BRADENTON, Fla. – The beginning and ending of Viktor Hovland’s day were plenty dramatic.
Staying about 35 minutes from Concession, Hovland encountered some traffic on his way to the course and was running a little bit late once he arrived Friday at the WGC-Workday Championship. He had only about 20 minutes to warm up – not that it affected him, of course, as he ran off five birdies in his first six holes and was 7 under par when he stepped onto the tee of the par-4 ninth, his last hole of the day.
That’s when Hovland’s hot round unraveled.
After finding the left fairway bunker off the tee, Hovland thinned his 144-yard fairway-bunker shot. His approach sailed over the green and into the bushes over the back. From there he was able to make a clean strike on the ball – too clean. His ball shot across the green and dove into an awkward lie, near the back lip of a greenside bunker.
Taking an awkward stance, Hovland clipped the lip on his downswing and sent his ball screaming back over the green, into an unplayable lie in the bushes. After a drop, he chopped out short of the green, knocked his seventh shot about 9 feet past and mercifully drained the putt for an ugly quadruple-bogey 8 to end his day.
“It’s a little bit bitter,” he said afterward. “I hit a lot of good shots today and made a lot of putts, so it’s just unfortunate that one terrible shot comes at that time, and I’m not able to maybe handle it better than I did.”
Hovland still signed for a 3-under 69 and now sits at 4-under 140 through two rounds, seven shots back of Brooks Koepka. Hovland has finished in the top 6 in five of his last six worldwide starts.