Golf-Norway’s Hovland lifts title in Dubai after play-off victory

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FILE PHOTO: Oct 15, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Viktor Hovland hits on the first fairway during the second round of the CJ Cup golf tournament at The Summit Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

January 30, 2022

(Reuters) – Norway’s Viktor Hovland won the Dubai Desert Classic with a play-off victory over Richard Bland at the Emirates Golf Club on Sunday.

Hovland was barely in contention when he made a bogey on the 15th hole, but he bounced back with two birdies and an eagle to sign for a six-under-par 66 and set a target of 12-under.

England’s Bland joined him in the clubhouse with a birdie-birdie finish in a final-round 68, with four-time major winner Rory McIlroy missing the chance at the play-off after a bogey on the final hole.

Hovland made a two-putt birdie on the first trip back up the 18th and when Bland failed to get up and down after finding a tricky lie with his second, the Norwegian celebrated his victory.

“This is pretty wild. I didn’t really think this was possible going in today,” said Hovland, who started the day six shots off the lead.

“I knew I had to shoot a really low number but a lot of things had to go my way and I’m thankful that they did. I’m pumping right now.

“It’s a little bit surreal and it’s hard to kind of calm yourself a little bit but you’ve just got to rely on all the shots that you hit and just go back to what you know.”

World number two Collin Morikawa ended five-under for the tournament, tied in 18th place with five other players.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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