Hovland wins by five shots over Schauffele
Viktor Hovland played the best golf of his life in the final two weeks of the PGA TOUR season, and it paid off Sunday with the biggest trophy of his career – a FedEx Cup title along with the $18 million bonus.
Staked to a six-shot lead, Hovland didn’t flinch under a relentless challenge from Xander Schauffele. The 25-year-old Norwegian stayed on the attack and closed with a 7-under 63 for a five-shot victory at East Lake Golf Club.
Hovland capped off his best season with three victories. Even more staggering is that he played his final tournaments – the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields and the Tour Championship at East Lake – in 36-under par.
Schauffele made him work for that $18 million and got to within three shots with seven holes to play. Hovland ended the suspense with a 25-foot par putt on the 14th hole, and he put Schauffele away with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th.
Schauffele and Hovland put on a superb show. Playing in the last group, on a day that was delayed nearly two hours by thunderstorms, they had the best scores of the day. Hovland was the No. 2 seed going into the Tour Championship, meaning he started at 8-under par. Hovland posted a 19-under 261 – the same score as Schauffele, who started the tournament at 3-under par.
Hovland’s impressive stats and records
Hovland became the first player from Norway to win the FedEx Cup, and only the second European after Rory McIlroy (2016, 2019). He also joined Tiger Woods (2007, 2009) and Dustin Johnson (2020) as the only players to win both the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship in the same season.
Hovland’s total score of 36-under par in his last two events was the lowest by any player in consecutive tournaments since Woods in 2006 (37-under). His final-round 63 matched the course record at East Lake, which was set by Schauffele in 2017 when he won the Tour Championship as a rookie.
Hovland also became the first player to win three times in a season without winning a major since Justin Thomas in 2018. He moved up to No. 2 in the world ranking, behind only Jon Rahm, who finished third at East Lake.
Schauffele’s consolation prize and other notable finishes
Schauffele did everything he could to catch Hovland, but he had to settle for second place for the fourth time this season. He also finished runner-up at the Masters, the U.S. Open and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He earned $5 million for his second-place finish in the FedEx Cup standings, and he secured his spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Rahm, who started the week as the No. 1 seed and the world No. 1, shot a final-round 68 to finish third at East Lake, eight shots behind Hovland. He earned $4 million for his third-place finish in the FedEx Cup standings, and he remained atop the world ranking.
Patrick Cantlay, who won last week’s BMW Championship in a thrilling playoff over Bryson DeChambeau, started the week as the No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup standings with a two-shot lead over Hovland. However, he struggled to find his form at East Lake, shooting rounds of 70-71-72-69 to finish tied for 11th, 16 shots behind Hovland. He earned $1.5 million for his fourth-place finish in the FedEx Cup standings.
What’s next for Hovland and Schauffele
Hovland and Schauffele will both represent their respective teams at the Ryder Cup, which will be held from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Hovland will make his debut for Team Europe, while Schauffele will make his debut for Team USA.
Both players will also look to carry their momentum into next season, which will start next week with the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California. They will also have their sights set on winning their first major titles, as they are widely regarded as two of the best players without a major.