Viktor Hovland Purposely Plays Down Wrong Hole At Riviera...Again

Viktor Hovland continued his tactic of hitting down a different fairway at the 15th at Riviera despite a new scoreboard being put in his way

Viktor Hovland at the Genesis Invitational
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Viktor Hovland continued to play Riviera his own way during the first round of the Genesis Invitational as he took his unique line of playing down a different hole on the 15th.

The Norwegian plays 15 differently to anyone else in the field, as last year he fired the ball way off to the right off the tee, playing down the neighbouring 17th in fact to cut off the dog leg right.

For this year’s tournament a huge electronic scoreboard has been position just off to the right of the 15th tee box where Hovland had been aiming last year.

Whether intentional or not to stop him taking the scenic route, it did not deter Hovland as he again lined up to the right on the 15th tee in the first round and duly blazed his tee shot 303 yards down the 17th.

He was left with 171 yards in from a nice angle but still having to come in over a greenside bunker – finding the green nicely to leave himself 23 feet for a birdie. He missed it but knocked in a two-footer for par.

So does it gain Hovland an advantage? It seemingly only improves the angle slightly, and depending on the pin placement, while Rory McIlroy says the move is designed for anyone who can’t carry the fairway bunker on 15.

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The 15th did rank as the third hardest hole on the course during this first round of the Genesis, so maybe Hovland is right to seek an alternate route to try and make it a little easier.

If Tiger Woods hadn't returned to the PGA Tour this week then maybe Hovland's take on 15 would be the big story around Riviera, and plenty have had their say on his plans.

It'll be one to watch at the tournament goes on though, to see if Hovland can gain some kind of advantage from his plan - which he shows no signs of moving away from anytime soon.

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Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.