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Hovland Makes Statement With Game And Orange Pants At PGA Championship

  • 3 min read

Viktor Hovland’s outfits have been known to sometimes overshadow his play, and that might have been the case again on Friday at the PGA Championship if the Norwegian, wearing bright orange pants, had not grabbed a share of the halfway lead.

The pants seemed to come right out of the closet of Rickie Fowler, who has made orange his trademark color on the course, and in fact Hovland was confused for the American world number 49 as he made his way around Oak Hill.

Hovland, who during Thursday’s opening round sported a bright orange and yellow ombre polo, told reporters on Friday that Fowler has not said anything to him about his outfits.

“I haven’t seen him all week. I heard a couple of guys in the crowd were yelling ‘Go, Rickie,'” said Hovland. “I guess, what’s the expression? Impersonation is the biggest form of flattery or something.”

Hovland made a fast start to his second round with two consecutive birdies before a bogey at the par-three third hole where his tee shot landed in a front greenside bunker.

But the Norwegian world number 11 cruised along the rest of the way and added a pair of back-nine birdies, including at the closing par-four 18th where his approach shot stopped five feet from the hole, for a three-under-par 67.

“Birdies are hard to come by out here, but certainly nice to have a good finish,” said Hovland. “It makes you kind of maybe relax or ease into the next day, I guess, instead of finishing bogey, bogey; you have a little bit of a bitter taste in your mouth. But no, certainly pumped up for the weekend.”

Hovland, whose best finish at a PGA Championship was a share of 30th place in 2021, enters the weekend in a three-way share of the lead with world number two Scottie Scheffler and Canada’s Corey Conners.

A three-times winner on the PGA Tour, Hovland’s streak of being among the top 10 at the conclusion of 10 consecutive major championship rounds is easily the longest current run of its kind but he’s yet to walk away with the title on any occasion.

“Yeah, I haven’t done great in the majors that I’ve played before. I’ve had some nice top-15 finishes and stuff like that, but I haven’t quite been in contention,” said Hovland.

“I think that’s been because I’ve just been a little bit young and stupid, just going after some pins that I’m not supposed to go for even though I’m feeling good about my ball-striking and it’s easy to just feel like, yeah, I’m going to take it right at it and make a birdie here.

“Then you hit a decent shot, and then you’re short-sided and make bogey or double, and you just can’t do that in major championship golf.”

With more experience under his belt, the 25-year-old Hovland finally feels like he has necessary tools to break through at a major and collect the biggest win of his career.

“I think so. The ball-striking is definitely there. Putting, you know, anything can happen, and I feel like a lot of the short game work that I’ve been doing the last couple of months are starting to show a little bit,” said Hovland.

“Some of the bunker shots that I hit today were really nice just to kind of keep the score together. Yeah, I believe I have all the tools in the bag. I just have to go out there and execute.”