In his first appearance at El Camaleón Golf Club in 2019, Viktor Hovland didn’t stick around for the weekend.
In his second, he might just take the title.
The 23-year-old is in good position to win his second PGA Tour event after carding an 8-under 63 Saturday at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Coming off rounds of 67 and 69 at El Camaleón, Hovland began his day with a bogey on No. 1, but quickly shook it off. He rattled off five birdies, including three straight from Nos. 5-7 to finish the front nine 4 under and added four more on the back nine — three more consecutively on Nos. 15-17 — to finish the day matching his lowest round on Tour.
While the 2019 Ben Hogan Award winner walked off the course in second at 14 under, the missed opportunities from Saturday were fresh on his mind. Emiliano Grillo still leads the way at 16 under and Tom Hoge snuck past Hovland in second at 15 under. Justin Thomas, who shot a 62 Saturday, and Patrick Rodgers are T-5 at 12 under.
“I was able to hit a lot of good iron shots today and had a lot of close looks for birdie and honestly missed my fair share of them today,” Hovland said. “I was really solid tee to green and luckily, in the end, I was able to take advantage of some of the good approaches.”
Hovland, the former Oklahoma State star who turned pro last year and won his first Tour title at the 2020 Puerto Rico Open, said the tee shot on El Camaleón’s first hole was difficult so he wasn’t beating himself up about his sole blemish of the day. He bogeyed the par-4 first in the second round as well.
After making the cut early Saturday following the second round’s suspension due to darkness Friday evening, Hovland extended his streak of cuts made on Tour to 17, trailing only Rory McIlroy (23) and Xander Schuaffele (18).
One of the young rising stars on Tour who’s often mentioned in the company of U.S. Open runner-up Matthew Wolff and PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, it’s only a matter of time before Hovland earns his second win. Last season after the Tour’s 13-week break due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hovland played in 11 events, recording seven top-25s including a T-3 at the Workday Charity Open.
This season, he has competed in four events, with his most notable finish a T-13 at the U.S. Open and most recently, T-15 at the Vivint Houston Open.
Hovland’s round Saturday in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, continued to boost his confidence in his second year as a pro.
“I feel like I’m a lot closer. I feel like I’ve given myself a better chance to have rounds like this more often,” Hovland said. “And chipping it a little bit better, I’m putting it a little bit better so I don’t have to have so many things go my way to shoot a 63. Obviously, I still have things go your way but it’s not as much and I’m just kind of increasing my chances to play better every day.”
Hopefully for Hovland, that confidence continues Sunday for the final 18 holes.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/05/pga-tour-viktor-hovland-mayakoba-golf-classic/