory at the Wyndham Championship, Lucas Glover was the only player to play his way into the first Playoffs event. Precariously perched at No. 49, one shy of advancing another week, though, Glover knew he had work to do at TPC Southwind.
Once again, the veteran took advantage of the par 4s, playing them in 8 under, which tied for the best among the 70 players in the field. Overall, though, the normally steady 43-year-old struggled to find greens in regulation, hitting just 63.89 percent to rank tied for 37th in the field. The new-found confidence in his broomstick putter, though, alleviated some of the pressure. Glover was able to get up-and-down 23 times in 26 attempts to lead in the field in Memphis.
Sunday was particularly key as he only hit nine greens in regulation but made only one bogey – that coming on a 30-foot putt. He also made par-saves of 20 and 11 feet on the back nine on Sunday when he used just 25 putts total for the round. When he beat Patrick Cantlay with a par on the first hole of sudden death, Glover had more victories in his 40s (3) than his 20s (2) and his first two consecutively.
Drought ends for Glover at Wyndham Championship
Lucas Glover has always been known as the consummate ball-striker — “Anybody who’s ever listened to him hit a golf ball knows he’s different,” Max Homa once said. But Glover’s overall play in the last decade has been inconsistent, and the 2009 U.S. Open champion admitted he’s battled what he characterized as the yips.
A last-ditch switch to a broomstick putter in June (when he ranked 185th in the FedExCup), though, has paid dividends and nowhere was it more evident than at Sedgefield County Club. Glover dominated the par 4s, playing them in 13 under, which was best in the field and second best in any tournament in his career. Interestingly, three of the four times he’s shot 12 under or better on the par 4s, he’s gone on to win.
He gave himself plenty of birdie chances, too, hitting 65 of 72 greens in regulation, one shy of the most at the Wyndham since 1983. And his final round 68 on the Donald Ross gem was his 18th straight at par or better in his last five starts for a total of 80 under. Taking a deeper dive on the par 4s, Glover ranked first in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green (picking up 6.87 shots on the field), Tee-to-Green (+10.54) and Total (+14.67). He also ranked fourth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (+3.42) on the par 4s.
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