Viktor Hovland’s quest for a three-peat in Mexico is off to a solid start
It’s unlikely enough for a player to successfully defend a title each year, so the idea of a player winning three straight times is nearly unheard of.
Incredibly, three players have managed to do it over the course of the PGA Tour’s history: Tiger Woods, Stuart Appleby and Steve Stricker. Woods, of course, has the distinction of a whopping four different three-peats, and even has two more four-peats on his resume.
But Stricker is the most recent player to do it, winning the John Deere Classic in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Now, Hovland is hoping to become the first player in a decade and only the fourth ever to three-peat — and he’s off to a good start.
On Thursday, Hovland fired an opening round of six-under 65 that featured six birdies, two bogeys and an eagle at the El Camaleon Golf Course at Mayakoba. He trails tournament leader Will Gordon by three shots.
“It was an interesting day,” Hovland said after his round. “I started on the back nine and made a nice birdie on 11, made a really nice up-and-down on 12. Hit in the middle of the fairway on 13 and thought I was going to add another birdie on the card, but hit a terrible shot in the water and made a bogey.
“The back nine was kind of, I hit a lot of good shots, made a birdie and then we just kind of would give it back right away,” he continued. “So the back nine was a little bit frustrating, but yeah, the front really put me back in the tournament, so that was a lot of fun.”
At six under par out of the starting gate, Hovland is also off to an even hotter start than he’s posted in years past.
“I think the last two years I’ve started 4 and 5 under, so even improved on that,” he said.
Even if it doesn’t work out for Hovland this week, golf fans will have a chance to watch four more players try for three-peat glory in the coming year, starting with Sam Burns at the Valspar Championship, then K.H. Lee at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Rory McIlroy at the RBC Canadian Open and Patrick Cantlay at the BMW Championship.
Hovland will start his second round alongside Scottie Scheffler and Keith Mitchell at 1:30 p.m. ET. on Friday.