Viktor Hovland's final-hole birdie pips Aaron Wise to Mayakoba title
Ryder Cup prospect Viktor Hovland lands second PGA Tour title of the year after making an eight-foot putt for a winning birdie on the final hole of the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/12/20 12:26am
Viktor Hovland rolled in a nerveless birdie putt on the final green to snatch victory over Aaron Wise at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.
Wise was on the range preparing for a play-off having closed with a bogey-free 63 to set a testing clubhouse target at 19 under par, but Hovland was up to the challenge and knocked his approach to the last to eight feet to give himself a putt for a 65 and victory.
And the young Norwegian's confident stroke found the centre of the cup as he celebrated a second PGA Tour title of the year having made his breakthrough in similar style in Puerto Rico in February.
Hovland had held the lead for the majority of the final day after he birdied four of the first six holes, while overnight leader Emiliano Grillo laboured to the turn in level par and dropped a shot at the 10th with his rivals enjoying a birdie fest on a course softened by heavy rain.
Torrential downpours forced play to be suspended early on Sunday, but Hovland prospered after the delay and soon hit the front while Wise emerged as a serious contender when he raced to the turn in 31 with three birdies and an eagle at the seventh.
Wise birdied three in a row on the back nine and parred in to stay at 19 under, while Adam Long got to 18 under with four back-nine birdies only for his first blemish of the day at the 17th to take him out of the running.
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Hovland's excellent front nine kept him at the top of the leaderboard, although he stuttered with a bogey at the 12th only to respond with back-to-back birdies.
The Ryder Cup hopeful saved a clutch par from a tricky position at 16, and a play-off looked likely when he failed to find the fairway from the tee at the 72nd hole.
But the 26-year-old displayed great feel and composure to put his second to well within birdie range, and Hovland converted to become the year's final champion in a full-field PGA Tour event.
"When I was standing on the 18th tee I knew I had to make a birdie to win and I told myself I was able to do it in Puerto Rico, hopefully I can do it today," said Hovland, who rattled in a 30-foot birdie putt to earn his maiden title early in 2020.
"You know, it's still hard and I just try to take one shot at a time. And luckily this putt, even though the putt this time wasn't as easy as the one in Puerto Rico, you're not really expecting to make a 30-footer really ever, it just happened to go in.
"It's not like you can just kind of force yourself to make it, it's a lot of things that have to go your way for it to go in the hole."
Long's 67 earned him a podium finish alongside Tom Hoge (69) on 17 under, with Tony Finau making birdie at the last after bogeys at 16 and 17, his closing 67 ensuring a place in the top 10 on 15 under par.
A dispirited Grillo limped in with a 72 to slip into a tie for eighth, five shots behind the champion, while world No 3 Justin Thomas was one further off the pace with home favourite Abraham Ancer, who surged to 14 under with a 66.