As it turns out, good became great, and that’s exactly how Viktor Hovland won the World Wide Technology Championship back-to-back. This is the first time in the tournament’s history there’s been a repeat winner, and Hovland did it while setting the 72-hole scoring record.
The Norwegian is known for his clutch birdie putts, of which he had 28, but they weren’t crucial at any point because of how strong Hovland played from start to finish. Walking off of the green with a 4-under-67 and winning by four shots, it really wasn’t a close match despite the contenders Hovland was teeing off against.
Coming up just behind Hovland was Carlos Ortiz of Mexico, who finished -19 to par, quite the gap from Hovland’s -23 due to no fault of Ortiz. But, it goes to show just how much Norway dominated the championship. Ortiz looked to become the first Mexican golfer to win a PGA tour match in Mexico, but could there be a repeat winning streak going on in the PGA right now?
Ortiz’s last and only PGA win was last year’s Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open. Coincidentally, that’s his next stop as the Houston Open will be held at the Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston, Texas from Nov. 11-14. I have to say, I’m rooting for him to go back-to-back just like Hovland. The fact that he was able to finish second in this tournament with an overall score of 265 and gain 300 FedEx Cup points should prepare Ortiz well for Texas.
Sure, a win would have been the best-case scenario, but I don’t think second place is a negative title considering how well he played last weekend. He did struggle on drives, and I think using his time at Mayakoba to realize where he needs to improve and what methods are working for him should prove valuable going into Houston.
In third place was Justin Thomas. I predicted he would do well, and he definitely rose to the challenge. The highlight of the tournament for him was his third round, where he didn’t bogey at all. He had more birdies than anyone throughout the entire weekend, coming up from his tough 3-over-par across the first nine holes, shortly serving some time in last place. To reach third from that and perform as he did to leave Mexico by just a shot at 18 under is pretty impressive.
Hovland and Thomas will not join Ortiz in Houston, but nonetheless he will still be in for some challenges on the green as Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka, both of the United States, will continue on the tour.
Scottie Scheffler came in fourth at the World Wide Technology Championship, but I will go as far to say he should’ve beaten Justin Thomas. It was the two double-bogeys in the third and fourth rounds that ultimately determined who would be in the top three.
Other than that, Scheffler was on his game. Birdies were present, but he just needed a few more. Except, of course on the 13th hole in the last round, where he got the birdie and was robbed of an eagle. The ball barely hit the stick, making a quick left turn to force another shot. Still looking for a PGA Tour win, hopefully this was a solid practice tournament for Scheffler going into the upcoming weekend.
Last week, I had a lot of hope for my guy Brooks Koepka. This week I still have hope, but it’s not a whole lot after he was cut from Mayakoba following two 71 shot rounds last Thursday and Friday. In Houston, that’s going to be a problem.
If we give him the benefit of the doubt, he may take the time to get a few practice rounds in over the weekend. He is ranked as the 13th golfer in the world, and coming off of a few injuries with his wrist and knee, he might just be looking to maintain that spot, which works for now.
On television, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open will be broadcasted on the Golf Channel from 1 to 4 p.m. starting on Thursday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 14. PGA Tour Radio will also be covering the match, which can be accessed through SiriusXM or PGATour.com/liveaudio.