Observe makes excellent, however typically observe would not go completely, and Mayakoba’s defending champion, Viktor Hovland, had fairly the tools scare earlier than his spherical, but nonetheless fired a first-round 4-under 67 in Mexico.
New Zealand’s Danny Lee was doing a speed-training session on Mayakoba’s vary earlier than his spherical, which caught Hovland’s eye. Hovland requested Lee if he wished to strive his driver that is an inch longer to see if he may get his ball velocity up and the experiment did not finish so properly as Lee swung for the moon.
“Yeah, I do not know the place it snapped or how he snapped it,” Hovland stated, “however I simply lookup after he hit the shot and it was in items.”
Despite the fact that Hovland solely had a backup head and never an emergency shaft for his Ping G425, he saved his cool and acquired by with slightly assist from a competitor, which could have higher suited Mayakoba’s 7,017-yard structure anyway.
“James Hahn was in entrance and he was good sufficient to lend me certainly one of his backups,” Hovland stated. “It is slightly bit shorter, it is a completely different shaft, however actually, nearly helped me this week as a result of it is slightly shorter. It most likely goes 10 yards shorter, however I simply felt like I may actually hit it slightly decrease and slightly straighter. So I am hitting that factor very well.”
The 24-year-old Norwegian who’s T-20, six photographs behind former faculty teammate Matthew Wolff for the 18-hole lead, was not phased by his pre-round bruhaha. He ranked T-3 in driving accuracy and solely missed the golf green on two holes (Nos. 11 and 16) the place he did not use a driver off the tee. That could be as a result of Hahn’s driver is not a lot completely different from Hovland’s.
“I believe it is half an inch shorter and a unique shaft,” Hovland stated, “however as quickly as I like hit a pair with it, I used to be like, this feels fairly good, I believe I can work with this.”
Hovland, who’s attempting to grow to be the primary participant on Tour to efficiently defend a title since Brooks Koepka on the 2019 PGA Championship, was happy along with his total spherical however cited points along with his flatstick on why he wasn’t larger on the World Large Expertise Championship’s leaderboard after Day 1.
“Hit lots of greens and gave myself some appears,” he stated. “The one factor I might have appreciated, to have gotten my distance management slightly bit higher as a result of I hit lots of good photographs that have been 20, 25 toes away previous or quick. Simply did not make very many putts.”