Viktor Hovland endured a chaotic opening round at The Players Championship that saw him involved in not just one, but two rules issues.
Viktor Hovland Assessed Two-Shot Penalty After Marker Mishap
Norwegian Viktor Hovland had a memorable opening round at TPC Sawgrass where he was involved in two issues with rulings.
On the 15th hole, Hovland had moved his ball marker one putter head to avoid Justin Thomas’ line.
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However, as the 23-year-old replaced his ball marker, he actually moved it one putter head in the wrong direction.
As a result, Hovland broke Rule 14.7, which states: ‘The score with the ball played from a (which means that under Rule 14.7two penalty strokes are added to the score with that ball).counts, and the player gets the
After originally making a par on the 15th hole and a two-under-par round of 70, it was changed to a double bogey six and a level-par 72.
It wasn’t the only rules issue that Hovland had faced however. Starting the day on the back-nine, Hovland found trouble on his second hole (11th) where his second shot went into the water.
The Norwegian thought his ball landed in the grass around the bunker first and kicked right into the water. However, neither Hovland’s playing partners: Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay, knew for certain if the ball crossed the hazard before going in the water.
The difference would have been severe, with Hovland’s next shot either being a full iron or a short wedge shot into the green.
With a rules official present, it was announced to him that Hovland’s ball had hit one of the wooden planks surrounding the water hazard, this meant that it had not crossed.
With Hovland disagreeing with the call, and his playing partners unsure, they had to go with the ruling.
But, as Hovland walked back to take his drop, an on-course reporter for SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio confirmed with the group that Hovland’s ball had indeed found grass and then kicked into the water.
“It probably saves me a half-shot in the long run,” Hovland said. “So it was a pretty big deal, going from hitting a full wedge or full iron shot into that back pin and (instead) being able to drop there, I could just kind of roll something up there. So it was a much easier shot.”
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Hovland will start his second round seven shots back of leader Sergio Garcia, who produced a fantastic round of 65 to sit at seven-under-par.