Reigning champion Viktor Hovland carded a round-of-the-day eight-under-par 64 to pull three shots clear at the Hero World Challenge on Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas on Saturday.

The Norwegian, who was the joint leader after day one and outright leader by one shot at halfway, shot 10 birdies in his stunning third round to open up a three-shot gap on Scottie Scheffler.

Hovland could have been further ahead if not for a bogey on the par-four 18th hole, having managed six birdies in the previous seven holes to card 31 on his back nine. He also bogeyed on the sixth hole.

The reigning champion, who managed eagles in both of his first two days, fired in a dart over the water off the tee on the par-three 17th hole to set up a routine birdie putt.

Hovland leads from world number two Scheffler, who hit 66 on day three, to move up to 10-under overall.

Scheffler buried an eagle putt on the par-five 15th hole to move into solo second, having five birdies for his round, along with a bogey.

Justin Thomas is a further two shots behind Scheffler at eight-under overall, alongside Cameron Young who had been in the four-player pack one stroke behind Hovland at halfway.

Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele are tied at seven under, rounding out those in contention with a big gap to the next best, Jon Rahm who is four-under overall.

Kevin Kisner landed a hole-in-one on the par-three 12th hole to produce the first ace on that hole since the event moved to Albany in 2015.

Viktor Hovland is alone atop the Hero World Challenge leaderboard after Friday's second round, following his opening 69 with a two-under 70 to enter the weekend at five under.

Hovland, who was the joint-leader entering the day, is the reigning champion at the event after edging Scottie Scheffler by one stroke at Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas last year.

In an action-packed second round, the Norwegian posted an eagle with four birdies and four bogeys, with his slam-dunk shot of the day on the par-five sixth hole making it back-to-back rounds with an eagle.

He is one stroke clear of a four-man group consisting of Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa, with playing partners Scheffler and Schauffele posting four-under 68s to tie for the round of the day.

South Korean 20-year-old Tom Kim is the only player in sixth at three under, Justin Thomas is alone at two-under, and Billy Horschel is tied with Tiger Woods' late replacement Sepp Straka for eighth at one under.

It leaves 11 of the 20-player field at least five strokes off Hovland's lead, with Matt Fitzpatrick, Tony Finau and Jon Rahm at even par.

It was a day to forget for Tommy Fleetwood, Corey Conners, Max Homa and Shane Lowry, with all four shooting their way out of contention with rounds of four over or worse.

Viktor Hovland is looking to win back-to-back Hero World Challenge titles and started his week on the right track, finishing Thursday's opening round in a four-way tie for the lead at three under.

The small field boasts 20 of the PGA Tour's top talents, with Tiger Woods hosting the event at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.

Winner of the 2021 edition, Hovland posted an impressive eagle on the par-four 14th hole to go with his two birdies and one bogey to share the lead through 18 holes.

Norway's top golfer is joined by 20-year-old South Korean phenom Tom Kim, America's Collin Morikawa, and Austria's Sepp Straka, with the latter coming in as the late replacement for Woods following his withdrawal due to plantar fasciitis.

Kim, who already has two PGA Tour wins under his belt, was the only of the foursome to not make a single bogey.

They are one stroke clear of Sam Burns alone in fifth at two under, with Cameron Young, Max Homa and Tommy Fleetwood tied for sixth at one under.

World number two Scottie Scheffler is joined by two-time major champion Justin Thomas as part of the group at even par, while Jon Rahm is at one over, and Matt Fitzpatrick is at two over.

Corey Conners is alone in 19th at three over, and Jordan Spieth is dead last and the only player at four over.

Rory McIlroy declared he is "as complete a golfer as I've ever been" after finishing top of the season-ending DP World Tour rankings for the fourth time.

Jon Rahm secured his third DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, but a fourth-placed finish for McIlory gave the 33-year-old reason to celebrate at Dubai's Jumeirah Golf Estates.

McIlroy added the Harry Vardon Trophy, awarded to the DP World Tour's number one, to his FedExCup victory in 2022.

The Northern Irishman has enjoyed an impressive season, recording top-10 finishes at all four majors, while he did not drop below 12th place at any of his 10 DP World Tour events this term.

That consistency led McIlroy to suggest his golf is in the best place it has been in recent memory.

"I think one of the things I'm really proud of over the last few years is I don't feel I have to rely on one aspect of my game," McIlroy, a four-time major winner, told Sky Sports. "I think if my driving isn't there, then my putter bails me out.

"If my putter isn't there, my iron play bails me out. I feel like when you get to this level it's like, okay, how can you make those incremental improvements to get better?

"I think my goal has been to just become a more complete golfer and I feel like I'm on the journey to doing that.

"I'm as complete a golfer as I feel like I've ever been, and hopefully I can continue on that path."

Meanwhile, McIlroy's Ryder Cup team-mate Rahm reflected on a positive year of his own after collecting his third triumph of the season after winning at the Open de Espana and the Mexico Open.

"Hopefully people can stop telling me that it was a bad year," Rahm said.

"Three wins worldwide and three wins in three different continents. Yes, it wasn't a major championship but it's still a really, really good season."

An excellent final round of 67 saw Jon Rahm seal the third DP World Tour Championship of his career on Sunday.

The Spaniard finished on 20 under par, winning by two shots ahead of Tyrell Hatton and Alex Noren in Dubai and four ahead of Rory McIlroy, who had something to celebrate of his own with his fourth-place finish.

As a result, McIlroy ends the year as DP World Tour number one for a fourth time, winning the Harry Vardon Trophy.

Rahm looked to be in the mood to secure victory after recording birdies on each of the first three holes, only to bogey the fourth, leaving Noren breathing down his neck as the Swede also started brightly to go within one of the lead.

Things turned on the seventh hole though as Noren dropped a shot, before Rahm gained one to extend his advantage to three.

Hatton went on to set the clubhouse lead at 18 under, but Rahm did not drop another shot as he tidied up his round with further birdies at the 13th and 15th before confirming his win with a simple par on the 18th.

After his victory, Rahm said it was a "very" special one, adding: "Because of coronavirus I never got the chance to defend my 2019 title, even though I decided not to come last year I came in with the mentality [this year] that nobody beat me in the last two years, so they're gonna have to beat me again.

"I like this course and this course likes me, so I hope this is the third of many more."

McIlroy was equally pleased with his own award, with the world number one becoming just the second player in history to win the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup and the DP World Tour order of merit in the same season.

After his final round of 68, McIlroy said: "It means a lot, it's been seven years since I've last done it [finished top of European Tour rankings] and obviously this is my fourth one.

"I was a model of consistency through the year, a lot of top finishes, I think my worst finish was 12th in Abu Dhabi, so just a really consistent season, kept putting in good performances; it would have been nice to get one win in there at the end of the year here but Jon played an incredible tournament and fully deserved it."

Elsewhere, English pair Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick finished joint-fifth on 13 under, while Dane Rasmus Hoejgaard shot 67 to move up to joint-seventh with Pole Adrian Meronk on 11 under.

Jon Rahm described Rory McIlroy taking a stand against the LIV Golf Invitational Series while still performing at the highest level as "remarkable" and discussed how joining the breakaway circuit may impact Sergio Garcia's legacy.

McIlroy claimed his third FedEx Cup in August and is hoping to cap a fine year by winning the DP World Tour Championship this week, but his off-course actions have been equally noteworthy.

The world number one has been a vocal critic of the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed LIV circuit, and called for the series' divisive chief executive Greg Norman to resign this week.

Speaking ahead of the tournament in Dubai, world number five Rahm hailed McIlroy's efforts to defend the PGA Tour this year. 

"It's great to see somebody with his platform take a stand as he did, whether you agree with it or not, he's taken a stand on what he believes in and that's it - I think it's great," Rahm said.

"He's had a lot of input. He's been on the board of the PGA Tour and tried to make a change.

"To be honest, with how long those meetings are and how much as players we talk to each other, to play as good as he has is pretty remarkable.

"In this profession, we are all basically CEOs of our own little golf company, and now he has invested in so much more. Again, the role he's had in both [on and off the course] is quite incredible."

Rahm's compatriot Garcia became one of the most high-profile players to resign his PGA Tour membership while switching to LIV Golf this year.

The 2021 U.S. Open champion hopes the legacy of his fellow Spaniard is not tarnished by that decision.

"I hope not, it's very unprecedented, what we've been dealing with in the game of golf and it hasn't even been that long," Rahm added.

"It could have somewhat of an impact. I have a hard time believing a lot of those [LIV] players are going to have a positive impact on their legacy right now.

"We don't know what's going to happen, but if it does [have an impact on Garcia's legacy], I hope it's not a big one, let's say it that way.

"He's done a lot for the game of golf, so it would be sad to see that change.

"There's certainly going to be a before and after at some point, and there's definitely some division going on.

"It still shouldn't change what he's done in the game; what he's done in the Ryder Cup, European Tour, PGA Tour, shouldn't be affected by where he decides to play golf, at least in my mind."

Meanwhile, LIV Golf has continued to push for the ability to award world rankings points, and while Rahm is not against that idea, he says the tour must meet the stated requirements.

"We need to stop giving LIV the publicity. They are not asking for it. That's the first thing I'm going to say," Rahm said.

"A lot of people are against them having World Ranking points. I'm not necessarily against it, but there should be adjustments. 

"If your requirement to have World Ranking points is 72 holes and a cut, maybe you don't award them 100 per cent of the points, since they are not fulfilling all the requirements. 

"I also believe it's probably a couple-year process, so they need to respect that as every other tour has. 

"They do have some incredible players. To say that Dustin [Johnson] wasn't one of the best players this year would be a mistake. So, I think they could be awarded. I don't know if they necessarily deserve 100 per cent."

Rory McIlroy reclaimed the world number one ranking after his first win of the new season and the 23rd of his PGA Tour career, securing the CJ Cup with a score of 17 under par.

McIlroy took the outright lead on the 14th hole with his fifth birdie of the day and built a tournament-winning lead with two more birdies on the next two holes on his way to a Sunday 67. 

Those extra insurance birdies ended up coming in handy after the Northern Irishman bogeyed the final two holes, but Kurt Kitayama could not birdie the last to force a playoff.

He entered the final round leading by one stroke, and by finishing the same way, he leapfrogged Scottie Scheffler to the top of the world rankings as the American finished tied for 45th at one under.

Speaking to NBC after stepping off the final green, McIlroy spoke about his love for the game and his journey back to the top.

"It feels great," he said. "It feels great to go out there with the lead, shoot a great score, play really well and get the win. 

"It's an awesome way to start the season, I guess, and a continuation of how I feel I've been playing the past few months.

"[Becoming world number one] means a lot. I've worked so hard over the last 12 months to get myself back to this place. I feel like I'm enjoying the game as much as I ever have, I absolutely love the game of golf.

"When I go out there and play with that joy – it's definitely shown over the past few months. It feels awesome, I'm looking forward to celebrating with my team."

Kitayama finished alone in second at 16 under, with Lee Kyoung-hoon the only player in third at 15 under.

Tommy Fleetwood shot Sunday's equal second-best score with a 65 to jump up into a tie for fourth at 14 under with Jon Rahm.

Aaron Wise finished alone in sixth at 12 under and an all-American group headlined by Sam Burns rounded out the top-10, tied for seventh at 11 under.

The best fourth-round score came from Taylor Montgomery, who was three strokes better than the field on the last trip around Congaree Golf Cup with his nine-under 62 – finishing his tournament at nine under after entering the round at even par.

Rory McIlroy carded two eagles on the third day at the CJ Cup to catapult himself to the top of the leaderboard by one stroke at the Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina on Saturday.

McIlroy's four-under-par 67 moved him to 13 under after 54 holes, ahead of Lee Kyoung-hoon, who tied the day's lowest round with 66, Kurt Kitayama and halfway leader Jon Rahm who are all 12 under.

Taylor Moore and Aaron Wise are next best, both a further two shots back at 10 under ahead of the final day.

McIlroy's round included three bogeys and three birdies, but was highlighted by eagles on the par-five fourth hole and par-five 12th.

The Northern Irishman, who is the defending CJ Cup champion, approached from 227 yards with a long iron that landed within two feet of the flag on the fourth. McIlroy holed out up a slight hill for a 32-foot eagle on the 12th.

McIlroy's round also included a touch of fortune on the 15th when a heavy shot hit a sprinkler head to slow it up nicely on the green, leading to par.

Lee stormed into contention with six birdies across his round, managing a fine approach on the 17th to card one of only three birdies of the day on that hole.

Rahm also achieved that feat on the penultimate hole to help resurrect his hopes, after three bogeys in four holes in the middle of his round.

Kitayama, who had been second behind Rahm coming into the third day, had his worst round of the tournament, carding a one-under 70.

South Korean phenom Tom Kim carded a two-under 69 to be nine-under overall, while Tommy Fleetwood and Maverick McNealy both managed rounds of 66 to be eight under.

World number one Scottie Scheffler's miserable CJ Cup continued with a three-over 74, leaving him well off the pace, while Wyndham Clark provided a bright point with an ace on the par-three 10th.

Jon Rahm was the star of the show on Friday at the CJ Cup, shooting a nine-under 62 to jump all the way up into a share for first place at 11 under with Kurt Kitayama.

Rahm's 62 came after an opening 69, raising his birdie count from six to 10, while cutting his bogeys from four to one as he figured out the Congaree Golf Club course.

Kitayama has been a much steadier presence this week, posting rounds of 66 and 65, with his second round highlighted by an impressive eagle on the par-five 12th hole.

Those two players lead the pack by one stroke, with Australia's Cam Davis and America's Aaron Wise tied for third at 10 under with back-to-back 66s.

Rory McIlroy is alone in fifth at nine under after following a front-nine score of 37 with an impressive 30 on the back-nine, and he is two strokes clear of a logjam tied for sixth at seven under.

The group includes young phenom Tom Kim, as well as former major champion Shane Lowry and England's Tyrrell Hatton, while Masters champion Danny Willett is a further shot back at six under.

Presidents Cup representatives Max Homa and Im Sung-jae enter the weekend six strokes off the pace at five under, with former world number one Jason Day at four under and current world number one Scottie Scheffler at three under.

Being an invitational event with no cut, Collin Morikawa (three under), Rickie Fowler (two under), Justin Thomas (one under) and Hideki Matsuyama (even par) will all get to stick around and play two more rounds.

Defending CJ Cup champion Rory McIlroy started strong to be one shot behind joint leaders Gary Woodland and Trey Mullinax after the opening day at Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina.

The Northern Irishman is tied with six players at five-under after carding opening rounds of 66, including recent Shriners Children's Open winner Tom Kim.

McIlroy pieced together birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes, but his round leveled out, finishing bogey-free.

Woodland was one of the pre-tournament favourites and he impressed early, with three straight birdies to open his round.

The American dropped three bogeys to slow his progress, but sunk a 21-foot birdie putt on the par-four 18th to finish his round with nine birdies and a share of the lead.

Co-leader Mullinax birdied four of his first six holes and six of his first 11, highlighted by a 23-foot birdie putt on the 11th.

Kim, who is only 20-years-old, stormed up the leaderboard late with three birdies in his final six holes, including rolling in a 28-foot birdie on the 16th although he slipped from the lead with a bogey on the 18th.

McIlroy and Kim are joined by Cam Davis, Kurt Kitayama, Aaron Wise and Wyndham Clark in carding opening day rounds of five-under-par.

Norwegian Viktor Hovland and American Tyrrell Hatton headline the following six-member group at four-under.

Two-time PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas is back at three-under, while former world number one pair Jon Rahm and Jason Day are at two-under. Scottie Scheffler finished with an even round.

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth had a poor round that included a double bogey on the sixth and four bogeys to be four-over-par.

Former U.S. Open winner Jon Rahm romped to his eighth DP World Tour title with a six-stroke victory on home turf in the Open de Espana on Sunday.

The 2021 major winner delivered a stunning nine-under round to card 62 on the final day, blowing away the competition at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

With an eagle on the 14th and eight further birdies, the 27-year-old proved too strong for Matthieu Pavon, with the Frenchman's six-under for the fourth round leaving him in a distant second place.

Rahm's triumph saw him take the Open de Espana title for the third time in his career, having previously triumphed in 2018 and 2019.

It means he equals the record set by his fellow countryman, the late Seve Ballesteros, who also won the competition on three occasions.

"You might need to ask me in a few days because I take quite a while to process these things," Rahm stated when asked for his thoughts on matching Ballesteros' feat.

"It was the goal coming in; Seve is a great hero of mine and to do something he took his whole career to do in just a few years is quite humbling.

"It's emotional. Going up the 18th hole, I knew what was about to happen and to get it done like that, I can't describe it."

Australia's Min Woo Lee carded three-under to finish in third, seven strokes off the lead, while Italy's Edoardo Molinari and South Africa's Zander Lombard tied for fourth after posting equal rounds of four-under.

Jon Rahm wishes the LIV Golf International Series defectors could play at the Ryder Cup, though he conceded "it does not look good" for the rebels' hopes.

The controversial Saudi-backed breakaway league continues to battle for world ranking points for its defectors, with the LIV Golf players also indefinitely banned from featuring on the PGA Tour.

Those bans mean the United States golfers that defected will not be able to compete at the Ryder Cup in Rome next September, while European players are awaiting a hearing in February on the sanctions.

A positive outcome for the Europeans who play on the LIV Golf circuit would see the DP World Tour unable to sanction the rebels, with Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sam Horsfield hoping to feature in Italy.

While Rahm has opposed the breakaway league, alongside likely Team Europe colleague Rory McIlroy, he expressed his disappointment that the best players may not be present at the Ryder Cup.

"The Ryder Cup is not the PGA Tour and European Tour against LIV – it's Europe versus the US, period," Rahm said.

"The best of each against the other, and for me the Ryder Cup is above all. I wish they could play but it doesn't look good."

Recent reports suggest Sergio Garcia has ruled himself out of Ryder Cup contention regardless of the hearing result.

The Spaniard failed to submit an entry for the Mallorca Open later in the month, meaning he will not meet the appearance requirements to retain his membership.

"It is a complicated situation for Sergio," Rahm added. "I understand he decided not to play because the last time he played a tournament on the European circuit he was not received very well, although I imagine it would be different in Mallorca.

"In any case, there are still days left and you can still sign up."

Jon Rahm has denied speculation he is set to become the latest addition to the LIV Golf Invitational Series, making his position clear on social media.

The controversial Saudi-backed series is at loggerheads with the PGA Tour, snatching the services of a host of high-profile stars, including Phil Mickelson, Cameron Smith and Brooks Koepka.

Speculation regarding future additions persists, and Rahm's name was thrown into the mix by a social media account claiming a move for the Spaniard was "indeed a GO".

"I've never been wrong about a LIV signing," the post from a claimed "LIV Golf Insider" added. "Just look at my track record. PGA Tour is on the ropes."

But Rahm responded on his own Twitter account, swiftly quelling any concern he would be the latest big name to abandon the PGA Tour.

"I must inform you that you have started a losing streak because you and your source are wrong," he replied, adding alongside a crying laughter emoji: "I want to thank you for the lift in the PIP."

Rahm's comment referenced the PGA Tour's Player Impact Programme, which financially rewards the players who bring the most attention to the sport each year.

Shane Lowry clinched victory at the BMW PGA Championship on the final hole at Wentworth, pipping Jon Rahm despite a historic final round from the Spaniard.

Following the suspension of play on Friday due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the tournament was reduced to 54 holes.

Rahm's round of 62 on Sunday gave him the clubhouse lead on 16 under par, and it could have been even lower had he not narrowly missed some birdie attempts early on.

His total of 29 on the back nine, which included two eagles, was the lowest in the tournament's history, despite a bogey on 15.

It looked likely that Lowry would overtake him when the Irishman also reached 16 under with six holes remaining, hitting an eagle on the fourth, and birdies on the seventh, eighth, 10th and 12th.

However, Lowry – the 2019 champion at The Open Championship – went on to par the next five, leaving a nervous wait to see if he could take advantage on the par five 18th.

Lowry did just that after an excellent approach shot that left him with two putts for birdie, which he executed to seal a sixth DP Tour win of his career.

Rory McIlroy finished joint-second with Rahm after carding a final round of 67, while overnight leaders Viktor Hovland and Soren Kjeldsen both slipped to T5 after only being able to go round in 70.

Patrick Reed had set the bar early in the day with his impressive round of 63, before Rahm overtook him, and the American also finished joint-fifth alongside Thomas Detry on 14 under, with Talor Gooch able to earn outright fourth after an eagle at the 18th.

A round of 65 from Lee Westwood saw him climb to T13, where he was joined by world number 443 Matthew Southgate, who carded his second round of 67 in a row.

Former world number one Jon Rahm has hit out at the prospect of LIV Golf players featuring at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth later this week.

The field for the DP World Tour event, which begins on Thursday, includes 17 players who have made an appearance on the controversial Saudi-backed circuit. 

The likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia are all among that group, as the bitter divide between the LIV series and the PGA and European Tours shows no sign of healing.

Quizzed on their presence at the event, former U.S. Open champion Rahm expressed his frustration at big-name LIV golfers taking the places of those who have stayed loyal to the European Tour, claiming they are only appearing to pick up world ranking points.

"What I don't understand is some players that have never shown any interest in the European Tour, that have never shown any interest in playing this event, are being given an opportunity, just because they can get world ranking points, and hopefully make majors next year," the Spaniard said.

Citing the case of close friend Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, who has missed out on the field, Rahm added: "It doesn't hurt me, but it does bug me that somebody who has played over – I looked it up – 20 DP World events this year cannot be given the opportunity to play a flagship event.

"Because some people that earned it, to an extent, are being given an opportunity when they couldn't care any less about the event.

"They don't know. They don't care. They don't know the history of this event.

"They are only here because they are trying to get world ranking points and trying to finish in the top 50, and that's clear as day."

But Rahm believes there could yet be a way back for those who have signed for the breakaway tour, adding: "There's only one problem in life that doesn't have a solution, and that's death. 

"Everything else has a solution. If the European Tour really want them to play and as a team we [Ryder Cup Europe] want them to play, I think a solution can be reached."

Defending BMW PGA Championship champion Billy Horschel was similarly scathing of the LIV rebels, declaring: "Even though Westwood and Poulter have been stalwarts for the European Tour, I don't think those guys really should be here."

Taking aim at those who have missed the event in the past, he added: "You've never played this tournament, you've never supported the DP World Tour.

"Why are you here? You are here for one reason only, and that's to try to get world ranking points because you don't have it [on the LIV Tour].

"It's hypocritical because some of these guys said they wanted to play less golf. It's pretty hypocritical to come over here and play outside LIV when your big thing was to spend more time with family and want to play less golf."

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