Viktor Hovland claimed his first Rolex Series title after edging Richard Bland in a playoff at the 2022 Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic.
The 24-year-old Norwegian was clearly outside the chasing pack after making bogey on the 15th, but he finished birdie-eagle-birdie to post 66 and set the target at 12 under.
Bland joined Hovland at -12 with a birdie-birdie finish of his own en route to a 68, with two-time champion Rory McIlroy finding water on the last to miss the playoff.
Hovland won with a two-putt birdie on the first trip back up 18, while Bland made par.
“This is pretty wild. I didn’t really think this was possible going in today,” said Hovland, who started the day six shots off the lead. “I knew I had to shoot a really low number but a lot of things had to go my way and I’m thankful that they did.
“I’m pumping right now. It’s a little bit surreal and it’s hard to kind of calm yourself a little bit but you’ve just got to rely on all the shots that you hit and just go back to what you know.
“I was fuming after the three-putt on 15 and thought that was it and I knew I just had to try to finish off well and get a nice position for the week. I rolled a really long one on 16 and then on 17 and, hey, we got a shot.”
McIlroy signed for a 71 to finish one back on 11 under, three shots clear of South African pair Justin Harding (76) and Erik van Rooyen (73) and English duo Tyrrell Hatton (72) and Sam Horsfield (67) and Pole Adrian Meronk (72).
Hovland becomes the first Norwegian to win a Rolex Series event and adds this title to his maiden DP World Tour victory at the 2021 BMW International Open.
It is his third win in five starts after back-to-back victories in November and December at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba and Hero World Challenge, and could move him up to third in the Official World Golf Ranking.
2022 Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Viktor Hovland -12 (-6)
2. Richard Bland -12 (-4)
3. Rory McIlroy -11 (-1)
4. Erik van Rooyen -8 (+1)
4. Justin Harding -8 (+4)
6. Sam Horsfield -8 (-5)
6. Tyrrell Hatton -8 (E)
6. Adrian Meronk -8 (E)
9. Adam Scott -7 (-3)
9. Jordan Smith -7 (-1)
9. Padraig Harrington -7 (E)
Content produced using press release and tournament data from the European Tour Media.