How Good Was Viktor Hovland’s Course-Record 61?

I have been closely watching and documenting PGA Tour performance for 30 years and cannot recall such a dramatic final round of such consequence as the one put together by Viktor Hovland this past weekend at the BMW Championship.

I will get to the incredible performance stats, but the stage and timing are almost more important. He was in the final round of the BMW Championship, the penultimate FedEx Cup Playoff event and he was chasing the No. 1 player in the world, Scottie Scheffler. The winner would receive $3.6 million as well as a significant advantage at the Tour Championship at East Lake.

Hovland finished the front nine only 2-under par for the day — not good enough to close the gap — so he had to bear down on the back nine with seven birdies to take the lead by one, including birdie 3s on the very difficult 17th and 18th holes.

Let’s compare Viktor’s final-round performance with that of the field. (Note: this field is not a typical PGA Tour event field. This no-cut event consists of the Top 50 players in FedEx Cup points for the 2022-23 season. In other words, not far from the top 50 best players in golf.)

Driving Accuracy – Strokes Gained on the Field: +0.47
Fairways hit: The field averaged 8.1 of 14 fairways (58%). Viktor hit 12 of 14 (86%)
Errors: The field averaged 0.82 errors/round or just under 3.3 in four rounds. Victor had zero.

Approach Accuracy – Strokes Gained on the Field: +1.03
Victor was successful with 13 of his 15 (87%) approach shots and to an average of 16.7 feet from the flag. The field hit 76% of their targets to an average of 21.3 ft.

Short Game – Strokes Gained on the Field: +0.06
Victor had just four Chip/Pitch shots, and saved 3 of 4 (75%) with zero missed greens. The field averaged 4.5 Chip/Pitch and 0.33 Sand shots. They saved 66% and 56%, respectively, with 7% and 5% missed greens.

Putting – Strokes Gained on the Field: +1.0
Victor had 18 first putt opportunities and made 11 (61%) vs. the field average of 38%. The average distance of Victor’s 10 birdie putts in this round was 8.5 feet. Eight feet is the 50% make distance on the PGA Tour.