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  • Viktor Hovland Bounces Back From Friday Horror Show To Revive WGC Top Bid

Viktor Hovland bounces back from Friday horror show to revive WGC top-10 bid

Despite carding a quadruple bogey-8 on Friday, the Norwegian responded emphatically to still be in contention for a top-10 finish.

With a flurry of birdies in his second round Viktor Hovland had hauled himself into contention at the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession.
Seven of them through 17 holes had him closing on the lead with only the 446-yard par-4 9th hole, his last of the day, to come.
He'd made birdie on it in round one - there was little to fear.
But in recording a quadruple bogey-8 all of his hard work had been undone in brutal fashion.

Instead of starting Saturday three shots back of the leader Brooks Koepka, he was now seven blows adrift.

How would he respond? The answer was: he stood tall.

The front nine

After successive pars on the opening two holes, Hovland set up an eagle chance on the 3rd when he rocketed his second shot 284-yards to just 15-feet from the pin.
He missed the putt, but it was an easy tap-in birdie to get his third round up and running.
The par-3 5th was his next target and he drained an 8-foot putt to walk away with an impressive birdie-2.
At the next, he went one better: the eagle he narrowly missed at the third was landed at the 556-yard 7th.
Finding himself in a tricky position just off the green, Hovland's chip looped over the danger at the front of the green, trickled its way to the hole, and dropped to the bottom of the cup.
He looked in complete control as his 112-yard approach shot on the 8th left him just 4-feet from the pin and he grabbed the birdie opportunity with both hands.
There was no sign of that quadruple bogey having any sort of negative impact on his game whatsoever, but the greatest test was ahead of him: his return to the scene of the crime.
Saturday was a completely different story: his drive found the left side of the fairway and his second shot landed 8-feet from the cup.
The putt missed, but par was secured. He'd faced up to Friday's moment of madness and hung tough.

The back nine

Although nowhere near as prolific as the front nine he continued to make progress.
Responding to a first bogey of the day at the 13th, he chipped in from off the green for a second time at the very next hole and added another par breaker at the 16th.
He heads into the final round in a tie for seventh, five shots back from the leader Collin Morikawa.
He gained 6.297 strokes from tee-to-green, a career best for the Norwegian and the best single round in that category by any player in the field this week.
Is it an omen that Hovland himself was the last player to make a triple bogey or worse and still win?
He did it in last year's Puerto Rico Open and he has no need of a reminder of it because this year's edition is taking place this week.
He'll be hoping history repeats itself on Sunday.

In his own words

On the flashbacks he got as he headed onto the ninth tee:

"I was thinking about it. I hit a better drive today and I hit a nice approach shot and I thought to myself I'm probably not making an eight from there. It was just a fluke. I happened to blade my bunker shot there at the worst time possible yesterday and hard to blade if it's from the middle of the fairway."

On bouncing back from the eight:

"It was the same as the last couple days. The golf course is very gettable if you're playing really well, but there are some really hard pins out there and if you're off by a little bit you can make some big numbers.
"The doubles are hard to swallow, especially the eights, but you can make a bunch of mistakes. If you can just limit them to bogeys, you're going to make enough birdies out there, so it's all about just minimizing the errors."

On his improved chipping:

"I had to put some time down because I didn't practise a whole lot of chipping before, but it's also a technical change. I've been working hard with Jeff Smith basically just trying to use the bounce. Still got some work to do, but I'm hitting some chips that I wouldn't have been able to do before."

Paddy Power have priced Viktor Hovland at 25/1 to win the WGC Workday Championship.

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