2023 Tour Championship Final Round Picks: Viktor Hovland in Prime Position to Win

2023 Tour Championship Final Round Picks: Viktor Hovland in Prime Position to Win article feature image

Pictured: Viktor Hovland. (Photo by Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

ATLANTA — Just in time for football season, Viktor Hovland leads by a touchdown — albeit with a missed extra point — in search of his first FedEx Cup title.

There’s one day remaining in the PGA Tour season, but if you’re looking to make some money, you’ll either be chasing Hovland at an extremely short number, or hoping someone chase him down.

After starting at 8-under with the Tour Championship's staggered scoring, the Norwegian has produced scores of 68-64-66 to claim a six-stroke lead entering the final round. As a result, he's a (gulp) -750 favorite.

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“I can't remember [if] I've led by that many shots,” said Hovland, who won last week’s BMW Championship on the strength of a final-round 61. “So, I guess it's a little unfamiliar.”

It hasn’t happened on the PGA Tour, but he has converted 2-of-3 previous 54-hole leads.

With all of that in mind, this isn’t yet a done deal. Making up this differential is improbable, though not impossible.

Just last year, Scottie Scheffler took a similar six-shot advantage into the final day, only to shoot a 73 and lose to Rory McIlroy by a stroke.

If there’s a glimmer of hope for other contenders — Xander Schauffele (six back of the lead and +1100), Collin Morikawa (five back and +2500) and Keegan Bradley (five back and +4500) — it’s that East Lake Golf Club is a venue that can produce some volatility.

In fact, in Saturday’s third round, scores in the 30-man field ranged from 5-under 65 to 4-over 74. Over the past three days, scores have ranged from 61 to 75.

Even so, it would take a massive reversal of fortune for Hovland to blow this.

“I don't think I've ever played this well before, with this stretch, just putting all the short game and stuff together,” he explained. “I've certainly hit the ball this good before. I feel like I've hit the ball better than I have this week and even last week.

“It’s just about putting it all together and it seemed like the good weeks I've had before, I've always managed to short-side myself or chip a couple times and end up out of contention. … I feel like I've just become a little bit more complete, and I don't have to hit it my best to be in contention. I don't have to hit every shot pure. I can miss it slightly and get up-and-down and move on.”

If Schauffele, Morikawa, Bradley or someone else is going to overtake Hovland, it’ll take both a special round on their part and some struggles from Hovland.

But as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, that’s not an outcome we should be confident in betting.

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