Hovland wins again in Bahamas, Meronk wins in Australia
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Viktor Hovland won the Hero World Challenge with more excitement than he needed Sunday, clinching it with a 20-foot bogey putt on the final hole for a 3-under 69 to join tournament host Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners.
Hovland had a two-shot lead on the 18th when his 6-iron from the slope above a bunker turned hard left and into the water. He took a penalty drop and hit a full wedge to about 20 feet for a chance to save bogey.
Scottie Scheffler was in the sandy area right of the green, and his chip ran hard over the lip and settled 10 feet away, giving him a par putt to force a playoff if Hovland missed.
Hovland holed the bogey putt for another trophy presentation with Woods. It was far different from a year ago, when he rallied from six shots behind.
Woods won in 2006 and 2007 when it was held at Sherwood Country Club. He had to withdraw this week with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, instead watching in his Sunday red shirt for some drama no one was expecting.
Hovland finished at 16-under 272 and won $1 million. The victory is unofficial, but the world ranking points pushed him up three spots to No. 9.
Scheffler bogeyed the last hole for a 68 to finish two back. It was his second straight year as runner-up in the Bahamas.
Scheffler needed to win to return to No. 1 in the world, at least for a few weeks. Rory McIlroy was projected to finish the year at the top of the ranking regardless of the outcome.
EUROPEAN TOUR AND PGA TOUR OF AUSTRALASIA
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Adrian Meronk of Poland capped off a big weekend with a 35-foot eagle putt on the final hole for a 4-under 66 and a five-shot victory in the Australian Open for his second European tour title.
Meronk went 63-66 on the weekend and quickly overcame 54-hole leader Adam Scott. He became the first European winner of golf’s fifth-oldest championship since Rory McIlroy in 2013.
Women’s British Open champion Ashleigh Buhai held off late challenges from Grace Kim and Jiyai Shin to win the Women’s Australian Open. The men’s and women’s tournaments were held concurrently at Victoria Golf Club with equal prize money.
Scott closed with a 72 to finish alone in second, five shots behind.
Min Woo Lee of Australia finished third and earned one of three spots in the British Open next year at Hoylake as part of the International Finals Qualifying series. The other two spots went to Haydn Barron and Alejandro Canizares, who tied for fourth.
Shin had a chance to force a playoff on the final hole until missing her birdie putt just to the right, allowing Buhai to tap in for par and the one-shot victory.
EUROPEAN TOUR AND SUNSHINE TOUR
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Thriston Lawrence held on to win his home South African Open despite closing with a 2-over 74 at the Blair Atholl course on Sunday.
Lawrence started the day with a two-shot lead over Clement Sordet of France and extended his advantage to five strokes early on the back nine. But he dropped five shots over a five-hole stretch on the back nine and held on to win by one at 16-under 272.
The victory is his third on the European tour, following wins at the Joburg Open a year ago and the European Masters in August.
Jens Fahrbring of Sweden (70) finished third, two shots off the pace, and Germany’s Matti Schmid was fourth, another three strokes back.
Sarit Suwannarut of Thailand closed with a 4-under 68 for a four-shot victory over Anirban Lahiri (66) in the BNI Indonesian Masters, the last of the International Series events on the Asian Tour. Graeme McDowell had a 69 and tied for third with Shih-chang Chan (69) of Taiwan. ... Hideto Tanihara closed with a 5-under 65 to make up a four-shot deficit and win the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup, the last tournament of the year on the Japan Golf Tour. Tanihara won by one shot over Hiroshi Iwata (65), Chan Kim (65) and Daijiro Izumida (68). ... Zack Fisher closed with a 4-under 68 for a one-shot victory in the Visa Argentina Open on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. The victory earned him a spot in the British Open next year. ... Joakim Haeggman of Sweden shot a 4-under 66 for a four-shot victory in the MCB Tour Championship-Seychelles on the Legends Tour in Europe.
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