Viktor Hovland (Oklahoma State Athletics photo)
It felt a little like déjà vu watching Viktor Hovland storm around Pebble Beach in a USGA Champinship again. We last saw this play out nearly a year ago, when Hovland won the U.S. Amateur at the iconic venue.
Fast forward 10 months and Hovland, after finishing his junior season at Oklahoma State, is playing his last event as an amateur. He had to remain one to utilize the exemption into the U.S. Open that he earned with that amateur win.
Hovland was the buzz of the afternoon (outside of the buzz that we’ve gotten used to Tiger Woods creating) when he went 4 under in his first six holes. A double-bogey at No. 8 quickly derailed that train, but Hovland played the back nine in even par for an opening 69 that left him T-16.
“It makes me feel pretty good,” Hovland said of seeing how he stacks up as he prepares for a pro career. “I don't feel like I had my best stuff. I'm not hitting it quite where I want to and how I want to. So that really gives me a lot of comfort knowing that I can hang with the best in the world with not quite my best stuff.”
Hovland was the low amateur at the Masters earlier this spring. He is one shot better than Jovan Rebula, the British Amateur champion, after one round at Pebble.
“I got in late Sunday afternoon, and Sunday I got on the golf course for the first time, you know, and it's just been magical ever since,” said Rebula, who plays for Auburn. “I got to spend a good bit of time with my uncle (Ernie Els), had some practice rounds with him. So always being able to spend time with your family is always special.”
Here's how the rest of the amateurs stand:
T-40. Brandon Wu (71)
T-40. Michael Thorbjornsen (71)
T-58. Austin Eckroat (72)
T-58. Chandler Eaton (72)
T-98. Kevin Yu (74)
T-98. Matt Parziale (74)
T-98. Stewart Hagestad (74)
T-98. Spencer Tibbits (74)
T-116. Cameron Young (75)
T-132. Kevin O'Connell (76)
T-132. Daniel Hillier (76)
T-149. Noah Norton (80)
154. Devon Bling (82)
ABOUT THE U.S. Open
The U.S. Open is the biggest of the 14 national
championships conducted by the USGA.
to amateurs and professionals.
The USGA intends to make the U.S. Open
most rigorous, yet fair, examination of golf
skills, testing all forms of shot-making. The
USGA prepares the course after careful
consideration of 14 different factors.
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