One appearance and one win for Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian made the most of his Hero World Challenge debut, firing 68-69-67-66 to emerge from a crowded leaderboard and win by one over Scottie Scheffler.
"“Yeah, there’s not that many similarities to Norway, so I don’t really get it myself, but yeah, I don’t know. Usually there’s trouble off the tee and you’ve got to hit it straight, I think that helps,” Hovland was transcribed by Tee Scripts in 2021. “But frankly, the grass here, the Paspalum and the Bermuda, is not something that I’m very used to, so I don’t know. For some reason I just play well here.”"
It’s been an interesting year for Hovland. He won early on the DP World Tour at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic. Then, on the PGA Tour, he collected three straight top-10s, including a near miss at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where Scottie Scheffler got revenge on Hovland to knock Hovland to T-2nd.
Hovland made plenty of cuts after that but failed to get back in the top 10 until The Open Championship. A T-4th was his best finish in a major, though it still came with disappointment as he squandered his chance playing in the final pairing on Sunday.
Even a down year saw the 25-year-old easily make the Tour Championship and remain in or around the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy seems to be in good form this fall. He’s finished top-35 in his last 10 events and took T-5th at the BMW PGA Championship in England and T-5th at the ZOZO Championship in Japan.
We last saw Hovland at the DP World Tour Championship a couple weeks ago where he took T-23rd.
Good approach play is rewarded this week at Albany. Hovland was 15th on the PGA Tour last season in strokes gained approach per round (.606).
He also made great strides on the greens. Hovland jumped from 115th (-.048) in SG putting in 2019-20 to 99th (.054) in 2020-21 to 25th (.389) last year. The short game still has a way to go, but a trusty putter can cover up a lot of blemishes.