- Hovland keeps head to win as Schauffele’s 62 runs him close
- McIlroy returns to fitness
- Ryder Cup teams to be finalised
Norwegian golfer Viktor Hovland clinched an impressive victory at the Tour Championship and secured the coveted FedEx Cup title at East Lake in Atlanta.
Hovland had entered the final round with a six-stroke lead, but Xander Schauffele’s brilliant performance, shooting a 62, put pressure on him, closing the gap to just three strokes with six holes remaining.
However, Hovland’s nerves prevailed as he sank birdies on the last three holes, ultimately winning by a substantial five-stroke margin, finishing on an outstanding 27 under par. His triumph not only earned him the prestigious title but also $18 million (£14.1 million) in prize money.
Hovland and Scheuffele both in top form as Norwegian comes out on top
In the wake of his victory, Hovland humbly expressed his feelings: “It’s pretty surreal to be standing here right now.” He revealed that his initial game plan was to maintain a steady approach and let Schauffele take more risks. However, as Schauffele charged early on, Hovland had to adapt his strategy.
Both Hovland and Schauffele had explosive starts after a delay due to adverse weather, each picking up four birdies in their opening six holes. Schauffele continued to make birdie putts on the eighth, 11th, and 12th holes, narrowing the gap to a mere three strokes. Hovland managed to hold his ground with key par saves and even converted a remarkable 23-foot putt on the 14th to maintain his advantage.
Hovland’s pivotal moment came on the 16th hole, where he secured his fifth birdie of the day, ending a streak of nine pars. He sealed his victory with two more birdies on the 17th and 18th holes, achieving his sixth PGA Tour win and the most significant triumph of his career in this season-ending tournament.
Schauffele also performed admirably, concluding the tournament at 22 under par and claiming the runner-up prize of $6.5 million (£5.2 million) from the impressive $75 million (£59.5 million) bonus pool. Wyndham Clark, the US Open champion, secured third place with a score of 16 under.
McIIroy on road to recovery ahead of Ryder Cup
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy, a three-time champion, battled through a back injury throughout the week. He concluded the tournament with a five-under 65, securing fourth place at 14 under par. Despite his injury struggles, McIlroy expressed satisfaction that his back had considerably improved, raising hopes for his fitness ahead of the forthcoming Ryder Cup. The Northern Irishman has consistently performed well this year and punters should note that if he is fully fit then he will be a big asset to Europe and possibly a player worth backing in the singles.
Ryder Cup teams to be finalised
The Ryder Cup, scheduled at the Marco Simone Golf Club near Rome from September 29 to October 1, will be a key event in the golf calendar. The teams, representing Europe and the United States, are on the brink of finalisation. Captain Zach Johnson will soon announce his six wildcard picks for the US team, while Europe’s qualification process concludes after the European Masters, with Luke Donald revealing his six captain’s picks shortly after. The anticipation builds as golf enthusiasts eagerly await this prestigious tournament.
Punters should note that key men for both sides are showing positive signs and should use tournaments such as this to monitor form.