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Viktor Hovland returns to defend his title at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, but in order to do it he’ll have to top a field that boasts some of the most notable names in the game – including past PGA TOUR Players of the Year Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka.
FIELD NOTES: Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka – both former No.1-ranked golfers in the world – are returning to action on the PGA TOUR for the first time since THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT… Viktor Hovland defends his second TOUR title. His win at Mayakoba last year made him just the fifth European since 1945 to win multiple times on the PGA TOUR before turning 24. Seve Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm also achieved the feat… Plenty of Hovland’s European Ryder Cup teammates will join Hovland in the field. On the American side, Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler join Thomas and Koepka in the field. In all, there will be 11 Ryder Cup players and four assistant captains teeing it up… Twelve major champions are teeing it up, as well… Abraham Ancer leads the Mexican contingent at El Camaleón, looking for a win in his home country (but now with a TOUR title under his belt, having won the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in August)… Taylor Pendrith – who led in Bermuda after 36 holes – is set to tee it up in Mexico, which would mark the second week of his “honeymoon,” having brought new bride Megan with him to Bermuda, too… Thomas Detry, Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra (a star at Oklahoma State), Guido Migliozzi, and Willie Mack III are among the sponsor exemptions… Mack shot a final-round 64 to win the Advocates Professional Golf Association Tour Championship in August. He also made the cut in two PGA TOUR starts this summer, finishing T71 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and T64 at the John Deere Classic… Lopez-Chacarra is fifth in the PGA TOUR University ranking. The top five at the end of the collegiate season will earn Korn Ferry Tour status for the summer. He recently finished T45 in the Sanderson Farms Championship.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.
COURSE: El Camaleón Golf Course, par 71, 7,017 yards (yardage subject to change). Golfers will need to navigate three separate Mayan Rivera landscapes on this Greg Norman design – tropical jungle, oceanfront stretches, and mangroves. Scoring is a premium on the paspalum grass, as the average winning score from the past five seasons has been just a touch over 20-under 264.
STORYLINES: With just two events left on the PGA TOUR schedule for 2021, it’s an important time to secure valuable FedExCup points. Cameron Tringale, Maverick McNealy, Matthew Wolff, and Brendan Steele are all currently inside the top 10 of the Comcast Business Rewards TOUR TOP 10. and looking to build up their point totals heading into the holiday break… With Carlos Ortiz and Ancer both winners on the PGA TOUR, could this be the year when a Mexican golfer breaks the drought and wins on home soil? Ortiz finished T8 while Ancer finished T12 in 2020… This event always produces Sunday drama, as just once in tournament history has the winner topped the filed by more than two shots. The last four winners have won by just one stroke… Justin Thomas is the top-ranked golfer in the world teeing it up in Mexico (7th) and shot a tournament-low 62 in 2020 en route to finishing T12.
72-HOLE RECORD: 262, Matt Kuchar (2018)
18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Roland Thatcher (3rd round, 2008).
LAST TIME: Viktor Hovland navigated a crowded leaderboard on a low-scoring day and ended up winning for the second time on the PGA TOUR. Hovland shot all four rounds in the 60s at El Camaleón and held off a hard-charging Aaron Wise, who finished with a 63. Hovland ended up winning by one shot over Wise after notching a birdie on the 72nd hole. The third time was the charm for Hovland, as he made his TOUR debut in Mexico in 2018 and missed the cut. He missed the cut in 2019, too. But Sunday in 2020 he was, well, the victor. Adam Long and Tom Hoge finished at 17 under and were tied for third, three shots back of Hovland. Harris English, Billy Horschel, and Lucas Glover rounded out the top five.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m.-5 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. ET. Saturday-Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).
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