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Viktor Hovland struggled to turn around the good starting points he gave himself in the opening round of the PGA tournament Charles Schwab Challenge. The 25-year-old took nearly two strokes on the field from the tee, which was the best of all, but he also lost nearly two strokes on the field when he had to find the green.
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– Viktor has hit 10 out of 12 fairways today, it’s rough out here, says Discovery’s expert commentator Henrik Bjørnstad.
Ended up hitting 12 out of 14 fairways which was second best out of a total of 200 players.
– “miss fire”
There are many who have criticized Hovland’s close game on the PGA Tour, but the Norwegian has silenced that criticism recently. Especially last week where he showed unprecedented good close play, an area he and new coach Joe Mayo have worked hard to improve.
But during the opening round of the Charles Schwab Challenge, he was back to his old ways. On hole three he found himself 50 meters from the hole after a brilliant drive into the fairway, but from there the close game failed twice and what by all accounts was a birdie opportunity was turned into an unnecessary bogey.
– Wow, it was a “miss four”, say the American commentators.
They weren’t particularly impressed with the next attempt either. The Norwegian is ranked number 145 among the PGA Tour’s best close players, which is actually a good step up from last year (191).
And the poor close game spread beyond the first nine holes and deprived the Norwegian of several good birdie opportunities.
– He is struggling to find the green here Viktor Hovland, say the American commentators.
– WE place a birdie order now.
That’s what Discovery’s commentator Per Haugsrud said after Hovland had once again given up a good opportunity. But after the bogey on hole two, there would be eleven pars in a row, where most of it was about securing the par.
After 13 quiet holes, the Norwegian should get some wind in his sails. On hole 14, he dropped in a three-meter for birdie when he laid three meters from the cup after a monster drive of over 300 meters.
– Here he shows us what he can do at least. We thank you for that, shall we get the final sprint that we would like to have then?, asks Per Haugsrud.
And on hole 15, good was going to get better. The Ekeberg boy hit another fairway, another green and sunk another birdie from around five metres.
– There it sneaks in the kitchen door, it’s beautiful Viktor. Under par here now, will we get the final sprint you talked about earlier when Per?, asks Bjørnstad.
– Yes, it’s strange about that. Once the birdie account has been opened, more can quickly come, replies Haugsrud.
If he had had wind in his sails on the previous two holes, there was a complete calm on hole 15. The Norwegian first hits his tee shot over the green and then chops the ball out of the rough ten to twelve meters from the cup. And if that wasn’t enough, he three-putted from there and ended up with a sour double-bogey.
The 25-year-old climbed and fell 34 places during the three holes. On his way into the clubhouse, he hits two fairways for something that sends him to the top of the list of those who have been the best from the tee today. But like most of this round, those holes also ended in par.
– The results have been very good today, but the inputs have not been of the usual Vikor Hovland class, says Per Haugsrud.
He thus ends the round one over par, but it is still only five strokes up to a shared second place.
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