2021 Championship at Mayakoba grades: Viktor Hovland goes back to back at Playa del Carmen

For the primary time in two-and-a-half years, a PGA Tour occasion has the identical winner two years in a row. Viktor Hovland shot a 67 within the remaining spherical to complete at -23 on the week, defeating Carlos Ortiz by 4 and Justin Thomas by 5 to take the World Broad Championship at Mayakoba.

It was by no means whilst shut because it appears to be like on paper — and it would not look all that shut on paper. Hovland took a two-stroke lead into the finale of the occasion he gained this time final 12 months, went out in 3-under 33 to extend that lead and largely cruised house to win the third Tour occasion of his profession. In the course of all that, he went 37 holes — from center of his spherical on Friday to center of his spherical on Sunday — and not using a single blemish on his scorecard. He led the sector in birdies on the week with 28 and almost led it in bogey avoidance. That is usually going to provide trophies.

Hovland is now a three-time champion on the PGA Tour in simply 57 occasions performed and a two-time champion of this occasion. Not since Brooks Koepka gained the PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019 has a participant gained the identical PGA Tour match two years in a row. And whereas it might be straightforward to jot down off the truth that this occurred within the fall at an occasion that is not essentially elite, have a look at the gamers Hovland beat. Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, Matthew Wolff and Sergio Garcia all completed within the prime 20. Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Will Zalatoris and Koepka had been all within the area. Do not be confused by the identify on the signage, this was a powerful occasion on the prime of the sector.

Three wins in 57 begins on the PGA Tour is quicker than Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson or Thomas reached that quantity. And whereas none of them have been a premier occasion, you need to suppose that is coming for him, maybe as quickly as 2022.

Hovland ranks third on the list of the top-10 ball-strikers within the strokes-gained period (starting of 2004 to now), behind solely Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. That is fairly good firm to maintain. In fact, his brief sport might nonetheless use some work. He is the one one of many 10 on that record who’s not a plus in strokes gained across the inexperienced and that confirmed a bit late at Mayakoba. Nonetheless, the muse is there for Hoyland to interrupt out over the following few years.

For now, although, it is sufficient to have a good time what’s at hand. Hovland has defeated all 262 golfers he has confronted in his final two begins at this match and takes some consistency as a prime participant on this planet into 2022. He has not left the highest 20 since profitable this match final 12 months, and staying there for that size of time engenders a confidence that can’t be replicated and can probably assist him to many extra wins over the remainder of what has began out as an excellent profession. Grade: A+

Rick Gehman is joined by Greg DuCharme and Mark Immelman to interrupt down and react to Viktor Hovland’s victory at Mayakoba. Comply with & hearken to The First Lower on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Listed below are the remainder of our grades for the World Broad Expertise Championship at Mayakoba.

Justin Thomas (3): Although he did not win after taking The Gamers Championship in March, J.T. nonetheless ended his 12 months on the PGA Tour on a pleasant run. He closed out 2021 with three top-five finishes in his final 5 begins and eight prime 20s in his final 10 begins worldwide. Whereas it is true that golfers like Thomas do not go looking for T7s, it is also true that this consequence contrasts with some transient post-Gamers struggles, setting him up for what needs to be one other great 2022. He’ll probably be displeased along with his closing kick at Mayakoba, however he in all probability wasn’t going to catch Hovland anyway. That is nonetheless a pleasant consequence and little two-tournament run with new caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay on the bag heading into 2022. Grade: A-

Matthew Wolff (T5): There are a few other ways to take a look at Wolff’s T5 right here. When you did not know what the development of his week seemed like, you’d undoubtedly reward the general end. When you knew he shot 61 on Thursday and 65 on Sunday, undone solely by a 74 within the third spherical that was almost the worst rating of anybody within the area, you would possibly bemoan what really might have been his second profession win. Regardless, a top-five end on this area on a course that does not match him is terrific It is simple that Wolff is acting at new heights in 2021. He has two top-five finishes in a row and three straight prime 20s. We in all probability will not see an excessive amount of (if any) of him all through the remainder of 2021, however he has formally modified his trajectory going into 2022. I am personally excited to see what the remainder of the season will deliver for him. Grade: A

Brooks Koepka (MC): Koepka’s missed reduce is disappointing however unsurprising. He doesn’t have a prime 10 anyplace for the reason that Open Championship, which touched off 4 top-six finishes in 5 begins, together with three majors. Now, he has as many missed cuts this 12 months (six) as he has prime 10s anyplace on this planet. He’s the definition of a feast-or-famine golfer. To be clear, that isn’t a foul factor in a world the place profitable is so extremely valued and anything is commonly thought-about failure — particularly at Koepka’s degree. We’ll probably go into 2022 considering the identical factor we thought coming into 2021: He is without end a risk at main championships and a query mark all over the place else. Once more, this isn’t a foul factor essentially, nevertheless it’s a actuality he strengthened all through this 12 months. Grade: F

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