Hovland makes European Tour history
Viktor Hovland made history over the weekend when he became the first Norwegian to win on the European Tour with a two-stroke victory at the BMW International Open.
Rounds of 68-67-64-70 saw Hovland finish two strokes ahead of recently appointed Team Europe Vice Captain Martin Kaymer and moved the 23-year-old into the top automatic qualifying spot on the World Points List with 293.06 points.
He also jumps ten places on the European Points List into 11th place with 2,549.52 points.
Should Hovland make Captain Pádraig Harrington’s team at Whistling Straits in November, he will become the first Norwegian to feature for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup.
Despite entering the day with a three shot lead, a stunning final round of 64 from local favourite Kaymer moved the German alongside Hovland and set the clubhouse target at 17 under par.
However, birdies at the 13th and 16th holes, followed by a closing birdie on the par five 18th saw Hovland claim his first European Tour victory.
Hovland said: "I grew up watching mostly the European Tour. There’s a lot of guys who played this week who I grew up watching.
“It’s cool to be a champion of this Tour, in Germany. It’s not in Norway, but it’s close and has some of the same feelings of being home. It’s a huge honour and finally Norway has a win on the European Tour."
He added: "I saw Kaymer was creeping up from behind and Jorge was hanging on and after missing a bunch of putts, making the birdie on 13 helped a lot and the par save on 14, that was big for momentum.
"After that, I just tried to play solid golf, not make too many mistakes, I had a three putt on 17 but great birdies on 16 and 18 - it was good enough today.
"It's The Open, Olympics, Ryder Cup, there's so much golf to look forward to and I'm just going to have a blast."
Meanwhile, Kaymer’s solid performance moved the four-time Ryder Cup player up 15 places on the European Points List into 21st position with 1,741.87 points.
The recently appointed Vice Captain also jumped 16 places on the World Points List into 21st place with 89.23 points.
Kaymer added: “Of course I would like to participate as a player. It's a huge honour to be a Vice Captain but I'll still give my all until Wentworth when the points race ends.
“If it's enough, I'll take it as a massive bonus - especially the way I've played the last two or three years.
“But if I'm in great form and can put myself in contention a few more times then maybe Pádraig has something to think about.”
As it stands Jon Rahm (8,515.82 points), Fleetwood (4,999.26 points), Tyrrell Hatton (4,860.56 points) and Rory McIlroy (4,417.85 points) fill the automatic places on the European Points List.
Hovland (293.06 points), Paul Casey (270.19 points), Lee Westwood (232.48 points), Matthew Fitzpatrick (213.76 points) and Victor Perez (187.37 points) currently occupy the World Points List spots.
Harrington will choose his three Captain’s Picks after the conclusion of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club during the week of September 13, 2021.