Hoffman's brilliant finish secures Bob Hope title
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2007 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic | Wrap | 22 Jan 2007
Charlie Hoffman became the first, first time winner on the USPGA Tour in 2007 when he birdied the first extra hole to beat John Rollins at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. The pair became the only playoff contestants after long time leader, Justin Rose, looking to make it an English double following Casey’s win Abu Dhabi a few hours earlier, missed a 25 foot putt at the last which would have seen him join the pair at the 18th tee.
For 30-year-old Hoffman, who is into his second season as a USPGA Tour player, it follows a rookie season in 2006 where he made more than a US$1 million in 21 events after having played several seasons on the Nationwide Tour in search of PGA Tour glory.
The University of Nevada graduate appears on track for a lucrative PGA Tour career and, after taking so long to get there and having paid his dues, this maiden victory will be very sweet. His birdie, eagle finish in regulation play just to get into the playoff is another reason to look back on this day with fondness.
Day five of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic turned into a horror day for the 70 plus golfers who made the fourth round cut at the event, with some of the strongest winds ever experienced in a PGA tour event buffeting the Classic Club in Palm Desert California.
Justin Rose threatened to take hold of the tournament when he birdied the first from short range but a double bogey at the 5th and bogeys at the 8th and 9th holes had him struggling to maintain an advantage by the time he turned for home. As many as six players had a chance of victory late in the tournament but Hoffman’s brilliant two at the 17th which followed his playing partner, Jeff Quinney’s, hole in one just a few moments earlier and his magnificent approach at the last to set up a ten foot eagle opportunity, deserved a chance at the title.
Rollins had a chance at the 72nd hole to end it all there and when but his 25 foot eagle putt, although on line, finished a foot or so short, he and Hoffman were on their way back to the par five 18th to find a winner. Rollins found the bunker from the tee and it was so close to the front lip he could only hit it 80 yards or so. It left a similar shot to that which Hoffman had after his tee shot and when both finished some 30 feet from the hole Hoffman had the inside running. Hoffman’s putt finished four feet short, leaving a nasty one to win his first PGA tour event but Rollins still had a chance to keep the playoff going if he could hole from 30 feet behind the hole. He did not and when Hoffman’s putt poured into the hole, the title and the US$900,000 was his.
Justin Rose finished third after he missed a lengthy opportunity at the last. Although he will be disappointed at letting such a great chance slip from his grasp, Rose has taken up where he left off in 2006 and his time will come soon. His win in the MasterCard masters in Melbourne completed a year which had seen several top tens late in the season on the USPGA Tour.
Jeff Quinney holed a four iron at the par three 17th to eventually share fourth with Heath Slocum, a great result in just his second event as a PGA Tour cardholder. The 2000 US Amateur Champion is finally finding his way in professional golf after a very solid season on the Nationwide Tour in 2006.
Robert Allenby was the best of the Australians and had his chances to win the title today. In conditions that perhaps suited him as much, if not more than others, Allenby appeared to be the one to beat when he reached the turn in two under and as at that point was 17 under for the tournament and within one. Surprisingly he lost his way on the back nine and finished 8th, his second such placing in two weeks.
Andrew Buckle, Nathan Green and Mark Hensby all shared 18th place, with Hensby recording his first top twenty since the British Open in 2005. For Buckle it continues a promising start to his PGA Tour career after a similar week last week in Hawaii while for Green it as yet another solid week. John Senden was 33rd, Peter Lonard 39th and Paul Gow 48th.
The PGA Tour heads to San Diego for this coming week’s Buick Invitational which sees the return to tournament golf for Tiger Woods.