Nassau, Bahamas — Victor Hovland won the Hero World Challenge with more than he needed Sunday, a 20-foot bogey on the final hole for a 3-under 69 to join host Tiger Woods for the only one back. Back to back winners.
Hovland took a 4-shot lead at the turn when Masters champion Scotty Scheffler made a double bogey on the par-5 ninth. No one came within 2 shots the rest of the way.
It just didn’t feel easy.
Hovland had a 2-shot lead on the 18th when his 6-iron turned hard left into the water from a slope above the hill. He took a free putt and hit full bridge to about 20 feet for a chance to save bogey.
Scheffler was in the sand right of the green, and his chip ran hard on the lip and landed 10 feet, giving him a par to force Hovland out of the playoff.
Hovland bogey putt with Woods for another approach to the trophy. It was very different from a year ago when it was collected from 6 shots back.
“It’s a touch of nerves,” Hovland said with a smile. “You’re never that comfortable. I didn’t play that well on the back nine, but it was good enough.”
Woods won in 2006 and 2007 when it was held at Sherwood Country Club. He was supposed to be out this week with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, but instead saw the drama no one expected in his redshirt Sunday.
Hovland finished 16-under 272 and won $1 million. The win is unofficial but his world ranking points have moved him up three places to 9th.
Scheffler needed a win to return to world No. 1 for at least a few weeks. Rory McIlroy is tipped to finish the year at the top of the rankings regardless of the result.
Starting 3 shots behind, Scheffler holed 30 yards short of the green on the par-5 sixth hole for eagle to reach 14-under and temporarily take the lead. Hovland had trouble off the tee, had to play a blind tee shot 20 feet and then holed an 18-foot birdie putt to stay one ahead.
The next hole was the 18th but the main one.
From the bottom of the fairway on the short par-4 seventh, Scheffler’s pitch barely made it onto the green and rolled into the rock, leading to a bogey. Hovland was on edge and chipped in 5 feet for birdie and a 2-shot swing to cut the lead back to 3.
Scheffler’s double bogey on the ninth, which ended with a three-putt from around 15 feet, left him 5 shots back.
Cameron Young bid strongly and got within 2 shots of a point until he bogeyed the 16th. Xander Schauffele made an early run until ending with a bogey on the par-5 16th.
Scheffler reeled off three straight birdies through the 16th hole to get within 2 shots, giving him an opening until Hevland closed it with a big putt on the 18th.
“I made it a little more fun,” Hovland says with a smile.
Scheffler’s goal was a shot before the 18th. He didn’t quite make it, but he still had a chance.
“I said earlier in the week that I don’t like finishing second,” said Scheffler, who finished second for the second year in a row in the Bahamas and his third runner-up finish this year. “It’s not a good feeling right now. But I’m proud of the fight.”
Scheffler still heads into the festivities with a winning year behind him — among his four Masters wins on the PGA Tour, the world No. 1 and the PGA Tour Player of the Year this year.
Young carded a 68 to finish alone in third place, followed by Schuffele (68) and Justin Thomas with five birdies on the back nine of six holes to salvage a poor start and close with a 70 to finish tied for fifth.
“He’s only 20 players, but he’s one of the best 20 players in the world,” Hovland said. “You have to play your best to win.”