Players 2023: Viktor Hovland takes advantage of an all-time good break on No. 17 during Friday charge
Viktor Hovland is writing down a lot of red numbers on his scorecard during the second round, but if he winds up winning the 2023 Players it may very well be because of a par he made.
The Norwegian arrived at the daunting 17th hole Friday morning in full charge mode, but had to think his four-under-par start through six holes was about to take a hit as his tee shot floated toward the island green. Hovland's golf ball came up short of the putting surface, but it bounced high off one of the bulkheads and toward the back of the green. That's break No. 1.
Still, the ball had a lot of steam on it as it headed toward the water behind the green. But break No. 2 came as it came to a stop before tumbling over the edge. Barely. Have a look:
How 'bout that? And Viktor took advantage of the good fortune by getting up and down for par to keep his momentum going on Day 2. Here's an angle of his reaction to the madness:
He stayed pretty calm through that. On the flip side, how about Christina Kim on the call? Yesterday she gave us the "squeak" on Hayden Buckley's hole-in-one and today she went with the "WHOOP!" on Hovland's big bounce. Not sure they teach that in broadcasting school.
Anyway, Hovland's lucky bounce was reminiscent of Martin Kaymer somehow keeping his golf ball dry on No. 17 during the final round of the 2014 Players. The German also saved par—and went on to win the tournament. So it might not just be Hovland's lucky day, but his lucky week.