'It was a feeling like no other I've ever felt,' said Hoffman. 'Every week its been a bonus after starting out with nothing, Monday qualifying and then finally getting status so I didn't have to do that anymore and then capping it off with a win. It's awesome. Hopefully I can finish the rest of the year good and maybe squeeze a tour card out of it.'
Gove fired a 3-under 69 on Sunday to join Hoffman and Lile, the overnight co-leaders who managed even-par 72s, in a tie at the end of regulation at 6-under-par 282.
The trio headed to the 18th hole to begin the playoff and Lile was the only player who missed the fairway. Gove and Hoffman both landed on the putting surface, around 50 feet from the hole, while Lile landed in the rough behind the green. Lile's chip came up 5 feet short as did Hoffman's putt, while Gove lagged his to tap-in range. Both Hoffman and Gove sank their par putts to extend the extra session.
The second playoff hole was the par-3 16th and all three found the short grass, although Hoffman was 50 feet away. Gove had 15 feet and Lile about 20, but none of the three made their birdie putts.
Gove and Hoffman both landed in the left rough off the tee, while Lile split the fairway. Gove came up short of the green with his second and Lile had 30 feet for birdie. Gove ran his third shot 10 feet past the hole, while Lile lagged his to a foot. He tapped in the par putt, but Hoffman ran home his 15- foot birdie putt to claim his first victory on the Nationwide Tour.
'To tell you the truth if you would have said I was 6 under and had a chance to win I would have thought you were crazy,' said Hoffman, who chipped in for birdie twice on his front nine Sunday. 'I didn't think 6 under had a chance.'
The $81,000 first-place check moved Hoffman, who was 60th on the tour's money list before the tournament started, to 25th and definitely in the field at the Nationwide Tour Championship in two weeks. Now he's in good shape for one of the top-20 spots that guarantees a PGA Tour card for the 2005 season.
Scott Gump fired a 5-under 67 on Sunday and tied for fourth place with Steven Alker, who shot a 70 in the final round. The duo came in at 5-under-par 283.