Victor Hovland is aiming for the BMW Championship

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Illinois (AP) — Victor Hovland pitched the best timed round of his career, making a birdie on all but two holes in the back nine Sundays for a 9-under 61 to break the course record at Olympia Fields and pass Scotty Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick To win the BMW Championship.

What seemed like a two-man race between Scheffler and Fitzpatrick turned into a one-man show for Hovland. He headed back with nine bullets behind him. In the end, Scheffler and Fitzpatrick had to climb out of the lane to catch him.

They both finished with 66 points, which is usually enough to win on a day like this. They had to settle for second place behind Hovland, who won for the second time this year and has never looked better.

Hovland only had one putt longer than 15 feet on the back nine. He closed with birdie on the 17th and 18th, his two hardest holes, and finished by getting close to 6 feet from the bunker on the 18th for another birdie.

“This has got to be the best tour I’ve ever played,” Hovland said. “Because of the circumstances – a playoff, this golf course – the way I played the last holes was very special.”

Turns out, the drama came from everywhere else.

Jordan Spieth bogeyed his last two holes for 71 and was about to fall out of the top 30 in the FedEx Cup arriving in Eastlake next week for the Tour Championship. But then Denny McCarthy made a three-bogey on the last seven holes to come out.

Sahith Thigala was the strongest of all. He ran three straight birdies through the 17th hole and was expected to be in the top 30. But he took a bogey on the last hole, while Patrick Cantlay made a birdie in his group. They were tied for 15th place, and this combination of bravery and birdie was enough to end Theegala’s season.

Sepp Straka ended up finishing 30th, nine points behind Thigala.

Xander Schauffele did enough in his turn 68 to tie for eighth, and earn enough money to narrowly claim the sixth and final automatic spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Scheufele was sure to land one of the six captain’s picks, but his finish moved PGA Champion Brooks Koepka from fifth to seventh in the Ryder Cup standings.

United States captain Zack Johnson makes his six draft picks in nine days.

Scheffler had a six birdie and didn’t fall from the lead until late in the day, although he was haunted by three putts from 6 feet or closer than he missed on the final eight holes.

The world’s No. 1 player missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 16th that would have tied him with Hovland. On the next hole, the 20-foot Scheffler putt 4 1/2 feet by the hole, missed the par putt to fall two shots behind.

Against all odds, Fitzpatrick was the only player to make his way into the top 30 and head to Atlanta for the FedEx Cup Final. He started at No. 40 and moved up to No. 10.

“I can’t do anything about 61,” Fitzpatrick said with a smile. “I just saw Victor – I called him a little (expletive).” “But for me, I’m really happy again because I played really well, in the last round of competition with the world number one, and I didn’t lose it. Someone else came from behind and won it.”

Scheffler, in small consolation, is the #1 seed in Eastlake for the second year in a row. That means he starts the tournament 10-under-par, two shots ahead of Hovland.

Rory McIlroy, who shot 66 points and finished fourth in the BMW Championship, is the No. 3 seed, followed by John Rahm and Lucas Glover.


AP Golf: