NASA, Bahamas — The warm sun in the Bahamas kicked up a lot of mud on the rain-soaked fairways and created some wild shots for everyone except Victor Hovland. He made 10 birdies on Saturday to build a three-shot lead in the Hero World Challenge.
Hovland made six birdies on the back nine at Albany and finished with a bogey on the 18th for an 8-under 64, leaving tournament host Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winner. This competition.
“I hit a lot of good quality iron shots to give myself 7 to 12 feet. It wasn’t like I hit one incredible shot or like I did on other days, but it was kind of consistent. Hovland gave me a look for myself.”
He was 13-under 203, and it looked easy. That was not the case for the rest of the 20-man field, including the best goals of the week.
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who could go on to win, dropped just one shot to make an eagle on the par-5 15th for a 66 that put him in the final group with Hovland. It was a good day on the card. Seeing so much mud on the ball, his emotions were heavy and he didn’t know where to go.
“Who’s good at those? You never know what the golf ball is going to do,” Scheffle said. “Just because it’s not something I think should happen on the golf course, it’s not something I practice at home.”
The Masters champion’s best feat wasn’t his five birdies and eagle, but not letting the mud balls get to his head.
Everyone had to deal with it, some worse than others. Justin Thomas got a break as PGA Tour official Rick Wild recorded all scores at the end of the day. Good thing is a small field.
“Just 20 people coming in and complaining against 120. I think it’s probably a little too easy for him,” Thomas said. “It’s unfortunate. And you can get some really, really unlucky breaks and unfortunate situations. But like I said, everybody has to deal with it and the more you let it get to you, the worse you’re probably going to get.”
Thomas was bogey-free for a 66, tied for third with Cameron Young (68).
The PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has taken advantage of his opportunity. With a 31 on the front nine and his sixth birdie of the round on No. 10, he had a two-up lead and was halfway through the fairway on the par-5 11th.
He went for a 4-iron and saw the ball hit straight to the right and into the bushes, heading for a penalty before playing the next one. He had another bogey on the par 5 and had to settle for a 68, leaving him five shots behind.
“It hurt me the most when I was 11,” Young said. It only takes one medium stroke to give yourself a fat look. So that definitely hurt. Yes, there were quite a few.”
The only bright spot on the day was a 6-iron on the 12th hole when Kevin Kisner shot a 77.
“I was putting the worst of my career today so I decided to just go for it from 189 yards,” Kisner said. “But it was a lot easier on the 3s because you have to hit the golf ball clean.”
Most of the course was in fair shape so he decided to play the PGA Tour ball downhill. Officials were concerned about four or five fairways, but the mud made its presence felt on Wednesday’s rain-soaked fairways.
Hovland made three straight birdies on the front nine and birdied the back nine from 15 feet or longer. He placed twice for the bird breed. He hit a 6-iron to 12 feet on the par-3 12th, a 9-iron to 7 feet on the next hole and an 8-iron to 15 feet on the 16th and a 7-iron to 8 feet. Article 3 17.
“He played so well, I felt bad about my round,” said Xander Schauffele, who finished with a 69 one back. “It was pure. It was so good I didn’t even know what he was doing until the end.”
Woods won the World Challenge in 2006 and 2007 while at Sherwood Country Club in California. He is not playing this week due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot that kept him out on Monday.