PGA TOUR //
On Thursday, he opened the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am modestly. But don’t be surprised if Viktor Hovland steps on the gas in the next few days.
Viktor Hovland is clearly enjoying itself on California’s Monterey Peninsula.
On Thursday, he opened the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a modest three-under par — 69 — at Spyglass Hill. That holds for a shared 14th place after the first round, six strokes behind the Belgian Thomas Detry (-9), with Patrick Cantlay (-8) and Matthieu Pavon (-7) in the next places.
Weather permitting, Hovland will spend the next three days at Pebble Beach Golf Links, where he really broke through as a college player. It was here that he won the US Amateur in 2018. It was also here that he became the best amateur in the US Open the following year, and erased Jack Nicklaus’ record for the lowest total score by an amateur.
Cleared the course record
Six strokes in three rounds is possible to make up for the world number four. And there are many indications that Hovland has low scores in the next few days.
As recently as Sunday, he erased the course record at the neighboring Monterey Peninsula Country Club with a scintillating round of 62, 10 under par.
– Yes, it was fun, says a smiling Hovland to Golf Digest. – It’s a nice, small record. And a nice warm-up for this tournament too. So that was cool.
The first nine were good. The last nine phenomenal. Hovland finished the record round with eight straight birdies and one backnine in 29 strokes.
The Dunes course, where the record was set, is “only” 6,300 yards from the back tee, but has a fairway value of 74.6 and a slope of 140. It was also one of the courses used in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am from 1947 to 1964.
Hovland also had a great opening on Thursday, with two birdies on the first three holes. But then things were to slow down for the reigning FedEx Cup champion.
With two holes left to play at Spyglass Hill, the Norwegian was only one shot under par and well down on the leaderboard. But two closing birdies ensured that Hovland is still in a good position after a somewhat messy start to the tournament after the break.
The statistics show that Hovland was not at his best from the tee, he hit only 8 out of 14 fairways (57%). In return, there was no one in the field who was as sharp as the Norwegian on the inputs (16 out of 18 greens).
The tournament continues on Friday. You can follow it live on Eurosport/Discovery+.