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Hovland wins Abu Dhabi Hero Challenge on debut
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Hovland wins Abu Dhabi Hero Challenge on debut

Rising star Viktor Hovland defeated Major Champion Louis Oosthuizen to win the first Hero Challenge of 2020 in Abu Dhabi.

Hovland

With his final shot of the night worth double, Hovland delivered a ‘bullseye’ 50, to add 100 points to his final total of 190 points, easily surpassing Oosthuizen’s total of 55.

It was the Norwegian’s debut in the European Tour’s innovative shootout which was played under lights in the iconic Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, where some of the world’s best players are gathered for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship hosted by EGA.

“I can’t complain, that was a pretty good start to the week” said the 22-year-old. “It’s an insane venue, I have never been to a place like this, so what a place to get my first “professional victory!”

“I hit some pretty nice wedge shots tonight so hopefully that carries through to the tournament this week. To win the Hero Challenge is pretty cool and I’m looking forward to playing in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in a couple of days.”

The pair were joined by Major Champions Brooks Koepka and Danny Willett, plus European Tour stars Matthew Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger for the innovative shootout at Yas Marina.

Former Masters Champion Willett and fellow Englishman Fitzpatrick, a previous winner of the Hero Challenge in Scotland last year, both bowed out in the first round.

Hovland then defeated World Number One Koepka in the first semi-final, before Oosthuizen held off two-time Rolex Series winner Wiesberger to progress to the final, where Hovland got the better of the South African to mark the eleventh edition of the popular Hero Challenge.

Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, recently extended the Hero Challenge on the European Tour until 2022, with the number of annual events increasing from three to a series of five.

Following Abu Dhabi, the event moves to Europe for three more exciting editions, including the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik and Annika in Stockholm, the Porsche European Open in Hamburg, and the Betfred British Masters, to be hosted by Lee Westwood at Close House. The series finale will take place ahead of the European Tour’s season-ending event in Dubai and will feature the winners of all four Hero Challenges from 2020 campaign.

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA once again takes its place as part of the Rolex Series – the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, each with a minimum prize fund of US$7 million.