Hoffman leads Simpson by two at RBC Heritage

By Associated PressApril 20, 2013, 10:12 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Charley Hoffman thought he was through with Harbour Town Golf Links and the RBC Heritage. Turns out, he just wasn't ready as a younger player to handle one of the PGA Tour's trickiest layouts.

Hoffman missed the cut his first time here in 2006, then didn't do much better the next visit, going 72-80 on the weekend in 2009 and took it off his schedule for good. But Hoffman has found a new appreciation and success at Harbour Town that has him 18 holes away from his third career Tour victory.

Hoffman had four birdies his first five holes Saturday to shoot 5-under 66 and take a two-stroke lead at 11 under over U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

''I would say I wasn't mature enough to play this golf course,'' Hoffman said Saturday. ''I didn't understand how to play it. I guess I would get frustrated when I hit the fairway and didn't have a shot at the green.''


At a glance: Harbour Town Round 3

Video: Hoffman leads RBC Heritage

RBC Heritage: Articles, videos and photos


These days, the 36-year-old Hoffman had learned his way around Harbour Town like few others. The renaissance began last year with second-round 65 here that led to an eight-place finish. Hoffman opened play with a 66 Thursday, moved into a three-way tie for the top Friday and took control with his hot start in the third round.

''Yeah, it was definitely the best playing round I've had in a long time,'' he said.

He'll need to have one more to hold off those chasing him down. Simpson, bidding for his first victory since winning the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, finished with a bogey-free 65, tying the lowest round of the tournament.

Kevin Streelman shot a 69 and was alone in third at 8 under.

The round started with 91 players making the cut, tying the Tour high set in 1981 at the Travelers Championship. Jesper Parnevik moved the cut line Saturday morning to 2 over as he missed a 5-footer to complete his rain-delayed second round and opened the door for 21 players to keep playing.

Brendon De Jonge and Graeme McDowell were tied at 7-under par, four shots off the lead. De Jonge shot a 67, and McDowell had a 68.

The last of Hoffman's two career PGA Tour victories came at the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship. And early on, he threatened to turn the RBC Heritage into a runaway.

He made a 30-footer for birdie at the first to break from a three-way tie with Kevin Streelman and Steve LeBrun, then followed that by getting up and down from about 30 feet on the par-5 second hole. Hoffman was pin high, 12 feet away on the par-3 fourth to move to 9 under and closed his hot start with another up-and-down birdie – this one from 65 feet – on the par-5 fifth.

Hoffman played steadily the rest of the way to maintain his lead – even though he appeared on the verge of cracking several times.

Hoffman saved par from a front bunker on the par-3 seventh hole, then punched a shot between two trees no more than 5 feet apart to make another par on the eighth hole.

Hoffman chipped to 2 feet for another par on the 11th. He rolled in a 12-foot par putt on the next hole to stay out front during Simpson's charge.

Hoffman's final birdie – on the par-5 15th – gave him the two-stroke edge. He made a testy, 12-footer to save par one last time at the famed lighthouse hole, No. 18.

Simpson started three shots out of the lead, birdied three of his first six holes. Two more birdies on the 10th and 11th holes moved him within two shots of Hoffman. Simpson's 15-foot birdie putt on the 15th – Simpson made birdie on all three of Harbour Town's par 5s – drew him closer still. Simpson's 65 matched the lowest round of the tournament, accomplished Thursday by opening-round leader Brian Davis.

Simpson is eager to break through again with a victory. ''I think this year I just haven't gotten in contention enough,'' he said.

Streelman, tied with Hoffman and rookie LeBrun through 36-holes, had consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to stay in contention. LeBrun held steady with a 71 and was in a group of eight five strokes behind that included Bill Haas.

''I don't have much to lose,'' said Streelman, whose first Tour win came at the Tampa Bay Championships last month. ''I'm going to see what the course can give us.''

Hoffman's steady play capped an odd Saturday at Harbour Town that featured an early start time to conclude the second round, a super-sized field of competitors and a quick turnaround to get the third round in.

Parnevik was about to putt out on the closing lighthouse hole Friday evening when the horn sounded, stopping all play. Soon after his missed putt Saturday morning, Parnevik joked on Twitter, ''Everybody in the field at plus-2, put your envelopes in my locker ...''

One of those was Brandt Snedeker, at No. 5 in the world the highest ranked golfer here and on the verge of missing the weekend after shooting 73-71. Snedeker, who contended for the Masters' title last Sunday, was not spectacular in his bonus round, but did enough with an even-par 71 to hang around Sunday.

One of those who didn't make the tournament's second cut was Parnevik after a 73.

The tournament sent players out in groups of three on the first and 10th tees and that briefly created a backlog – and a scene duplicated at nearly every public course in the country – when the early starters on one side met the late starters on the other. Bo Van Pelt munched on a sandwich as he waited on No. 10 for the final competitors, Nicolas Colsaerts and Casey Wittenberg, to tee off before his group could continue.

DIVOTS: The final round will have 70 players at 2 over par or better – which would've been the number Saturday if not for Parnevik's miss. ... The PGA Tour's records on the cut only go back to 1970, so it's unknown if a tournament before then ever had more than the 91 players at the RBC Heritage make it past a 36-hole cut. ... Former Masters champ Trevor Immelman needed Parnevik's miss to play the third round, then shot a 5-under 66 to move to 3 under. ... James Driscoll had two birdies Saturday and nine for the week, good for a $9,000 donation for One Fund Boston. The Massachusetts native has pledged $1,000 per birdie he makes at the RBC Heritage and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans go to victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. He missed the cut after third-round play.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

Getty Images

Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.