Long seen as a rising star on the PGA Tour, Viktor Hovland has officially arrived.
Hovland ran away with the Tour Championship and lifted the FedEx Cup trophy for the first time in his young career on Sunday evening in Atlanta.
The Norwegian entered the day with a six-shot advantage over Xander Schauffele and never let that margin become smaller than three. Hovland turned in a final-round 63 at East Lake Golf Club to finish at 27-under 261, while Schauffele fired a 62 but landed at 22 under for the week.
Hovland, 25, won the PGA Tour’s season-long points race and won $18 million in the process. He shot a final-round 61 last week to win the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the BMW Championship, which vaulted him to second place (8 under) to start the Tour Championship.
Hovland and Schauffele each birdied four of their first six holes Sunday to separate from the rest of the field. Schauffele found an even higher gear, making putts of 11, 18 and 12 feet for three more birdies at Nos. 8, 11 and 12 to close the gap.
But Hovland held his ground by saving par for nine straight holes. The most critical may have been at the par-4 14th, when Schauffele was already in with a 4 and Hovland sank a curling, right-to-left par putt from 23 feet out.
Hovland then slammed the door with birdies at Nos. 16, 17 and 18, and Schauffele’s reservoir of birdies ran out until the 18th.
Schauffele recorded his 28th consecutive round of par or better at East Lake, but it wasn’t enough to help him overtake the entire field. He began the week seven shots off the pace at 3 under. He settled for a $6.5 million second prize.
U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark shot a 65 to finish third at 16 under and win $5 million.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, last year’s FedEx Cup champ, birdied five of his final seven holes to post a 65 and place fourth at 14 under. Patrick Cantlay (66) was fifth at 13 under.
—Field Level Media
Original source here
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