McIlroy finishes solo fourth as electric Hovland’s course record seals come-from-behind win

Rian Noctor

Viktor Hovland (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy secured his ninth top 10 in a row with solo fourth place as Viktor Hovland shot the course record to win the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields in Illinois.

McIlroy shot a four-under-par 66 to finish 12-under, five shots behind Ryder Cup teammate Hovland. McIlroy told the media it was a similar week to last week and that he’s looking forward to a couple of days off before heading to East Lake.

“I played good tee to green. Missed a lot of chances. Sort of a similar story to last week in Memphis.


“I’m going to go home for a couple of nights and come back up to Atlanta Tuesday, work on my game a little bit for a day and a half, and go try to win another FedExCup,” he told the media on Sunday night.

The Northern Irishman started with a birdie on the first and followed with another on the fifth. He bogeyed the ninth before shooting a three-under back nine.

McIlroy’s shot of the day came at the par-5 16th when he hit a towering 4-iron from 250 yards to four feet. The subsequent missed eagle-putt and disappointing birdie summed up his last two weeks.

 McIlroy said he’s considering giving the spider another chance at East Lake, where he historically putts very well.

“I might dabble with the Spider again on Tuesday and Wednesday at the TOUR Championship. I felt like I hit good putts. I holed some really good putts and I missed some short ones.

“It was hard here with the short ones and how much break they had and with the grain, I always felt like I was aiming too high and then I’d miss them low because I just couldn’t commit to aiming it so far outside the hole. Getting back on greens that I know pretty well and pretty confident on next week, I’m looking forward to that”.

Viktor Hovland put his Sunday woes to bed, making 10 birdies and one bogey for a course-record 61, including a seven-under-par 28 on the back nine and a come-from-behind, two-shot victory over Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Before this week, Hovland was 133rd for the season in Final Round Scoring Average on the PGA TOUR, and the young Norwegian felt he wasn’t doing himself justice on Sundays. 

Hovland told the media that he’s delighted to win against such a strong field and admitted he didn’t think he had the chance until midway through the back nine.

“To win at a place like this and amongst the best players in the world, it’s pretty cool, and to do it that way, making seven birdies the last nine holes, and yeah, to beat those guys, that was pretty cool.

“I didn’t really know, obviously I wanted to win, but when I made the putt on 15 for birdie, I felt like, okay, we’ve got a chance now if I can finish pretty well, then you never know what’s going to happen behind you.

“Then when I made a birdie on 17, I was feeling really good, and then the birdie on 18, as well, I felt like I could win it outright. But it wasn’t until then, I had no idea what was going on. I was just going to try to play well and keep making birdies,” Hovland said.

Hovland heads into the Tour championship as the second youngest player in the field and will start on eight-under-par, two behind Scottie Scheffler who finished in a tie for second.

McIlroy was full of praise for playing partner Hovland as they get set for a second Ryder Cup outing as team Europe compatriots next month.

“He played amazing. Yeah, he played incredibly. I was marking his card in there and I’m like, oh, you only made one four on the back nine, the rest threes, so it adds up to a nice little 28 for him. It was great to see. He played great.

“I sort of realised around like 14, 15 something pretty special was happening, and he played a great round of golf”.

McIlroy will start the Tour Championship in third place on -7, three behind Scheffler.

Seamus Power shot a two-over-par 72 for a 14-over-par total and signalled the end of his PGA Tour season.

The Tour championship gets underway on Thursday with McIlroy looking to win his fourth FedEx Cup title.


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