By Matt Cradock published
After 54-holes, you may have been forgiven to think that the title was going to Collin Morikawa. However, after the front nine, his five shot overnight lead had been switched to a two shot deficit, with the American going out in a five-over-par 41.
That opened the door to a number of players, but it was Viktor Hovland who broke out from the pack, with a stunning eagle, eagle, birdie stretch that eventually led to a one shot victory.
"I didn't think a win today would be very plausible," said the 24-year-old. "I know this golf course is tricky. You can make a lot of birdies and make up a lot of ground, but it is also very easy to make bogies and doubles.
"I knew if I put a good score out there you never know what is going to happen. Winning this tournament is really cool, it's incredible to be part of Tiger's event and especially to win it. I haven't really done well in these limited field events, so hopefully that is going to all change as I go on."
His third eagle of the week at No. 14. 👀Viktor Hovland holes it from the bunker. pic.twitter.com/rPqCwwbMiHDecember 5, 2021
It's difficult to know where to start with this piece so let's begin with Morikawa. Needing a victory to become the new world number one, he looked to be coasting to yet another title.
However, the 24-year-old would find trouble at the 4th, leading to a double bogey. Then, thanks to a mud ball at the 6th, he would make yet another double. That misery was compounded further with a duffed chip at the 9th leading to a bogey and a five-over-par front nine.
It wasn't just Morikawa who was struggling though, with a number of players making high scores, playing unorthodox left-handed shots and, in Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson's case, using the wrong tee box.
Back on the course, it was beginning to get even more cagier and tense, with the likes of Sam Burns, Patrick Reed and Hovland hoping to add to their growing resumes.
One by one though, players would fall by the waste side, with Burns taking a number of shots to get up the slope of the par-4 14th, the triple bogey eventually dropping him three shots back of the leaders.
It was Hovland who would make the biggest move from the congested pack, with a stunning hole-out bunker shot for eagle at the 14th being followed by an equally impressive eagle at the par-5 15th.
The 24-year-old, who recently defended his Mayakoba Classic title, then nearly holed his approach shot at the 16th, as his stretch of 2-3-3 put him three shots clear with two to play.
As Scottie Scheffler set the clubhouse target at 17-under-par, Hovland produced a scrappy three-putt at the 17th to see his lead down to two and, despite a bogey at the last, he would go on to win by just a single shot.
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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