Viktor Hovland says he has the “tools” to win his first major title, Corey Conners has confidence from an April triumph, and Scottie Scheffler has already won a major.
That’s why each of the co-leaders after Friday’s second round of the PGA Championship figures he has a good chance to lift a trophy Sunday at Oak Hill.
World number two Scheffler, last year’s Masters champion, and Canada’s Conners fired two-under-par 68s while Norway’s 11th-ranked Hovland closed with a birdie to shoot 67 and match them for the 36-hole lead on five-under 135.
“I find myself comfortable in these situations. These are the positions I want to be in. I want to be near the lead,” Scheffler said.
“I’m excited to be in a good position going into the weekend. With that being said, I’m going to keep my head down and keep doing what I’m doing.”
Conners captured his second PGA Tour title at last month’s Texas Open and contended at the Masters from 2020 to 2022 before settling for top-10 results.
“Just getting experience in the situation is helpful,” Conners said of the trophy fight. “Winning in Texas a little over a month ago, take a lot from that. Lots of confidence in my game. Feel good, and having fun out there.”
Hovland feels he is ready for a major breakthrough after sharing fourth in last year’s British Open and seventh last month at the Masters.
“I believe I have all the tools in the bag. I just have to go out there and execute,” Hovland said.
“The ball-striking is definitely there. Putting, anything can happen and I feel like a lot of the short game work that I’ve been doing the last couple of months are starting to show a little bit.”
Wisdom from experience is also in Hovland’s tool kit.
“I haven’t done great in the majors that I’ve played before. I’ve had some nice top-15 finishes and stuff like that, but I haven’t quite been in contention,” he said.
“I think that has been because I’ve just been a little bit young and stupid, just going after some pins that I’m not supposed to go for even though I’m feeling good about my ball-striking.”
“Then you make bogey or double and you just can’t do that in major championship golf. You just have to wear out center of the green. If that putter gets hot, you can make some birdies.”
Scheffler has much the same idea, be smart and stay close to the top.
“When you can kind of hang around the lead and stay in position and hopefully wait to get hot, it’s a good position to be in,” Scheffler said. “I’m hoping to hit a few more fairways, make it a little easier on myself, but ultimately, 2-under is a good round around this place.”
- ‘One swing away’ -Scheffler said it’s difficult to keep a positive attitude after a poor hole.
“It’s very challenging, but I feel like on a golf course like this, I’m one swing away from getting everything back together,” he said.
“You get rewarded for good shots out here and if you execute, you can birdie pretty much any hole.”
Hovland will try to keep his focus even with a dream goal so near his grasp.
“These tournaments are what you dream about winning and you practice so hard to play in,” he said. “It’s exciting, but you have to focus on every single shot you’re hitting.”
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