Hero World Challenge: Viktor Hovland holds off Scottie Scheffler to retain title

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Tournament host Tiger Woods (2006-07) and Viktor Hovland are the only players to win back-to-back titles at the Hero World Challenge
-16 V Hovland (Nor); -14 S Scheffler (US); -12 C Young (US); -11 X Schauffele (US); -10 J Thomas (US); -9 C Morikawa (US); -6 T Finau (US); -5 J Rahm (Spa), Sung-Jae Im (Kor)
Selected others: -1 M Fitzpatrick (Eng); +5 S Lowry (Ire); +7 T Fleetwood (Eng)
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Norway’s Viktor Hovland held his nerve to see off a spirited challenge from Scottie Scheffler and retain the Hero World Challenge title in the Bahamas.

Hovland was in danger of squandering a two-shot lead on the final hole but he salvaged an unlikely bogey.

Scheffler also bogeyed the 18th after his chip from a waste bunker caught the edge of the hole and ran 15 feet past.

That left Hovland to celebrate an unexpectedly dramatic two-shot win on 16 under par, after a closing 69.

The Ryder Cup player, 25, had a three-shot lead over Scheffler overnight but set up a nervy finish on Sunday’s final hole, pulling his second shot from an awkward lie on the edge of a bunker into the water before managing to get up and down for a bogey.

“It’s freaking nerve-racking,” said Hovland. “I was leading by five I think after the turn and didn’t play all that great on the back nine but it was good enough. It made it a little bit exciting I guess.”

Scheffler, who needed to win to reclaim top spot in the world rankings from Rory McIlroy, momentarily held a share of the lead when the Masters champion followed birdies on the second and fourth by chipping in for eagle on the sixth.

However, playing partner Hovland holed from 20 feet on the same hole to edge back in front and Scheffler’s hopes looked to have disappeared with a bogey on the seventh and double bogey on the par-five ninth.

Scheffler then kept the pressure on with four birdies on the back nine, which almost paid off on the 18th.

Hovland joins tournament host Tiger Woods (2006-07) as the only players to win back-to-back titles in the limited-field event.

“I’m just happy he didn’t play the last two years!” Hovland added. “To win his tournament is something very special.”

Woods was due to return to action at Albany for the first time since missing the cut in the Open Championship in July, but withdrew on Monday because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

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