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Hovland leads wind-whipped Hero


MIAMI (AFP) — Defending champion Viktor Hovland fired an eagle and four birdies in a two-under par 70 on Friday to take a one-shot lead in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Norway’s Hovland, trying to join tournament host Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners of the unofficial, 20-player event, highlighted his round with a hole out for eagle at the par-five sixth.

He had shaken off two early bogeys with a birdie at the fifth and added three birdies in a row at the 13th, 14th and 15th to give himself a five-under total of 139 through 36 holes.

He was one stroke clear of an imposing quartet of world No. 2 Scottie Scheffler, Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and US PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Cameron Young.

Hovland said the gusty winds made for an unpredictable day on every part of the Albany course.

“You’re grinding on three-footers,” he said.

“It’s windy and it’s grainy, and the greens are fast so it’s not like you can just ram the putts in, you’ve got to actually kind of die the putts in and that’s when the wind can hit it a little bit harder.”

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