Late birdies give Hovland a 62 for a 2-shot lead at Mayakoba

Nov 6, 2021, 2:46 AM | Updated: 2:47 pm

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) — Viktor Hovland was hitting it so well he had no trouble taking on a big risk, and it paid off Saturday with a big finish for a 9-under 62 and a two-shot lead in the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.

Hovland, the defending champion at this Mexican resort, hit driver just over the green on the par-4 17th and hit a dart into the closing hole at El Cameleon for the lowest score of his PGA Tour career.

That gave him a two-shot lead over fellow Oklahoma State alum Talor Gooch (63), and he was three clear of Justin Thomas (64).

“That was fun today,” Hovland said. “Obviously, got off to a nice start and it was nice to have one of those rounds where you can kind of keep it going throughout the day instead of maybe slowing down towards the end there where, frankly, there’s some tough holes.”

Matthew Wolff, who started the weekend with a two-shot lead, made a pair of bogeys early in his round to fall out of the lead and managed only one birdie in his round of 73 that dropped him out of contention.

Scottie Scheffler had a good start and little else, and a double bogey on the 14th hole when he drove into a hazard led to a 70 that put him seven shots behind.

Hovland was at 19-under 94 as he goes for his third PGA Tour title.

The Norwegian star already had made up a three-shot deficit with seven birdies, along with tough pars on some of the holes into the steady breeze.

The tour moved up the tees about 100 yards on the 17th hole, with mangroves right of the green and a small lagoon to the left.

Gooch was in the group ahead of him and hit iron off the tee and wedge to tap-in range for birdie that gave him a share of the lead. Hovland went with driver and it landed about 15 feet beyond the pin and rolled just off the edge. He pitched beautifully to 6 inches for birdie.

“I’ve hit it great and I thought it was the play,” Hovland said. “So if it’s the play, you pull outt the big dog and you try to hit it.”

Then, Hovland peeled a low driver into the fairway and stuffed that one about 4 feet away for another birdie to widen his lead.

Gooch had a birdie putt that spun out of the cup on the 18th. Even so, he will be in the final group on Sunday as he goes after his first PGA Tour victory.

He did his best work earlier on the back nine, rolling in a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 12, an eagle putt from about 35 feet on the par-5 13th and then chipping in for birdie from just off the green at No. 14.

“You never know when your time is going to come,” Gooch said, speaking specifically to his burst of scoring, and possibly to finally hoisting a trophy. This is his 102nd start.

“The game came easy today,” he said. “I hit a bunch of fairways, hit a bunch of greens. Nice when you get a chip-in, you make a 30-footer and those are the type of things you need to have happen to turn it from a 67 to 63.”

Thomas had a 62 in the third round last year at Mayakoba to at least give himself a chance. This time, he started much closer to the leaders and his 63 left him only three back.

He began the tournament at 3 over for his opening nine. Thomas couldn’t help but think of his pairing with Patrick Cantlay at the BMW Championship, when Cantlay started slowly and wound up winning in a playoff.

“And I know this is a course you can get on crazy kinds o runs out here,” Thomas. “It feels good to now I haven’t really done anything special, but I’ve just kind of checked the boxes and done a lot of things I need to do and put ourselves in a good spot.”

Carlos Ortiz of Mexico had a 67 and was five shots behind.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A pitch invader runs across the field with a rainbow flag during the World Cup group H soccer match...
Associated Press

Protester with rainbow flag banned from World Cup matches

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The protester who ran onto the field during a World Cup match carrying a rainbow flag and wearing a blue Superman T-shirt with messages in support of Ukraine and Iranian women was banned Tuesday from attending any more matches during the tournament in Qatar. The World Cup organizing committee said in […]
1 day ago
FILE — Voria Ghafouri, right, fights for the ball with Iraqi midfielder Hussein Ali, during the A...
Associated Press

Iran releases soccer players ahead of match against US

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian authorities said Tuesday that two former members of the national soccer team arrested this month in connection with nationwide protests have been released on bail. The announcement came hours before Iran was set to play the U.S. at the World Cup in a match that authorities are heavily […]
1 day ago
Cameroon's head coach Rigobert Song arrives to the field for the World Cup group G soccer match bet...
Associated Press

Cameroon goalkeeper Onana leaves World Cup after dispute

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana has apparently left the World Cup and is going home after being dropped from the country’s squad for disciplinary reasons. A photo posted by a Cameroonian journalist on social media shows the Inter Milan goalkeeper at the airport on Tuesday. The Cameroon team spokesman did not […]
1 day ago
Associated Press correspondent Isabel DeBre films a selfie video in front of Lusail Stadium in Lusa...
Associated Press

4 World Cup matches in 1 day? An AP reporter’s challenge

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Qatar’s World Cup is the most compact in history, with all eight stadiums radiating from the capital city in a country smaller than the U.S. state of Connecticut and the two farthest stadiums barely 41 miles (66 kilometers) apart. That led to a question during the tournament’s group stage: Can a […]
1 day ago
Canada head coach John Herdman yells as Canada forward Alphonso Davies (19) looks on during the sec...
Associated Press

Canada heads home from the World Cup with work to be done

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — While Canada is understandably disappointed to be heading home following the World Cup’s group stage, in a way the team’s work is just beginning with an eye toward 2026. The Canadians will turn their attention to their preparation for the next World Cup, which they will co-host with the United States […]
1 day ago
Spain's head coach Luis Enrique walks off the pitch with the players at the end of the World Cup gr...
Associated Press

Veterans keep important role in Spain’s young World Cup team

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After the final whistle of Spain’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the World Cup on Sunday, coach Luis Enrique went out to the field and began talking to some of his players. He spent more time with one in particular, Sergio Busquets, the only remaining member of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad […]
1 day ago
Late birdies give Hovland a 62 for a 2-shot lead at Mayakoba