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Hovland nets Dubai Desert Classic after final round fireworks

Viktor Hovland made a remarkable final round charge to defeat Richard Bland in the first play-off hole and win the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.

Viktor Hovland of Norway is pictured on the last day of the Dubai Desert Classic 2022 Golf Championship at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, on January 30, 2022. (Photo by Karim SAHIB / AFP)

Viktor Hovland made a remarkable final round charge to defeat Richard Bland in the first play-off hole and win the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Norwegian, six shots off overnight leader Justin Harding, produced a storming finish, sandwiching a terrific eagle two on the par-4 17th hole with birdies on the 16th and 18th to close with a sensational six-under par 66.

That took him to 12-under par and set the clubhouse mark, which was later matched by England’s Bland, double the age of Hovland, after a stunning 22-feet birdie on the 18th hole.

Bland, who turns 49 in three days, chipped in for a birdie on the difficult ninth hole, and then holed his tough bunker shot on the par-3 11th.

However, the most crucial shot was the 22-feet birdie putt on the 18th, as he closed with a 68.

Rory McIlroy reached the 17th tee at 12-under par, but slightly blocked his tee shot into the right bushes on the reachable par-4.

He proceeded to make a remarkable par, but sliced his 3-wood second shot on the par-5 18th into the water.

He finished with a bogey and was third at 11-under par.

Hovland never looked in contention after making a three-putt bogey from 33 feet on the 15th hole.

But he then drained a 35-footer for birdie on the 16th, a 33-footer for eagle on the 17th and missed a 40-footer for eagle on the 18th.

He is expected to rise two places to number 3 in the world rankings next week.