ATLANTA — It’s Viktor Hovland’s world right now; we’re just living in it.
The 25-year-old Norwegian shot a 4-under 66 at East Lake Golf in Atlanta to improve to 20-under par and open a six-stroke lead at the Tour Championship, the third and final leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Hovland carded back-to-back birdies at Nos. 6 and 7, the latter a 12-foot putt. He held a four-stroke advantage at 18 under when play was suspended due to lightning in the area.
“We thought last Sunday was good,” CBS’s Frank Nobilo said. “This is every bit as good.”
Viktor Hovland strokes gained around the green ranks on PGA Tour
Last season: 191st
This season entering PGA: 170th
Since PGA Championship began: 20th
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) August 26, 2023
Hovland came back out when play resumed and made back-to-back birdies at Nos. 12 and 13. He made a bogey at 14, but drilled a 6-iron to 15 feet at the water-guarded 212-yard par-3 15th.
“The pin was on the right which made the green feel a little bigger for me,” he said. “It was a perfect 6-iron.”
While a touchdown seems like it should be an insurmountable edge — it is the largest 54-hole lead lost in Tour history — Scottie Scheffler blew a lead of the same amount last year in trying to win the $18 million winner’s prize. That’s over 192 million Krone for Hovland.
“That’s a lot of cash,” he said. “But we’re here to win tournaments. There’s a lot of hungry players behind me who can shoot 61 tomorrow. I’ve got to be ready.”
If it’s late August at East Lake, Xander Schauffele must be making birdies at the Tour Championship.
Schauffele is an ATM at the playoff finale, qualifying for his seventh consecutive year and has never finished worse that T-7. He has the most top-5 finishes without winning the FedEx Cup title, though he did win the Tour Championship in 2017 before Starting Strokes was implemented.
Schauffele started the week T-11 and has steadily climbed the leaderboard, earning a spot in the final group alongside Hovland. After rounds of 67-64, Schauffele made three birdies in his first seven holes, but made three bogeys that canceled out two more birdies on the way to the clubhouse and a round of 2-under 68.
“I know what I need to do,” Schauffele said. “I…