- MEXICO’S PLAYA DEL CARMEN :
- iktor Hovland won on the PGA Tour for the second time, this time without a playoff. In the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba on Sunday, the Norwegian star was just too dominant to give anyone else a chance.
With three birdies on the front nine, Hovland took command and never let Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, or anybody else come within three strokes the rest of the way.
He finished with a 4-under 67 to beat Carlos Ortiz of Mexico by four shots, becoming the first repeat champion since Mayakoba began in 2007.
Last year, Hovland won by one stroke with a birdie putt on the 18th hole. When he won the Puerto Rico Open in the spring of 2020, he also made birdie on his last hole.
This time, there was no need for it. Everyone was vying for second place throughout the final two hours.
“I wish I could putt like I did today more regularly,” Hovland said of his week at El Camaleon, where he produced 28 birdies. “It was a blast the entire week.”
Hovland finished with a score of 23-under 261 and is now ranked No. 10 in the world.
Ortiz finished alone in second after a 30-foot par putt following a plugged lie in the bunker on the 18th hole, a difference of $144,000 if he had two-putted for bogey and tied with Thomas, who also saved for a 69.
Thomas had an early bogey and didn’t make as many birdies as Hovland to make up a three-shot deficit, especially considering Hovland’s putting.
“I just didn’t drive it well,” Thomas said. “I didn’t get off to a good enough start to really put any pressure on Viktor.”
Scheffler, who starred on the closing day of the Ryder Cup and is hoping for his first PGA Tour triumph, was the most formidable opponent. It wasn’t going to be a good day on Sunday.
Scheffler missed two short-range birdie putts before making an 18-foot birdie on the 12th to close the gap to three strokes. Hovland responded with a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 9, regaining a four-shot lead.
Scheffler made eagle with a chip just right of the 13th green that hit the pin and rebounded about 5 feet away. Moments later, Hovland nailed an 18-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole.
Scheffler was the first to blink. On the 16th hole, his tee shot went right into the mangroves. After a penalty drop, he did well to get it up to the green, only to have muck on his ball and watch his long pitch go over the back onto the collar, resulting in a double bogey.
Scheffler finished fourth after shooting a 66.
“Viktor plays really terrific golf,” Scheffler said, “so he’ll definitely be difficult to catch.” “Towards the end, I needed to make a few more birdies and wasn’t able to do so.”
Matthew Wolff, the 36-hole leader who was knocked out of contention after a 74 in the third round, had a 65 on Sunday to tie for sixth with Joaquin Niemann (66).
Hovland is the PGA Tour’s fifth foreign-born winner in a row, following Sungjae Im of South Korea’s victory in Las Vegas. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, and Lucas Herbert of Australia were his competitors.