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Hovland wins U.S. Amateur Championship

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(Reuters) – Viktor Hovland of Norway described his week as “flawless” after becoming the first Scandinavian man to win the U.S. Amateur Championship on Sunday.

Hovland never trailed en route to a comprehensive 6&5 win over American Devon Bling in the 36-hole title decider at Pebble Beach adjacent to the California coast.

“You always dream, and I knew that when I’m on my game I can win, but I wasn’t going into the week with a lot of confidence,” Hovland said.

The 20-year-old, who plays at Oklahoma State University, entered the championship ranked the number five amateur in the world.

Hovland trailed for only one hole in his six matches. He tied the record for fewest match play holes by a champion since the current format of five 18-hole rounds and a 36-hole final was adopted in 1979.

Previous winners of the U.S. Amateur include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Bobby Jones.

“Tiger who?” Hovland joked when asked how he felt having his name on the same trophy as Woods.

Among Hovland’s rewards are a trip to next year’s Masters at Augusta National and the U.S. Open, to be held on the same course where he triumphed on Sunday.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Greensboro, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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