Hovland nets Dubai Desert Classic after final round fireworks

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Viktor Hovland posses with his trophy after winning the Dubai Desert Classic 2022 Golf Championship at the Emirates Golf Club on Sunday. AFP

Viktor Hovland made a remarkable final round charge to defeat Richard Bland in the first play-off hole and win the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Norwegian, six shots off overnight leader Justin Harding, produced a storming finish, sandwiching a terrific eagle two on the par-4 17th hole with birdies on the 16th and 18th to close with a sensational six-under par 66.

That took him to 12-under par and set the clubhouse mark, which was later matched by England’s Bland, double the age of Hovland, after a stunning 22-feet birdie on the 18th hole.

Bland, who turns 49 in three days, chipped in for a birdie on the difficult ninth hole, and then holed his tough bunker shot on the par-3 11th.

However, the most crucial shot was the 22-feet birdie putt on the 18th, as he closed with a 68.

Rory McIlroy reached the 17th tee at 12-under par, but slightly blocked his tee shot into the right bushes on the reachable par-4.

He proceeded to make a remarkable par, but sliced his 3-wood second shot on the par-5 18th into the water.

He finished with a bogey and was third at 11-under par.

Hovland never looked in contention after making a three-putt bogey from 33 feet on the 15th hole.

But he then drained a 35-footer for birdie on the 16th, a 33-footer for eagle on the 17th and missed a 40-footer for eagle on the 18th.

He is expected to rise two places to number 3 in the world rankings next week.

Agencies

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