Norway’s Viktor Hovland makes history with BMW International Open win

Viktor Hovland held off a final-day charge from Martin Kaymer to become the first Norwegian winner on the European Tour in the BMW International Open.

Hovland carded a closing 70 at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried to finish 19 under par and two shots ahead of two-time major winner Kaymer, who surged through the field with a superb 64.

The victory cements Hovland’s place on the European Ryder Cup team for September’s contest at Whistling Straits, where Kaymer is set to be a vice-captain after being appointed by Padraig Harrington earlier this week.

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Kaymer began the day eight shots off the lead but recovered from a bogey on the first with nine birdies in the next 15 holes to join Hovland at the head of affairs.

The former world number one responded to a bogey on the difficult 17th with his 10th birdie of the day on the last to set the clubhouse target, only for Hovland to birdie the 13th and 16th to move two ahead.

The 17th also cost Hovland a shot but the 23-year-old held his nerve, finding the 18th fairway off the tee and then hitting a superb approach from 268 yards into the heart of the green.

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A two-putt birdie sealed the win and a relieved Hovland said: “I’m kind of glad it’s over. It was a long day, it was very stressful, but it feels great and it will be nice to relax for a couple of weeks now.

“Sleeping on the lead you start thinking about winning, but there’s a lot of things that can happen and I didn’t really play very good today, but with a nice last six or seven holes there it was good enough and I’m happy to be sitting here with the trophy.

“I grew up mostly watching the European Tour and there’s a lot of guys that played this week that I grew up watching.

“It’s cool to be a champion on this tour and in a place that’s not in Norway but it’s close and has some of the same feels of being home. It’s a huge honour and finally Norway’s got a win on the European Tour.

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“I saw he (Kaymer) was climbing the leaderboard pretty quickly and was at 16 under for a while. I was 17 under, but I knew he had 18 left and was probably going to make a birdie, so it wasn’t like I could just make pars in. I still had to get after it and make a couple of birdies.”

Kaymer remains without a win since claiming the second of his two major titles in the 2014 US Open, but has not given up hope of qualifying for a fifth Ryder Cup appearance or persuading captain Padraig Harrington to hand him a wild card.

“Of course I would like to participate as a player,” said the 36-year-old, who secured the point which meant Europe would retain the Ryder Cup thanks to the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012.

Martin Kaymer
Martin Kaymer is hoping to qualify for a fifth Ryder Cup appearance (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“I would like to give everything I have until Wentworth (the final qualifying event), until it’s over.

“If it’s enough, I take it as a massive, massive bonus, especially the way I played the last two or three years, but if I’m in great form and maybe if I can put myself in contention a few more times, then maybe Padraig has something to think about.”

Spain’s Jorge Campillo finished two shots behind Kaymer in third, with former Ryder Cup player Victor Dubuisson another stroke back.