2022 British Open: ‘A little anti-climactic’: Viktor Hovland goes from co-lead to non-factor
Viktor Hovland, not Cameron Smith, was supposed to be the guy, if there was one, to take down Rory McIlroy on Sunday at St. Andrews. The 24-year-old Norwegian, already a six-time winner worldwide, had grabbed a share of the 54-hole lead with McIlroy, four shots clear of the next closest challengers.
Things, however, didn’t go according to plan for Hovland believers.
Smith ended up firing 8-under 64 and capturing the claret jug. Hovland, on the other hand, shot 74, eight shots worse than his Saturday 66, and ended up tied for fourth and six shots back when play had finished at the 150th Open Championship.
“It was a little anti-climactic after the day yesterday,” Hovland said. “I was expecting I was going to hang in there for a little bit longer. Yeah, just didn’t have it today. Didn’t hit it very good and didn’t putt as good as yesterday. So, it was a frustrating day.”
Hovland’s troubles began with a three-putt bogey at the par-4 fourth hole, and other than a birdie at No. 12, Hovland didn’t produce much in the highlight department.
“And it seemed like every pin coming in, we were just in a really tough spot, so it’s hard to get close to the pins,” Hovland said. “When you’re already over par, it just becomes a grind.”
The only consolation for Hovland: He notched his first top-10 in a major after entering the week with three top-20s in 11 starts.
“It’s what we practice for, [to win majors],” Hovland said. “Just a little disappointed I didn’t have it today, but it was a great experience today and obviously yesterday as well. Just the whole week was a good learning experience, and I feel like I’m going to, yeah, get better from it.”