Viktor Hovland may have fallen short (67 FedExCup points to be exact) of earning his PGA Tour card during the Tour’s regular season like his friends and Tour winners Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa.
But Hovland still has a chance to join them on Tour next season – and the 21-year-old Norwegian is making the most of that chance so far.
Hovland, who turned pro after his junior year at Oklahoma State and earned enough points through Tour exemptions to qualify for the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, shot 7-under 64 Thursday to grab a share of the first-round lead at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Columbus, Ohio.
Hovland opened the Finals opener with six birdies and an eagle, as he shares the lead with Australia’s Cameron Percy. Three of those birdies came on each of his final three holes at OSU’s Scarlet Course, while his eagle came on a lengthy putt at the par-5 12th hole.
"It was a pretty good round today, made some putts," Hovland told reporters afterwards. "Hopefully I can keep it up."
While 25 players already earned Tour cards during the KFT’s regular season, 25 more cards are up for grabs for the top 25 point-getters in the three Finals events.
Former Texas standout Doug Ghim is solo third at 6 under while South Carolina product Matt NeSmith is a shot further back at 5 under. Tour veterans Anirban Lahiri, Ben Martin and Robert Streb are tied for fifth at 4 under.