Viktor Hovland and Richard Bland went low late on Sunday to set up a thrilling finish to the DP World Tour’s 2022 Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic.
The 24-year-old Norwegian took the clubhouse lead at Emirates Golf Club with a birdie-eagle-birdie finish to post the number to beat at 12 under. Bland, who earned his first win on tour last year at the Betfred British Masters, finished his round with consecutive birdies to tie Hovland and force a playoff. Two-time champion Rory McIlroy missed out on the playoff after finding the water on the final hole.
Replaying the 18th hole, Hovland made birdie to claim his second DP World Tour title in addition to the 2021 BMW International Open. The former star at Oklahoma State also has three wins on the PGA Tour: the 2020 Puerto Rico Open, 2020 Mayakoba Golf Classic and 2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Hovland also won December’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
“This is pretty wild. I didn’t really think this was possible going in today,” said Hovland, who started the day six shots off the lead. “I knew I had to shoot a really low number but a lot of things had to go my way and I’m thankful that they did.
Viktor Hovland of Norway tees off on the eighth hole during the final round of the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club on January 30, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
“I was fuming after the three-putt on 15 and thought that was it and I knew I just had to try to finish off well and get a nice position for the week,” he continued. “I rolled a really long one on 16 and then on 17 and, hey, we got a shot.”
McIlroy finished third at 11 under, followed by five players T-4 at 8 under: Justin Harding, Tyrrell Hatton, Sam Horsfield, Adrian Meronk and Erik van Rooyen.