HOVLAND BREAKS INTO THE TOP 15
PGA Tour – Mayakoba Golf Classic presented by UNIFIN
Viktor Hovland of Norway holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Sunday for a 6-under 65 and a one-shot victory in the Mayakoba Golf Classic presented by UNIFIN, his second PGA TOUR victory this year.
Hovland moved from World No. 26 to 15, becoming the first player from Norway to break into the World Top 15.
It was the first time since the Mayakoba Classic began in 2007 that it was won with a birdie putt on the final hole. For the 23-year-old from Norway, it's becoming old hat. Hovland won the Puerto Rico Open in February for his first PGA TOUR title by holing a 30-foot birdie putt on the last hole.
“I was shaking there at the end,” Hovland said after closing with a 6-under 65. “I thought I lost it after second shot on 16. I made an awesome par there. I knew I had to make birdie on 18.”
Wise closed with a 63 and did everything right over the last two holes except make the birdie putts. Tied for the lead, he missed birdie putts from 12 feet on each of the last two holes at El Camaleon Golf Club.
The former NCAA champion at Oregon also was going for his second PGA TOUR win, the first one coming at the AT&T Byron Nelson two years ago.
Sunshine and European Tour – South African Open
Christiaan Bezuidenhout claimed a five-shot victory in the South African Open at the Gary Player Country Club moving to a career best of World No. 35 from 41.
Bezuidenhout signed for a final round of 69 to win on 18 under par, with Jamie Donaldson taking second place on 13 under par after also closing with a 69. Dylan Frittelli was third on 11 under with his final round of 71.
The win earned Bezuidenhout back-to-back victories on the Sunshine Tour and European Tour following his triumph in last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
“It feels amazing. It wasn’t easy out there and the first nine didn’t go my way, but I hung in there. To stand here as the SA Open champion is unbelievable. This is massive for me. It’s always been a dream and I wasn’t sure when, or if, I would achieve it,” said Bezuidenhout.
Bezuidenhout was never really under any pressure on the final day. He took a five-stroke lead into the final round, and even when Jamie Donaldson made an early charge with two birdies in his first three holes to cut that lead to three Bezuidenhout’s composure never wavered.
He parred his way through the opening seven holes, and then suffered his first bogey when he hit his approach on the eighth into the water. But a run of three birdies from the 10th hole was the final push he needed.
“When you go into the final round with a five-shot lead you are expecting to win it, so I did put a bit of pressure on myself. When things didn’t go my way on the front nine my caddie just kept me calm, and we did a great job coming in.”
Japan Golf Tour - Golf Nippon Series JT Cup
Chan Kim won a fifth Japan Golf Tour title at the season ending Golf Nippon Series JT Cup by one shot, earning 16 ranking points moving 30 spots to World No.73 from 103.
Chan was tied with Hiroshi Iwata and Hideto Tanihara as he faced a 1.5-meter par saving putt on the 18th.
"I knew I must make it and that though made my hands shake."
Chan managed to hole the shot and finished at 8 under. Chan was expecting a playoff, but both Hiroshi Iwata and Hideto Tanihara missed their par putts and the victory rolled into Chan's hands.
Gunn Charoenkul from Thailand and Todd Baek from Korea celebrated Chan with a shower of water. They were the only International players who were able to come to this year's JT Cup along with Chan.
"I am so glad that I took great effort to come back and play in Japan."
JGTO tournaments resumed in September, but the re-entry visa procedures were delayed making it difficult for international players to travel and compete. Chan could not come to Japan until the VISA Taiheiyo Masters in November and had to go through 2 weeks of self- isolation.
"I had no other choice than to come back to Japan. The JGTO and Players Association worked so hard for us, it was a chance that I could not give away. I knew I had to take the chance."
European Tour - Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World
Antoine Rozner claimed his maiden European Tour title with a superb two shot victory at the inaugural Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World moving back into the Top 200 at World No. 123.
The Frenchman began Saturday's final round four shots adrift of leader Andy Sullivan, who was aiming to go wire to wire in the hunt of his fifth European Tour crown.
Sullivan was still two strokes ahead of France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera as he reached the homeward stretch at Jumeirah Golf Estates - Fire Course, but Rozner got hot around turn to mount his title tilt.
A hat-trick of birdies from the ninth closed the gap to one and Rozner took the outright lead for the first time with an eagle at the 13th.
He and Sullivan jostled for supremacy but a bogey from the Englishman at the 16th proved critical as Rozner held his nerve to finish with a birdie to reach 25 under par and sign for a final round 64.
Rozner becomes the 14th first time winner on the 2020 Race to Dubai on his 24th appearance in a stellar rookie year for the 27-year-old.
"It means a lot. It's been such a strange year, we have been through so much all over the world and to be able to get it done in such nice fashion, eight under, it's amazing," Rozner said.
"I'm going to be very honest with you, the first time I saw I was in the lead was when I was on the 18th green so I didn't really look at the leaderboards.
Professional Golf Tour of India - Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational 2020 presented by TAKE
Local favourite Chandigarh’s Karandeep Kochhar fashioned a remarkable come-from-behind win at his home course, the Chandigarh Golf Club, after prevailing in the playoff against Indian star Anirban Lahiri to win the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational 2020 Presented by TAKE Sports.
Kochhar started the year ranked World No. 559, has earned a total of 13 points this year, with two back-to-back wins and a 2nd place finish taking him to a career best of World No.355.
The twenty-one-year-old, who began the tournament with a disastrous four-over-76 to lie tied 76th after round one, made a grand comeback with his next three rounds of 66, 67 and 68 to end up in a playoff with pre-tournament favourite Lahiri after both totaled 11-under-277 for the week.
Karandeep (76-66-67-68) and Anirban (70-68-70-69) were in a deadlock after being tied at the end of the first two playoff holes on Sunday. The match was then extended to Monday due to the fading light. They resumed the playoff with the third extra hole at 9 am on Monday. This was the first time in PGTI history that a tournament was extended by a day.
Kochhar, who began the final round in sixth place and three off the lead, went through a rollercoaster of emotions on Sunday after incurring a one-shot penalty for accidentally causing the ball to move on the 17th hole which as a result forced the match into a playoff. Karandeep finally showed great mental fortitude to come back and prevail on the third playoff hole on Monday making a 15-feet birdie conversion even as Anirban missed his 12-footer for birdie.
Kochhar, as a result, made it back-to-back wins on the TATA Steel PGTI having won the previous event on the tour at the same venue last month. This was Karandeep’s third title and second win as a professional on the PGTI. He had won his first title on the tour while still an amateur in 2016. Interestingly, the Chandigarh lad had lost out in a playoff to Chikkarangappa in the first edition of the tournament back in 2018.
Big Easy Tour - Big Easy Road to # 4 – Centurion
Gerhard Pepler showed nerves of steel in the final round of the Big Easy Tour Road To #4 at Centurion Country Club where his round of 69 earned him his breakthrough victory and his first as a professional on Friday.
Rounds of 66, 68 and 69 were enough to propel Pepler to a 13-under-par 203 total and earned him a one-shot victory over the pair of Werner Deyzel who signed for a perfect 66, and Reinhardt Blaauw who was co-leader coming into the final round.
“There is no feeling like this one, there are no words to describe it,” he said after his impressive win, “It was quite difficult to keep the nerves under control on the back nine, luckily my girlfriend, who was on the bag, did a fantastic job at keeping me calm and in the moment. This win means a lot to me because it is my first year as a pro. It definitely shows me that I can contend with the guys up there.”
Despite signing for a good score to win his first title, Pepler was critical of himself for leaving a few opportunities untested out there. He made birdie on the second hole, dropped on the fourth, and bounced back with another birdie on the fifth for a front nine of 35.
Two more birdies coming home – one on the par-five 12th and the other on the last hole – sealed a nerve-wracking final round.
“The course itself was playing a little bit easier,” he said, “because conditions weren’t as windy as the previous days, but the circumstances caused me to make it more difficult for myself. Honestly, I wasn’t too concerned with the score for the first 14 holes, but coming down the stretch, I wanted to know where I was and what I needed to do. So, it was great to pull it off because the guys were coming up behind and I had to stay in the moment.”
The Limpopo rookie becomes the third first-time winner on the Big Easy Tour this season after Herman Loubser claimed his long-awaited victory at Reading Country Club last week. Before Loubser, it was amateur Ryan Van Velzen who graced the winner’s circle on this circuit following his triumph at Services in the first event of the current season.