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2020 Mayakoba Golf Classic: Viktor Hovland revels in walk-off birdie

Viktor Hovland wins 2020 Mayakoba Golf Classic
Viktor Hovland tips his cap to a winning performance Sunday at the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Norwegian sinks 10-footer on final hole at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mexico for 1-stroke victory and 2nd title in 35 starts on PGA Tour

It's often difficult to tell whether Viktor Hovland might be playing well or not on the PGA Tour. The boyish-looking 23-year-old Norwegian wears a perpetual smile and walks under perpetually sunny skies, regardless of what's on his scorecard.

Late Sunday on the Riviera Maya on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Hovland had every reason to smile. Not that he wouldn't have been cheery anyway.

Hovland rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic for his second victory in as many seasons as a pro. He closed with a 6-under 65 for a 20-under 264 total and one-stroke victory at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen (scores).

“I don’t really feel like I’m good in those pressure situations,” said Hovland, despite having played his final six holes in 3 under to hold off American Aaron Wise, who shot 8-under 63 to finish one stroke short at 19-under 265. “The bogey on 12 set me back a little bit, but I knew that I was in a good position if I could pick up a couple of birdies coming in.”

And, he did, gaining strokes with birdies on the par-5 13th and the par-4 14th before his final-hole theatrics. “My golf was steady today,” said Hovland, who led the field for the week in birdies (25) and greens in regulation (61 of 72, for 84.7 percent).

In February, Hovland won the Puerto Rico Open in only his 12th start as a professional and his 17th overall. Now, he has won twice and made 30 cuts in 35 career starts. He has placed 15th or better in four of his five starts in the 2020-21 season.

Hovland, the 2018 U.S. Amateur champion while a college player at Oklahoma State, is a former No. 1-ranked amateur in the world.

Now, as he climbs to a projected career-high No. 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Hovland should have even more to make him happy. Not that he wouldn't be anyway.

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