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Hovland (70) nearly skipped Pebble Beach despite recent success

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Viktor Hovland almost didn’t commit to playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week.

Yeah, he actually considered passing on a return to a place that was so special place to his rise to prominence as an amateur phenom.

Frustrated with missed cuts in two of his first three starts this year, he considered taking time off to regroup, even though he won the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach in 2018 and was low amateur at the U.S. Open here last year, when he set the championship’s record for lowest 72-hole score by an amateur (280).

“I really wasn’t planning on playing, but I thought, 'You know what, I don’t have anything else to do, I’ll go play,’” he said after posting a 2-under-par 70 at Spyglass Hill. “It’s been awesome coming back. I didn’t know how much I was going to miss the place until I got here again.”

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The former Oklahoma State standout took the pro game by storm after the U.S. Open last year. Hovland, 22, put up a PGA Tour record 18 consecutive rounds in the 60s. This calendar year didn’t start with the same torrid momentum. He missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi Championship, tied for 23rd at the Dubai Desert Classic and missed the cut at last week's Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“I felt like I was playing OK, but I missed a couple cuts that I really shouldn’t have missed,” he said.

Hovland will play Monterey Peninsula on Friday. He said he isn’t assuming anything in his return to Pebble Beach Golf Links on Saturday.

“If you feel comfortable at a place, it’s always going to help you,” Hovland said. “But the shots are still right there in front of you, and you still have to hit them. Nobody’s going to give you anything because you’ve done well there in the past.”