10 Notes to Know: December 7, 2020

December 7, 2020
Justin Ray
  1. Viktor Hovland birdied the 72nd hole of the Mayakoba Classic to earn his second career PGA Tour win. In his win at the Puerto Rico Open in February, Hovland birdied the final hole to move to 20-under and win by one stroke. Sunday, he birdied the final hole to move to 20-under – and again won by one stroke. In both victories, he played the last six holes of the tournament in 3-under-par.
  1. Hovland led the field in Mexico in greens in regulation, hitting nearly 85 percent for the tournament. Over his last 35 holes, Hovland made 16 birdies and just one bogey. Only six players since 2000 have picked up a second PGA Tour win younger than Hovland did (23 years, 2 months, 18 days) – Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Si Woo Kim and Anthony Kim.
  1. Aaron Wise shot a bogey-free 63 on Sunday to get to 19-under-par, but would finish one stroke behind Hovland. The 63 by Wise was the lowest final round score of his PGA Tour career and tied his career-best score in any round. Wise dominated the par 5s all week, playing them in 11-under-par, best of any player in the field.
  1. Though he faded on the weekend, 18-year-old Akshay Bhatia opened at Mayakoba with a pair of rounds in the 60s, giving him eight in his young career. Since 2000, the player with the most PGA Tour rounds in the 60s before age 19 is Danny Lee, with 15. Spieth, Jason Day and Ty Tryon each also had nine such rounds. Bhatia does not turn 19 years old until January 31.
  1. Eight days after her 43rd birthday, Angela Stanford won the Volunteers of America Classic, her seventh career LPGA victory. There have been 290 LPGA tournament wins over the last ten seasons, altogether. Stanford’s win was just the third in that span by a player age 40 or older. For comparison, there have been 29 wins by teenagers during that same stretch. Yealmi Noh was among the players to finish tied for second place, two strokes behind Stanford. Noh was born in 2001, the year after Stanford turned professional.
  1. Two U.S. Women’s Open stalwarts finished tied for second, two strokes behind Stanford: Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu. Park, a two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion, has the second-best scoring average in the championship since 2010 among players with 16 or more rounds (71.68). The only player better than Inbee? Ryu (71.35).
  1. How difficult is it to win the U.S. Women’s Open in back-to-back years? Not only has it not been done since Karrie Webb in 2000 and 2001, no defending champion has finished in the top-ten at the U.S. Women’s Open since Juli Inkster finished in eighth place in 2003. Jeongeun Lee6, who finished tied for 16th in Dallas, is the defending champion this week in Houston.
  1. Christiaan Bezuidenhout won the South African Open by five strokes, his second win in as many weeks on the European Tour. Last week, he won the Alfred Dunhill Championship by four strokes. Bezuidenhout is the first player to win in back-to-back weeks by four or more strokes on the European Tour since Ian Woosnam in 1990 (Monte Carlo, Scottish Open).
  1. Saturday, Antoine Rozner of France picked up his first win on the European Tour, firing a closing 64 to win the Golf in Dubai Championship. Rozner has now shot under par in 14 consecutive European Tour rounds, a streak that dates back to the second round of October’s Cyprus Open. Rozner gained 6.3 strokes tee-to-green in the final round, best of any player.
  1. The European Tour remains in Dubai for another week, as the DP World Tour Championship wraps up the 2020 Race to Dubai. Patrick Reed leads the standings, and will try to become the first American ever to win the European Tour’s season-long race (either the old Order of Merit, or the Race to Dubai, which replaced it in 2009). The last player from outside of Europe to take the title was South Africa’s Ernie Els in 2004.