NASSAU, Bahamas — Viktor Hovland made consecutive eagles and closed with consecutive bogeys while overcoming a six-shot deficit to win the Hero World Challenge on Sunday and keep Collin Morikawa from reaching No. 1 in the world.
So wild was this final round of the year for golf’s elite that Morikawa, who started the day with a five-shot lead, wasn’t even a factor over the last hour at Albany Golf Club.
Hovland closed with a 6-under 66 in his debut at a holiday event that was filled with pure chaos involving eagles and triple bogeys, none more bizarre than Jordan Spieth hitting his drive off the ninth tee from what was a new 17th tee for the final round.
“I didn’t think a win was going to be very possible,” Hovland said. “But I know this course is tricky. You can make birdies, but it’s easy to make bogeys and doubles. If I put a good score up there, you never know what’s going to happen.”
Just about everything did.
Ultimately, this was about another 24-year-old star in the making adding to a big year. It just wasn’t the one so many expected.
Morikawa, The Open champion and first American to be No. 1 on the European Tour, missed three birdie chances from 10 feet or closer at the start of the round and then went sideways with two shots into the bushes at Nos. 4 and 6 that led to double bogeys and a 41 on the front nine.
He closed with a 76 and tied for fifth. A victory would have made him the 25th player to reach No. 1 in the world since the ranking began in 1986. That still belongs to U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, who didn’t play this week.
Hovland was among five players who had at least a share of the lead at some point. That changed on the reachable par-4 14th for more than just Hovland.
First it was Sam Burns, a two-time winner this year who was tied for the lead when he put his tee shot just right of the green. Four times, with a fairway metal and a wedge, he hit up the slope and watched it roll back to his feet. He made triple bogey to fall back.