Viktor Hovland riding a wild wave to become a winning machine: Can he claim a Major this year?

The 24-year-old is fast proving himself a fearless performer in the final round – which of the career-defining championships offer him the best shot at glory in 2022?

Even Viktor Hovland found his latest victory, in last week's Dubai Desert Classic, a little hard to take in.

"I'm pumping right now," he gasped. "It's a little bit surreal. It's pretty wild. Especially because I didn't really think this was possible going in today. 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."

He had made a decent start in his quest to chase down the leaders in the final round on the Majlis Course at the Emirates GC. But after four birdies in the first eight holes he fell flat and even dropped a shot when three-putting the 15th green.

Whereupon his lit the blue touch paper in sensational style.

He drained a 35-foot birdie putt at the 16th, found the green at the short par-4 17th with a 327-yard drive and holed from 33-feet for an eagle-2, he launched a 315-yard drive over the corner of the dogleg of the par-5 18th, found the green with ease and two-putted for a birdie.

He knew he had to shoot a low number and he had done it: a 66 for a 12-under total of 276. Now a lot of things had to go his way - and they did, too.

As the Norwegian signed his card Rory McIlroy, also 12-under, was hitting the green at the par-3 15th. On that green, and at the next, his birdie putts were good yet didn't drop.

But with 17 and 18 so vulnerable his task seemed simple if not straightforward. Whereupon he found scrub from the 17th tee and water from the 18th fairway.

Hovland was left in a play-off with Richard Bland, one he dealt with in four blows.

He later reminisced about a similar electric finish that had earned him dinner in his college days. "This one is a bit more lucrative, though," he was told.

"It is," Hovland replied. "But the other one was pretty satisfying, too."

A hint, maybe, that the thrill of competition is what drives the 24-year-old at the moment. Life hasn't got more complicated than that just yet.

The win was his third in just five starts and in the middle triumph, another final round come back at the Hero World Challenge, felt significant because he defeated an elite field.

"Hell, yeah," he said when asked if it felt different. "There's only 20 guys in the field but the players here are really good and I feel like my wins have come when the field hasn't been as strong, so for me to do well in a field like this gives me a lot of confidence."

Is he now ready to attack the career-defining championships?

"I try not to over emphasise the majors and the big tournaments," he said. "Obviously those are the ones we want to play well in, but you know, I try to just prepare myself the best that I can for every single week."

Let's take a closer look at how he has fared in the Majors in the past - and how he might do in the future.

The Masters - Augusta National, Georgia

Record at The Masters

2019: T32nd

2021: T21st

His debut was three years ago, as an amateur, when he broke par in each of the last three rounds.

He didn't play in 2020, but in tough scoring conditions he was T13th after 54 holes before finishing T21st last year.

He ranked eighth for Greens In Regulation on debut and first for Putting Average last year. Slot the two together and he'll be a hell of a prospect.

"I feel like I have the shots," he said last April. "I made a bunch of birdies every single day. So I just need to learn this place a bit more, where not to miss it and all that stuff. I feel like my game is good enough to have a chance."

PGA Championship - Southern Hills, Oklahoma

Record at the PGA Championship

2020: T33rd (Harding Park, California)

2021: T30th (Kiawah Island, South Carolina)

On both his previous tournament starts he played well in the first round (a 68 at Harding Park, tied second after round one at Kiawah Island last year), but he couldn't build on them and had to settle for similarly solid finishing positions.

He'll be excited about the PGA Championship heading to Southern Hills Country Club because it's in Oklahoma, the state Hovland moved to for college and where he still resides.

He frequently notes that his ability to play in wind is a direct consequence of his Oklahoma base so, should blustery conditions prevail in May, we can assume that he'll be prepared.

US Open - The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts

Record at the US Open

2019: T12th (Pebble Beach, California)

2020: T13th (Winged Foot, New York)

2021: WD (Torrey Pines, South Carolina)

His joint-best finish in a Major came as an amateur in 2019 when he took T12th at Pebble Beach after closing with a 67.

He looked on track to improve on that at Winged Foot in 2020, starting the final round tied for eighth before finishing with a 75.

He got sand in his eye at Torrey Pines last year and laughed about it on Instagram, but had to withdraw.

Open Championship - The Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland

Record at the Open

2021: T12th (Royal St George's, England)

Incredibly, last year's tournament witnessed his debut in the oldest Major of them all and he made a nice start, equalling his Major best with T12th.

He's yet to play any events at St Andrews, but he has talked fondly of discovering Indian curries on trips to Scotland as a junior and he loves those gusty seaside locations in North and Central America -could he transfer those skills to the home of golf?

READ MORE: Which of the world’s leading golfers win the most and what are their strike rates?

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