Norwegian Viktor Hovland wins Hero Challenge, calls it his first ‘pro win’

V Krishnaswamy Abu Dhabi | Updated on January 15, 2020 Published on January 15, 2020

Norwegian Viktor Hovland being presented the Hero Challenge trophy by Pawan Munjal, Chairman of Hero MotoCorp

Norwegian Viktor Hovland loves Chicken Tikka, a taste he picked up as a junior in Scotland in 2013 and is now looking at picking up some Trophies after winning the Hero Challenge, which he jokingly called his ‘first’ professional win.

Late on Tuesday, Hovland showed amazing wedge play at the Hero Challenge under the lights at the iconic Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit. Norwegian Hovland, 22, a former World Amateur No, 1, uniquely scored with every single shot and beat World No, 1 Brooks Koepka in the semi-final. He then beat former Open champion, Louis Oosthuizen with another precise show. 

Hovland became the 11different winner in 11 editions of the hugely popular Hero Challenge, where the players are required to aim at coloured zones worth five, 10, 25 and 50 points from a customised platform about 100 yards from the target.

With his final shot of the night worth double, Hovland found the ‘Bull’s Eye’ for 50 points, which was doubled for 100. His total of 190 points was way more than Oosthuizen’s 55 and it fetched Hovland the Trophy presented by Dr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman of Hero MotoCorp.

Hovland, who played soccer and taekwondo as a youngster started focussing on golf in Grade 8. He is now one of the best young pros on the PGA Tour.

Hovland said, “I can’t complain, that was a pretty good start to the week. It’s an insane venue (Yas Marina). I have never been to a place like this, so what a place to get my first “professional victory!”

“I hit some pretty nice wedge shots so hopefully that carries through to the (main) tournament. To win the Hero Challenge is pretty cool and I’m looking forward to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.”

Alluding to his love for Indian food, Hovland added, “It was in 2013, and I remember, because there's a lot of Indians in England and Scotland. We weren't too big on just normal English pub food, so we just went into an Indian place and it was the best thing I've ever had.”

Talking about Tokyo Olympics and what Henrik Stenson’s Olympic medal did for Swedish golf, he said, “I think it helped in Sweden because Henrik did so well. Obviously we need to get there and hopefully do well. Maybe that would do something for golf in Norway.

“I know because it's an Olympic sport now, (its) higher up in Norway, but they have to spend more money on golf to help us improve, and the juniors coming behind us. Hopefully we do as well as we can, and yeah, it can help.”

Results: Final: Hovland beat Oosthuizen 190-55

Semi-final: Hovland bt Koepka 105-45; Oosthuizen bt Wiesberger 80--30

Group stage: Group 1: 1. Koepka; 2. Wiesberger; 3. Willett (eliminated); Group 2: 1. Oosthuizen; 2. Hovland; 3. Fitzpatrick (eliminated)

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Published on January 15, 2020
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