Viktor Hovland wins Silver Cup in Masters debut

Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Viktor Hovland wins Silver Cup in Masters debut

Masters

Viktor Hovland wins Silver Cup in Masters debut

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Alvaro Ortiz came to his 72nd hole at Augusta National hole believing he needed a birdie to take a share of low amateur honors. After a solid strike, Ortiz took an aggressive line to the flagstick on the ninth hole and dumped it in the bunker. He made bogey to miss out on the Silver Cup by a stroke.

Turns out the intel Ortiz received from the gallery was incorrect. Victor Hovland, playing several groups ahead, had also bogeyed his final hole to finish at 3-under 285 for the tournament.

Hovland, a 21-year-old Norwegian who won the 2018 U.S. Amateur, was the first Norwegian to ever qualify for the Masters. He finished in a share of 32nd thanks to three consecutive rounds of 71. Hovland was encouraged by the fact that his average, every-day game yielded such a strong finish.

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“It will be exciting to see what I can do if I’m playing really well,” he said.

Ortiz took the strategy misfire in stride.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “it’s a trophy and it really doesn’t matter. Coming out here today and Sunday with these tough conditions and shooting 69 tells me a lot about my game.”

Amateur Viktor Hovland  plays a shot on the 13th hole during the final round of the 2019 Masters Tournament. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

The Latin American Amateur champ planned to turn professional immediately after the Masters and hopes to land some exemptions in the near future.

“I’ll play anywhere,” he said. “I’m not picky at all.”

This marked the first time in 30 years that four amateurs made the cut. UCLA’s Devon Bling, runner-up to Hovland at last year’s Amateur, shot 73 to take a share of 55th. Japan’s Takumi Kanaya ballooned to final-round 78, 10 strokes worse than Saturday’s score, to finish T-58.

Hovland, who plays for the No. 1-ranked Oklahoma State, had head coach Alan Bratton on the bag week. It marked Bratton’s third time caddying at the Masters. He also looped for former Cowboys Peter Uihlein and Jordan Niebrugge.

Hovland played Augusta National with seven different major champions this week, including Sergio Garcia on Monday and Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Bratton arranged a last-minute back-nine walk with Bernhard Langer that proved especially educational. Bratton said the ageless German almost holed four iron shots on the back nine.

“Victor learned a lot,” said Bratton, and had a newfound respect for some of the older pros.”

Viktor Hovland is presented with the low amateur award after the final round of the 2019 Masters Tournament. (Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)

Hovland won the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach last summer, where the U.S. Open returns in June. The college junior didn’t reveal any future plans after the NCAA postseason.

Asked what it is about Hovland that impresses the most, Bratton said “His misses are really tight; super-disciplined; knows how to control his ball; and he’s not overwhelmed by the stage.”

Attributes that were in abundance in his Masters debut.

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