Could Norwegian sensation Viktor Hovland steal Rory McIlroy’s thunder at The Open?

Viktor Hovland entered the final round at The Open Championship tied for the lead with Rory McIlroy. Could the young sensation ruin the fairy tale?

Viktor Hovland has been on the golf radar for a few years now, an incredible 24-year-old talent from Oslo, Norway with three PGA Tour wins and a wunderkind golfer who’s soared as high as No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).

Oh, and as an amateur, he was also ranked No. 1.

A golfing prodigy who won the 2018 U.S. Amateur, tied for 32nd at the 2019 Masters and, even more impressive, 12th place at the U.S. Open, both as the low amateur. That same year he received the Ben Hogan Award for best U.S. college player, while at Oklahoma State.

The year after turning pro, he clocked in his first two wins on the PGA Tour, the Puerto Rico Open and the Mayakoba Golf Classic, becoming the first Norwegian player to win on the Tour. He successfully defended his Mayakoba title in 2021. He also fended off Scottie Scheffler — in contention at The Open — at the Hero World Challenge that same year, which helped earn him the nickname the “Resort King” of golf.

Viktor Hovland searching for first major, to ruin Rory McIlroy’s fairy tale at The Open

At only 24 years old, Hovland is looking to fulfill his massive potential and secure his first major win. The smooth confidence and boldness he demonstrated on Moving Day is a strong indicator that it can very much happen. He began three strokes behind the leader on Saturday and watched Rory McIlroy surge ahead of him after being tied up. But his ability to convert birdies in the day’s finale concluded an exciting day of riveting golf between two players vying for history: Hovland’s first major and Rory’s fifth, putting the Irishman equal to the major tally as Phil Mickelson.

“I’m going against one of the best players in the world and I’m certainly not going to hold back, because he’s certainly not,” Hovland said via ESPN.

For McIlroy, a record fifth major will feel even sweeter, coming eight years after the last time he held onto the Claret Jug, in 2014. He was twenty-five then, just one year older than Hovland is now, but had clocked in three other majors by that age. Age 33 now, it seems as if the entire golfing world is rooting for the two-time Open winner. They say three times a charm.

“It’s going to take a lot [of composure to win]. It’s nice that I get to play with Viktor again; we had a good day out there. It’s a comfortable pairing for both of us,” McIlroy said after the round, according to CBS. “So, I’m looking forward to that. I’ve been knocking on the door for a while now, and this is the best chance I’ve had in a long time. I just need to stay in my own little world for one more day, and hopefully I can play the sort of golf that’s good enough to get the job done.”

And good enough to fight off the rising tide of Camerons — Cameron Smith and Cameron Young — who are also nipping at his heels and either could prove the upset of the tournament. Only Sunday will tell whose story will take center stage.

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