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Viktor Hovland secures victory at the BMW Championship with a remarkable course record of 61.Viktor Hovland secures victory at the BMW Championship with a remarkable course record of 61.

Viktor Hovland secures victory at the BMW Championship with a remarkable course record of 61.

Publish – 21 aug , 2023

In an awe-inspiring performance on the back nine at Olympia Fields, Viktor Hovland flawlessly executed every shot as he desired. Rory McIlroy meticulously documented Hovland’s achievements, consistently marking “3” in nearly every box on the scorecard.

Sunday witnessed Hovland’s career-defining round, a pivotal moment where a two-man contest transformed into a sole triumphant display. With a stunning 9-under 61, he shattered the course record, overtaking competitors Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick to seize victory at the BMW Championship.

Throughout the week, the rain-softened North course saw the establishment of a previous record of 62, twice accomplished by Sam Burns and Max Homa in preceding days. Hovland’s performance neared perfection as he managed to birdie all but two holes on the back nine.

Reflecting on the crucial turning point, Hovland shared, “As I sank the birdie putt on the 15th hole, I felt a surge of confidence that we were in contention if I could maintain a strong finish.” He further acknowledged his uncertainty about the unfolding events behind him, emphasizing his focus on playing well and continually scoring birdies.

However, the events behind him failed to match his spectacle. Scottie Scheffler, for all his successful putts, faltered at crucial moments – missing a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th that would have kept him in stride with Hovland, followed by a disappointing three-putt from 20 feet on the 17th, resulting in a bogey.

During his round, Fitzpatrick encountered an eight-hole stretch in the middle that resulted in a 1-over score. However, his late-game resurgence with two birdies ensured he remained competitive. He and Scheffler concluded with impressive 66s, sharing the second-place position and departing Chicago with a sense of powerlessness.

Reflecting on the outcome, Fitzpatrick humorously shared, “There’s no countering a 61. I just spoke with Viktor – I jokingly called him a rascal. But personally, I’m delighted to have once again performed well. I faced the final round in contention alongside the world No. 1, and I managed to maintain my standing. It was someone else who made the comeback and clinched the victory.”

Even with the softened turf, Scheffler was left amazed by the remarkably low scores and could only offer his admiration to Hovland, especially considering it was a Sunday. Hovland’s closing round marked the lowest score by a PGA Tour winner throughout the year, establishing a new career record for the 25-year-old Norwegian sensation.

Viktor Hovland secures victory at the BMW Championship with a remarkable course record of 61.
Viktor Hovland’s final-round 61 has fired him to the BMW Championship at Chicago’s Olympia Fields. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

Viktor Hovland secures victory at the BMW Championship with a remarkable course record of 61.

Expressing his feelings, Scheffler shared, “I’m feeling a bit frustrated, I believe that’s the apt description. Viktor went out there and simply outperformed me today, delivering a fantastic round. I can hold my head high – I gave it my all on the course today and fought tenaciously. In the end, I fell just a couple of shots short.”

Hovland secured his second victory of the year, and his performance was nothing short of exceptional.

He faced just a single putt beyond 15 feet throughout the back nine. Concluding his round, he clinched birdies on the 17th and 18th – both considered the course’s most challenging holes. His last stroke involved a pitching wedge from 158 yards, deftly placing the ball 6 feet from the hole on the 18th, securing one final birdie.

Hovland expressed, “Without a doubt, that’s the finest round I’ve ever played. Given the circumstances – a playoff event on this particular golf course – the way I executed those final holes was truly remarkable.”

However, the true drama unfolded elsewhere.

Jordan Spieth, finishing with a 71, stumbled on the last two holes, placing him on the brink of dropping out of the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings. These are the players who advance to the Tour Championship at East Lake the following week. Denny McCarthy, on the other hand, encountered three bogeys in his final seven holes, resulting in his exit from contention.

A particularly heart-wrenching fate befell Sahith Theegala. A run of three consecutive birdies leading up to the 17th hole had him projected to enter the top 30. Unfortunately, he took a bogey on the last hole while Patrick Cantlay, his playing partner, secured a birdie. This tie for 15th place, marked by the bogey-birdie sequence, marked the end of Theegala’s season.

Sepp Straka secured the 30th spot, edging out Theegala by a margin of nine points.

In his commendable round of 68, Xander Schauffele did enough to tie for eighth place, securing sufficient earnings to narrowly clinch the sixth and final automatic position on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Although Schauffele was assured of a captain’s pick, his placement shifted PGA champion Brooks Koepka from No. 5 to No. 7 in the Ryder Cup standings.

With just nine days remaining, U.S. captain Zach Johnson will make his six selections.

Scheffler, boasting six birdies, maintained his lead until late in the day. However, his performance was marred by three putts from 6 feet or less that he missed over the final eight holes.

Scheffler did find solace in a minor victory – he secured the No. 1 seed at East Lake for the second consecutive year. Consequently, he will start the tournament at 10 under par, holding a 2-shot advantage over Hovland.

Finishing fourth at the BMW Championship with a round of 66, McIlroy claims the No. 3 seed, with Jon Rahm and Lucas Glover following suit.

Reflecting on his performance alongside Viktor, McIlroy admitted, “Comparing my play to Viktor’s, I felt quite ordinary out there. He displayed an astonishing game.” Amusingly, he added, “As I marked his card, I realized he only made one par-4 on the back nine, the rest being birdies. It adds up to a neat 28 for him.”

Around the 14th and 15th holes, the realization struck McIlroy that something truly extraordinary was unfolding on the course.

Throughout the lengthy six-hour Sunday showdown, amid the array of FedEx Cup scenarios, it was Fitzpatrick who successfully secured a place among the top 30 golfers advancing to Atlanta for a shot at the $18 million prize. Starting from the 40th position, he managed to elevate himself to an impressive No. 10 spot.

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