As recently as last summer, finishing 19th in a major would have been a solid result for Viktor Hovland. He had played well, but never contended, in one of golf’s four big events.
Now, it feels like a disappointment. The Norwegian had contended in the previous three majors, taking T-4th at the 2022 Open Championship; and this year with T-7th at the Masters and T-2nd at the PGA Championship.
Hovland had a respectable showing last week at Los Angeles Country Club with rounds of 69-70-69-72, he just couldn’t quite get close enough to be a factor on the weekend. He admitted he wasn’t a big fan of the course, so maybe a change of pace will be good for Hovland.
Nonetheless, it continues an excellent season highlighted by his win at a designated event a couple weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament.
Hovland owns the second-longest active made-cuts streak on the PGA Tour at 21. He’s finished top 20 in four straight starts and has finished outside the top 50 just once all season.
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy is making his third start at the Travelers Championship. He took T-54th (67-71-68-73) in 2019 and T-11th (63-69-67-68) in 2020.
"“…there was a couple par-5s that are decent looks and a couple short par-4s where if you hit some decent shots, you’re going to have fairly easy birdies, but if you don’t hit them and you make par on those holes, then you’re kind of, oh, man, I’ve got to get it somewhere else, and that’s kind of when you’re in trouble,” Hovland assessed TPC River Highlands in a 2020 ASAP Sports transcription."
The rough doesn’t expect to be overly penal this week, but a fairly tight course will lead to some recovery shots. Hovland is first on the tour in proximity from the rough (37’1”).
He’s also 13th in total strokes gained per round (1.443), including seventh off-the-tee (.717) and 10th in approach (.661).