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Viktor Hovland Sets Course Record With 61 To Win BMW Championship


On the back nine at Olympia Fields, Viktor Hovland continued to strike each shot exactly how he desired. Hovland’s card was being kept by Rory McIlroy, who continued to mark “3” in nearly every box.

Hovland turned a two-man race into a one-man show on Sunday by shooting the greatest round of his career, a 9-under 61, to break the course record and win the BMW Championship by edging off Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Sam Burns and Max Homa both set the previous record of 62 earlier this week on the rain-softened North course. Hovland came so close to hitting every hole in the bag on the back nine that he only missed two.

“When I made the putt on 15 for birdie, I felt like, ‘OK, we’ve got a chance now if I can finish pretty well,'” Hovland said. “Then you never know what’s going to happen behind you. … Until then, I had no idea what was going on. I was just going to try to play well and keep making birdies.”

Behind him, nothing unusual occurred. When it counted most, Scheffler missed putts from 6 feet on the par-3 16th to stay with Hovland and a three-putt from 20 feet on the 17th for bogey. Scheffler made enough putts to lead by two at one time.

Fitzpatrick played eight holes in a row at 1 over par in the middle of his round, and two birdies in the final eight holes at least kept him in the match. He and Scheffler both finished with 66 to tie for second and feel defeated as they depart Chicago.

“Can’t do anything about 61. I did just see Viktor — I called him a little s—,” 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.”

Scheffler was perplexed by the low scores, even on soft turf, and could only give Hovland praise, especially on a Sunday. The 25-year-old Norwegian star shot a career-best final round, the lowest on the PGA Tour this year.

“I’m just a bit frustrated. I think that would be the way to describe it,” Scheffler said. “Viktor went out and really just beat me today and played a fantastic round. I can hold my head high. I did my best out there today and fought hard. Just ultimately came up a couple shots short.”

Hovland triumphed for the second time this year while looking better than ever.

On the back nine, he only had one putt that was longer than 15 feet. The two hardest holes were the 17th and 18th, where he made birdies to finish. On the 18th, he finished with a pitching wedge from 158 yards over the bunker to 6 feet for one more 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.”

It became out that the drama originated elsewhere.

Jordan Spieth completed his final two holes with bogeys for a score of 71 and was in danger of dropping out of the top 30 FedEx Cup players who advance to East Lake for the Tour Championship the following week. Denny McCarthy, though, dropped out after making three bogeys in his final seven holes.

Sahith Theegala’s destiny was the cruelest of all. He was predicted to finish in the top 30 after making three straight birdies through the 17th hole. But Patrick Cantlay from his group made birdie on the final hole, while he made bogey. That bogey-birdie combination was sufficient to finish Theegala’s season because they tied for 15th.

Sepp Straka beat Theegala by nine points to claim the 30th position.

In his round of 68, Xander Schauffele played well enough to tie for eighth place and earn enough money to just secure the final automatic position on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Although Schauffele was a lock for one of the six captain’s picks, Brooks Koepka, the PGA winner, dropped from No. 5 to No. 7 in the Ryder Cup standings as a result of his performance.

In nine days, American skipper Zach Johnson makes his six selections.

Despite missing three putts from 6 feet or less over the course of the final eight holes, Scheffler had six birdies and never lost the lead until the afternoon.

In a little consolation, Scheffler is the top seed at East Lake for the second consecutive year. As a result, he begins the competition at 10 under par, two shots better than Hovland.

The No. 3 seed is McIlroy, who shot 66 and placed fourth in the BMW Championship, ahead of Jon Rahm and Lucas Glover.

“I sort of realized around like 14, 15, something pretty special was happening.”

Fitzpatrick was the only golfer to climb into the top 30 players heading to Atlanta for a chance at the $18 million bonus out of all the FedEx Cup scenarios that played out over the course of almost six hours on Sunday. He began at position 40 and advanced to position ten.

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