Viktor Hovland’s par-4 ‘hole-in-one’ wasn’t what it looked like

viktor hovland

Viktor Hovland tosses his ball into the crowd at Marco Simone after making a second-ball birdie on the par-4 5th.

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ROME — It’s hard to know sometimes, when you’re at massive golf tournaments, where exactly the roar is coming from, and what exactly that roar means. But the roar we heard mid-day at Marco Simone felt pretty obvious. Someone had clearly made a hole-in-one. 

The roar grew from nothing, which happens a lot in golf. The silence that hangs after a ball is struck and soars through the air. Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Bob McIntyre chatted amongst themselves on the 6th tee, which is situated near the 5th green. The par-4 5th is drivable, at just 305 yards. In other, more important words, it’s ace-able. 

Euro captain Luke Donald stood on that 6th tee, too. But everyone was looking forward, up the 6th, rather than looking backward, at the 5th, where the roar was building. Viktor Hovland had just nuked a 3-wood that landed on the front of the green, bouncing twice before rolling end over end. That’s when the roar grew from Oh to a communal murmur to Woahhhh and then, tink. Into the jar. Absolute eruption of applause. You didn’t have to see it to know what had happened. 

Or did you? 

McIlroy and Fleetwood whipped their heads around in the direction of the 5th tee, up on their tip-toes to see if they could understand, from afar, who had holed out. The reaction was one of chaos, too. Matt Fitzpatrick leaped onto Hovland’s back. Ludvig Aberg‘s caddie Jack Clarke leaped into the fray, too, bouncing around the tee box. But for some reason, the man himself stood there nonplussed.

Donald, with his earpiece in, immediately earned an order from McIlroy and the boys on the 6th: find out who did it! 

It was Hovland, Donald confirmed, with a smile. Of course. The Norwegian lad basically hasn’t missed a shot all summer long. There was only one issue, however. Hovland’s magical shot came on his second ball from the tee, not his first. No one on the 6th tee had seen where his first ball landed, but we can guess it probably finished in the water hazard short of the green. (Yes, you’re going to like watching shots on the 5th all week.)

“Great three,” McIlroy said, the excitement now drained from his group of teammates. “Great birdie,” Donald added.

But also, maybe the worst birdie he’s ever made?

Sean Zak Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just finished a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews.

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