Viktor Hovland shoots course record 61 to capture BMW Championship

OLYMPIA FIELDS, IL (AP) — Viktor Hovland kept hitting every shot just the way he wanted on the back nine at Olympia Fields. Rory McIlroy was keeping his card and kept writing “3” in just about every box.

Hovland delivered the best round of his career at just the right time Sunday, turning a two-man race into a one-man show by breaking the course record with a 9-under 61 to surge past Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick and win the BMW Championship.

The previous mark of 62 had been set twice this week on the rain-softened North course, by Sam Burns and Max Homa the previous two days. Hovland was so close to perfection that he birdied all but two holes on the back nine.


What happened behind him was nothing special. Scheffler holed enough putts to lead by two at one point, but he missed the ones that really mattered — 6 feet for birdie on the par-3 16th to stay with Hovland, and then a three-putt from 20 feet on the 17th for bogey.

Fitzpatrick had an eight-hole stretch in the middle of his round that he played in 1 over, and then two birdies late at least kept him in the game. He and Scheffler each closed with 66 to share second place and leave Chicago feeling helpless.

“Can’t do anything about 61. I did just see Viktor — I called him a little (expletive),” Fitzpatrick said with a grin. “But for me, just really pleased again that I played really well, final round in contention with world No. 1, and I didn’t lose it. Someone else came from behind and won it.”

Even on soft turf, Scheffler was mystified by the low scores and could only applaud Hovland, especially on a Sunday. It was the lowest closing round by a PGA Tour winner this year, and a career-best for the 25-year-old Norwegian star.

Hovland won for the second time this year and never looked better doing it.

He only had one putt longer than 15 feet on the back nine. He closed with birdies on the 17th and 18th, the two hardest holes, finishing with a pitching wedge from 158 yards over the bunker to 6 feet on the 18th for one last birdie.

“That has to be the best round I’ve ever played,” Hovland said. “Given the circumstances — a playoff event, this golf course — the way I played the last holes was pretty special.”

Turns out the drama came from everywhere else.

Fairways Magazine

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