Viktor Hovland isn't even through a full year yet as a professional, and he's breaking PGA Tour records which have stood for decades.
At the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island in South Korea, Hovland came into the week a round away from setting the PGA Tour record for consecutive rounds in the 60s. Bob Estes held the record of 17 consecutive rounds for 18 years, and Hovland was looking at the record by shooting a first round of 3-under 69 or better.
That's exactly what Hovland shot: a 69 to break the record, rallying from an opening front nine of even par. The PGA Tour first kept track of this record in 1983.
Estes was gracious in congratulating the Norwegian rookie.
Congratulations to Viktor Hovland for breaking the record. He’s a great player already and his career is just getting started. I enjoyed having the record the last 18 years but most records do eventually get broken. Keep it goin’, Viktor! https://t.co/l616Z9g8Uj
— Bob Estes (@BobEstesPGA) October 17, 2019
Then Hovland extended his record with a second-round 69. Hovland made a birdie on his 15th hole of his round, which began on the 10th hole, to get to 3 under on the day. He made pars into the house to get to the weekend on 6-under 138.
Hovland admitted Friday the streak wasn't on his mind this week. After gaining his PGA Tour card through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, Hovland headed to England to compete in the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship for the first time. He didn't fire four rounds in the 60s at Wentworth, nor did he all the way through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, so as far as he was concerned, the streak was over.
"I didn't really think much about it because I played in England three weeks ago and I didn't shoot rounds in the 60s there, so I didn't really think about it," Hovland said. "But I guess that didn't count as the PGA Tour, so I didn't really think much about it at all."
Working back from the pair of 69s to start this week in South Korea, Hovland has shot 69-69-64-68-68-68-65-64-66-66-64-68-69-69-65-69-66-69-64, beginning with a closing 64 in the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic in June.
While Hovland is thrilled to have such a record so soon into his professional career, he wishes the streak would have yielded some better finishes -- or even a win.
"Obviously I would have liked to have maybe higher finishes in the tournaments that I've played, but it really goes to show the consistency that I've had over the summer," he said Friday.
That standard must be high, as Hovland has finished outside the top 16 just once since turning pro after the US Open -- in his pro debut at the 2019 Travelers Championship in June.
"Hopefully I can continue the streak, shoot a little lower."