Viktor Hovland’s quest for summit has a sub-plot

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Viktor Hovland seeks to become the first player to successfully defend his World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Photo: tennisworldusa.com
Viktor Hovland seeks to become the first player to successfully defend his World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Photo: tennisworldusa.com

In bid to become the first player to successfully defend a World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba title (2007), Viktor Hovland posted a career-low and bogey-free 9-under 62.

Seeking a third top-5 finish in his fourth start of the season, Talor Gooch’s bogey-free 8-under 63 was one shy of his career-low score.

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In search of a 15th career PGA Tour title and second of the 2021 calendar year, Justin Thomas recorded a bogey-free 7-under 64.

Guadalajara native Carlos Ortiz put himself in position for a third consecutive top-10 finish in the event.

Anirban Lahiri carded a 70 to slip to T17. After making a bogey and double bogey on Hole Nos. 2 and 3, he made five birdies and one more bogey. He is searching for his first top-10 of the season after missing two cuts in three starts.

With birdies on his last two holes, and nine in all, Hovland (1st/-19) posted a career-low 9-under 62 (previously 63/two occasions).

 

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En route to his win at Mayakoba last year, tied his then-career-low score in Round 3 with an 8-under 63.

In round three this week, hit 12-of-14 fairways and 13-of-18 greens in regulation; required 24 putts.

Seeks to become the first player to successfully defend his World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.

With a win, would become the first player on the PGA Tour to successfully defend his title since Brooks Koepka at the 2019 PGA Championship.

Only other occasion of holding at least a share of a 54-hole lead on Tour was the 2020 Puerto Rico Open (won).

Prior to last year’s victory, missed the cut in two previous starts in the event in 2018 and 2019.

Including his win in Mexico, collected seven top-10 finishes last season before finishing fifth in the FedExCup.

In two starts this season before this week, finished T44/Shriners Children’s Open and T18/THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT

Gooch (2nd/-17) made six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 13th to post a bogey-free 8-under 63, one stroke shy of his career-low score.

 

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In three starts this season, has finished inside the top five on two occasions (T4/Fortinet Championship, T5/THE CJ CUP); finished just outside the top-10 at the Shriners Children’s Open (T11).

In two previous starts at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, finished T41 in 2017 and T55 in 2019.

A win this week would mark his first on Tour and come in his 102nd start; career-best finish is T3/2019 Farmers Insurance Open.

Thomas (3rd/-16), the 2017 FedExCup champion, bettered a 6-under 65 in round two with a bogey-free 7-under 64 in Saturday’s third round.

Through 54 holes, ranks T66 in fairways hit; 5-of-14/R1, 6-of-14/R2, 8-of-14/R3 (19-of-42).

 

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In two previous starts at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, finished T23 in 2014 and T12 last season.

In only previous start this season on Tour, finished T18 at the CJ CUP on the strength of a final-round 8-under 64.

Seeks a 15th career Tour title in his 180th start this week; most recent victory came at THE PLAYERS Championship earlier in the calendar year (2020-21 season).

Looks to extend his streak of claiming at least one Tour title a season to seven.