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After stunning meltdown, Viktor Hovland won’t play U.S. Open on weekend

Viktor Hovland

BROOKLINE, Mass. — Airmailed irons. A shot that spun off the green. A three-putt. Chips that were lacking. Some misfortune. Not one thing led to Viktor Hovland’s nine-over-for-11-holes finishing kick on Friday at the U.S. Open. The struggles didn’t discriminate. 

In the end, Hovland missed the weekend at The Country Club, after an even-par 70 in the first round, and a 77 in the second. You just never saw that coming. If you do the simple math, he was two-under through 25 holes, and he was sitting in seventh and playing to keep an impressive streak going — Hovland had never missed a cut at a major championship in 10 starts.

Then he teed off on 17. 

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“This has just been a disastrous run,” announcer Shane Bacon said on broadcast. 

Indeed. 

364-yard, par-4 17th. Bogey. Hovland drops to one-under. 

The drive is good, down the right side of the fairway on the dogleg left. The setup for the second shot is good; Hovland is 100 yards out and has a wedge in his hand. Things look good for a second, his ball landing about 15 feet from the hole — until it spins off the green. 

“Big mistake with a wedge in his hand,” analyst Trevor Immelman said on the broadcast.

449-yard, par-4 18th. Bogey. Hovland drops to even.  

Some bad luck here. Hovland hits his tee shot left, and it’s heading toward a fairway bunker, only to finish maybe a yard short of it and settle into the deep fescue. He muscles out his second shot, only for his ball to wind up toward the top of a greenside bunker. 

496-yard, par-4 1st. Bogey. Hovland drops to one-over. 

Another nice drive, 317 yards down the left side of the fairway on the dogleg left. But from 165 out, Hovland hits a short iron over the green. 

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217-yard, par-3 2nd. Bogey. Hovland drops to two-over. 

Hovland begs his iron to “go, go hard.” It doesn’t, he’s 54 feet away, and he three-putts. 

496-yard, par-4 3rd. Bogey. Hovland drops to three-over. 

Hovland’s again in the fairway after a nice tee shot, and he again airmails his iron, the ball dropping on the back left portion of the green, where it trickles off. “Yikes, that’s not where you want to hit it, though,” analyst John Wood says on the broadcast. His third shot is a below-average chip. 

490-yard, par-4 4th. Bogey. Hovland drops to four-over. 

This one stings. Hovland is deep down the fairway, has a nice angle in — and dumps a wedge into a greenside bunker. At four-over, he’s now below what would be the cutline. 

165-yard, par-3 6th. Bogey. Hovland drops to five-over. 

Hovland is right off the tee, hits a chip that leaves him 15 feet for par and can’t convert. This is maybe a good spot to list some of the stats from the second round — Hovland was 134th in Strokes Gained: Approach; 134th in SG: Around the Green; and 122nd in SG: Putting.

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547-yard, par-5 8th. Bogey. Hovland drops to six-over. 

This one is an all-around struggle. Hovland misses the fairway to the right off the tee. He hits left of the green and into the tall stuff on his second shot. He advances his third shot a few feet. He pitches his fourth shot over the green. It’s here where Bacon calls it all “a disastrous run.”

421-yard, par-4 9th. Bogey. Hovland drops to seven-over.  

Hovland, with a fairway metal, misses the fairway right with his tee shot, hits over the green and into a greenside bunker with his second shot, and he bogeys one more time. 

That’s 11 holes, nine bogeys, two pars and no birdies. 

And no weekend. 

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