Norwegian Viktor Hovland lands historic PGA Tour win in Puerto Rico Open

Viktor Hovland showed why he’s on Padraig Harrington’s Ryder Cup radar by producing a gutsy performance to become the first Norwegian to win on the PGA Tour with victory in the Puerto Rico Open.

Viktor Hovland of Norway poses with the trophy on the 18th green after winning the Puerto Rico Open at Grand Reserve Country Club. Picture Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Viktor Hovland of Norway poses with the trophy on the 18th green after winning the Puerto Rico Open at Grand Reserve Country Club. Picture Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Holding off a chasing pack that included Scot Martin Laird, the 22-year-old overcame losing a three-shot lead with eight holes to play to claim a sensational title triumph in Rio Grande.

Hovland, the leading amateur in both The Masters and US Open last year, found himself in a three-way tie for the lead with American pair Josh Teater and Kyle Stanley after running up a triple-bogey 6 at the 11th.

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But he bounced back with a brilliant chip-in eagle-3 four holes later at Grand Reserve Country Club to get his nose in front again and then birdied the last to win by a shot from Teater after signing off with a 70 for a 20-under-par 268 total.

Scotland's Martin Laird had to settle for a share of sixth spot after a rollercoaster final round. Picture: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Laird, who had started the final round one shot behind leader Hovland, missed out on a fourth PGA Tour triumph after a rolldercoaster last day. The 37-year-old had to settle for a share of sixth spot after closing with a 75 to finish six behind Hovland on 14-under.

It was Laird’s 40th top-10 finish on the US circuit, though, after storming into contention on the back of 63 on Saturday, it wasn’t the closing 18 holes he had been looking for.

Bidding for his first success since landing the Texas Open in 2013, the Arizona-based Glaswegian got off to the worst possible start with a double-bogey 6 at the first.

He wasted no time in repairing that damage by making a brilliant eagle-3 at the second to stay a shot behind overnight leader Hovland after the youngster started in more straightforward fashion with two pars.

However, three bogeys in five holes from the fifth left Laird struggling to stay in the mix and, though raising his hopes briefly again with a birdie-2 to Hovland’s 6 at the 11th, a bogey three holes later took the wind out his sails again. He was back into a tie for third after a birdie at the 17th before finishing with a bogey-6.

Meanwhile, Gemma Dryburgh opened the new Ladies European Tour season with a confidence-boosting top-five finish in the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic.

The Beaconsfield-based Aberdonian signed off with a level-par 72 at Bonville Golf Resort in Coffs Harbour to claim fourth spot behind Australian amaeteur Stephanie Kyriacou.

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“I’m very happy with that,” said Dryburgh, pictured, who finished with an 11-under-par 277 total. “I couldn’t have asked for much more, except for maybe winning. It’s a good start to the season, so I’ll see where it takes me.”

Kyriacou, a 19-year-old from Sydney, marked herself out as a new star of women’s golf by storming to an emphatic eight-shot victory following rounds of 69-63-69-65.

Kylie Henry joined Dryburgh in making a promising start to the new campaign as she finished in a tie for 11th.

l Ross Cameron produced a strong start in the second event of the new Alps Tour season as he carded a bogey-free five-under-par 67 in the Red Sea Little Venice Open in Egypt. In just his second event as a professional Ali Thurlow, the other Scot in the field, opened with a 69 to lie just outside the top 30 as Italian Giulio Castagnara set the pace at Sokhna Golf Club with a 64.

l Jane Turner followed up her win on Friday in the South African Women’s Masters by finishing joint-fourth in the Canon Serengeti Par 3 Challenge on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

The Lothians player carded scores of 58-56 for a six-over total, finishing seven shots behind the winner, South African Nicole Garcia (54-53), at the Whistling Thorn Course at Kempton Park.