Viktor Hovland captures BMW Championship with record 61

The Norwegian was 133rd in scoring on the final matchday of the season, but made history by winning from behind.

By Cameron Morfitt


OLYMPIA FIELDS, Illinois — Victor Hovland and his bearer, Shay Knight, had a tough conversation last week, after Hovland hit a T13 final 69 at the FedEx St. Louis Cardinals. Jude.

At 133rd for the season in PGA Tour Finals scoring average, the young Norwegian felt like he wasn’t doing his Sundays well.

Well, a lot to all of that.

Hovland made 10 birdies and one bogey for a career-record 61 runs—including a 7-under-par 28 on the nine defenses—and a come-from-behind, two-shot victory over Scotty Scheffler (66) and Matt Fitpatrick (66) at the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields.

Highlights from Viktor Hovland’s fourth round of the BMW Championship

“Winning in a place like this and among the best players in the world, it’s pretty amazing,” said Hovland, whose fifth PGA Tour win moved him from seventh to second in the FedExCup. “And to do it this way, seven birdies made another nine holes…”

It was the lowest Tour winner’s finish of the season, the lowest in Hovland’s career, and the lowest Final Round score in FedExCup Playoffs history. He hit 12 triples in what was a near flawless inning: 12/14 Passes (led the field for the week at 43/56), 16/18 Strokes Gained: 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 2nd in Strokes Gained: Put .

Scheffler, who started the day tied for the top with Fitzpatrick, three ahead of Hovland and Rory McIlroy, birdied two of the first three holes, three of the first six, and led most of the day. However, the last five holes have shown a dramatic reversal. Scheffler 1 played them on par, while Hovland, up front, played their striker at 4 under.

Viktor Hovland’s amazing nine leads him to BMW Championship wins

“It was automatic,” Cady Knight said. “He’s an aggressive player, and when he plays, he’s fearless. He tries to birdie every hole. He’s been playing really well the last few weeks. He played really well last week, but Sunday wasn’t great. He kind of feels like Sundays aren’t His best, and we talked about it last week and he did what he did today. He was absolutely amazing.”

McIlroy shot 66 playing alongside Hovland and felt he was stuck on neutral.

“I kind of realized around ’14, ’15 that something very special was going on,” said McIlroy.

The best audio clips of Victor Hofland during interviews

Knight also sensed some magic in the air.

“It was probably 14 when he struck that iron 8 rough and hammered it into a foot,” he said. “It was when I thought it was going to be one of those days when things happen to us.”

Far from lamenting his close plea, Fitzpatrick laughed it off.

“Yeah, I played great,” he said. “I can’t do anything about 61. I just saw Victor, I called him a little bit. But for me, I’m really happy again because I played really well in the final round in contention with the world number one, and I didn’t lose it. Someone else came from behind and won with it.”


Hovland is still only 25 years old, but one of the themes of this season has been maturity. Part of that is the experience and a lot that came from his work with Joseph Mayo, who teaches at The Summit Club for Discovery Land Company in Las Vegas, and who urged Hoveland to look back.

“I watch this kid hit his ball in places Harry Houdini can’t lift up and down,” Mayo said after Hoveland won the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday. Bring in DP World Tour player and statistician Edoardo Molinari as backup.

“Dodo (Molinari) said that a great iron player falls short 15% of the time,” said Mayo. “Victor was twice that. You can’t get past that. I showed him the data, and he said, ‘Wow.'”

Hovland had another realization at FedEx St. Jude at TPC Southwind last week. He got off to this slow start with a first round 72 as one of his friends grabbed the leaderboard showing him near last place. But he bounced back with a score of 64-65-69 to finish T13.

“I still felt like I was in competition on Sunday, an outside chance,” he said at Olympia Fields. “I think that was just a great reminder that, well, I don’t have to play golf perfect to be there.”

Victor Hovland | swing theory | driver, iron, wedge

Thus liberated, he almost reached perfection. His 61 at Olympia Fields on Sunday was twice better than the next lower round, a 63 second by Russell Henley (T8) and Tom Kim (T10), and a shot of 66 by Scheffler, Fitzpatrick and McIlroy look pedestrian by comparison.

Although Hovland wasn’t the story all week, he bided his time.

“Joe and I have talked to each other a lot about it, just because you were seven shots (behind) with the weekend remaining doesn’t mean you’re out of it,” he said. “Just make good decisions, they always come in contact with you, and if you’re out there, you just might grab it and win.”

Now comes the TOUR Championship in Eastlake, where, under a FedExCup format, Hofland will start in two strokes, two teams behind No. 1 Scheffler. After that you will move on to the Ryder Cup in Rome.

“He keeps his foot on the pedal,” said McIlroy, who will be one of his teammates.

It was an apt analogy in a BMW, Hofland racing toward the checkered flag at the finish that left all who saw him gasping for air.

Victor Hovland catches receiver Evans Scholar after one BMW puncture