Viktor Hovland’s back nine at Olympia Fields Country Club on Sunday was absolutely incredible.
It was the round of his life, which lifted him to the win at the BMW Championship and put him in a great position headed into the final event of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs.
Hovland carded a course-record 61 on Sunday outside of Chicago, thanks to a 28 on his back nine, and made 10 birdies on the day. He overtook Scottie Scheffler with a clutch birdie at the last, too, which sealed the fifth victory of his career and his second this season.
The win jumped Hovland to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings headed into the Tour Championship next week at East Lake.
“I don’t think I have to think too long,” Hovland said on CBS. “It definitely has to be the best round I’ve ever played, given the circumstances … It’s pretty special.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 20, 2023
Viktor Hovland surges to win BMW Championship
Early in the week, it seemed as if Max Homa was going to run away with the second FedExCup Playoffs event.
Homa flew ahead of the field after a historic round on Friday. He posted an 8-under 62 in the second round, which set the then-course record and gave him a two-shot lead. He did it with two bogeys on the day, too. But Homa stalled out Saturday — he made a triple-bogey early, and struggled to recover — which opened the door for Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Scheffler carded an 8-under 64 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead with Fitzpatrick at 11-under. It marked his first time with at least a share of the lead after 54 holes since he won The Players Championship earlier this season. Scheffler made seven birdies on the day, including one at the par-5 15th that he set up with a wild driver off the deck approach.
Driver off the deck 😳
This tracer from Scottie Scheffler is ridiculous! pic.twitter.com/Usz1gAgLLr
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 19, 2023
Scheffler picked up right where he left off on Sunday. He made two birdies in his first three holes of the day — he was just a few inches from an eagle hole out at the third — and he made the turn with a share of the lead.
While Scheffler made three birdies and a bogey on his first four holes of the back side, which suddenly gave him a two-shot lead, Hovland was on a run of his own a few groups ahead. He made three straight birdies at the turn and made five straight 3s before he finally joined Scheffler at 16-under with a nine-footer at the 17th.
Then, at the 18th, Hovland was perfect. He stuck his approach to about six feet from the cup and expertly made the putt, which set the new course record and gave him his first lead of the day.
As Hovland sat down in the clubhouse, Scheffler then bogeyed the 17th — which gave Hovland a two-shot lead and eventually the win.
"I'm just a bit frustrated," Scheffler said. "I think that would be the way to describe it. I mean, Viktor went out and really just beat me today and played a fantastic round. I can hold my head high and just — I did my best out there today and fought hard. Just ultimately came up a couple shots short."
Scheffler finished tied for second with Fitzpatrick at 15-under. Rory McIlroy finished in fourth at 12-under on the week, and both Homa and Brian Harman finished T5.
Hovland has won twice this season, following his playoff victory at the Memorial Tournament in June. He hasn’t missed a single cut all season, and went T13 at both the British Open and the FedEx St. Jude Championship in his last two outings. The 25-year-old entered the week ranked No. 5 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Tour Championship starting positions
The top 30 golfers in the FedExCup standings have qualified for next week's Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. That tournament features the only staggered start on Tour.
With his win on Sunday in Chicago, Hovland jumped from No. 7 to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings. That means that he’ll start at 8-under on Thursday in Georgia.
While he failed to hang on and get the win, Scheffler still overtook Jon Rahm and grabbed the No. 1 spot in the standings. Scheffler, for a second straight season, will head to East Lake at 10-under with a two shot lead.
Here’s a look at the starting positions for next week’s season finale.
10-under: Scottie Scheffler
8-under: Viktor Hovland
7-under: Rory McIlroy
6-under: Jon Rahm
5-under: Lucas Glover
4-under: Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay, Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark, Matt Fitzpatrick
3-under: Tommy Fleetwood, Russell Henley, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele
2-under: Tom Kim, Sungjae Im, Tony Finau, Corey Conners, Si Woo Kim
1-under: Taylor Moore, Nick Taylor, Adam Schenk, Collin Morikawa, Jason Day
Even: Sam Burns, Emiliano Grillo, Tyrrell Hatton, Jordan Spieth, Sepp Straka