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Quite the heater

Viktor Hovland’s latest ‘win’ might be the most obscure victory of his pro career

October 29, 2023
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Andy Lyons

It offers no Official World Golf Ranking points, and the payday was just $12,500. And yet for Viktor Hovland, the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup champion, his fifth “victory” of the 2023 season (along with the Memorial, BMW Championship, Tour Championship and Ryder Cup) was reportedly “Way up there” after he and former Oklahoma State teammate Ian Davis shot a closing 65 before winning in a playoff to take the title at the two-day Oak Tree National Pro Scratch Invitational in Edmond, Okla.

Hovland, the fourth ranked player in the world who earned $33.5 million this year, lives in nearby Stillwater and is a member at Oak Tree National. The club has long been the home course of several PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions pros (it’s hosting the U.S. Senior Open in 2027), which is why the locally prestigious event has become so highly competitive in recent years. Talor Gooch, the top player on the LIV Golf League in 2023, has won the event three times. Others in last week’s field included LIV golfers Charles Howell III and Matt Wolff and PGA Tour pros Taylor Moore, Austin Eckroat, Max McGreevy, Robert Streb and Sam Stevens.

Hovland and Davis started slow on Thursday, shooting a two-under 69 to sit three shots off the lead. But they rallied Friday to get into a playoff with another former Cowbody, Zach Bauchou, and his amateur partner Conrad Walcher.

On the first extra hole, Davis rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt to claim the victory.

Earlier in the week, Hovland came as close as you’ll hear the 26-year-old Norwegian brag about his game while being interviewed by Smylie Kaufmann for an episode of “The Smylie Show.” This was Hovland’s response when asked about who is the best player in the game right now.

“The way I’ve played the last couple months, I would say I believe I am,” Hovland said.

He checked himself quickly though with a follow up comment

“At the same time, what Scottie did, what Jon Rahm (No. 2) did, and how consistent (No. 3) Rory [McIlroy] has played this year, I think any of us could be the best player in the world on any given week,” Hovland said. “How much does that matter? We’re all really, really good when we play our best.”