Charley Hoffman’s third PGA Tour victory – a one-stroke win over Shawn Stefani at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba – was forged on the opening nine holes of the El Camaleon Course. With 14 birdies on Nos. 1-9, Hoffman's scoring average on the front was 32.50, trailing only Danny Lee, who turned in a 29 on the front Sunday. Hoffman hit 32 of 36 greens and didn’t have a three-putt on the front nine all week.
Entering the week, he was averaging 34.67 on the starting holes this season, but he improved upon that mark, making at least three straight birdies on the front nine every day; he birdied holes 4-6 on each of the last three days of the tournament.
Hoffman was fifth in driving distance (295.1 yards) and fourth in greens in regulation (77.78 percent) at Mayakoba, a double dip of importance. In the last calendar year, Hoffman is one of five players to win on the PGA Tour while finishing fifth or better in distance and GIR.
Front-nine scoring leaders at the Mayakoba Classic
PGA Tour winners since 2014 who were top five in distance and GIR
|Player||Tournament||Distance rank||GIR rank|
|Charley Hoffman||2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba||5||4|
|Rory McIlroy||2014 WGC-Bridgestone||1||T-1|
|Seung-Yul Noh||2014 Zurich Classic||T-3||T-4|
|Bubba Watson||2014 Masters||1||T-5|
|Bubba Watson||2014 Northern Trust||1||T-3|
The OHL Classic trophy wasn’t just a belated birthday present for Hoffman’s daughter, Claire, who turned five on Monday of Mayakoba week. And even the prospect of taking his girls - the Hoffman family also numbers wife Stacy and daughter Katelyn - to Hawaii for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions the week after New Year’s might play second fiddle to one small fact.
Hoffman is one of three Fall Series winners who have made the FedEX Cup playoffs in every year of their existence. (Ryan Moore and Bubba Watson are the others.) All three have likely cemented their ninth consecutive postseason appearance.
Hoffman’s win was worth 500 points, and last year’s final playoff qualifier earned 438 points over the entire season. In addition, all six players who won in the 2013 Fall Series went deep into the postseason, every one advancing to the third event, the BMW Championship. Only Moore (39th in points) and Harris English (32nd) did not advance to the Tour Championship.
2014-15 PGA Tour winners in the Playoffs
|2014-15 pts. rank|
|Charley Hoffman||OHL Classic/Mayakoba||2007-2014||6|
|Bubba Watson||WGC-HSBC Champions||2007-2014||4|
|Nick Taylor*||Sanderson Farms||None||12|
|Ryan Moore||CIMB Classic||2007-2014||5|
|Robert Streb||McGladrey Classic||2014||1|
|Ben Martin||Shriners/Las Vegas||2014||3|
|Sang-Moon Bae||Frys.com Open||2012-2014||2|
*As an opposite-field event, the Sanderson Farms Championship allotted only 300 FedEx Points to Taylor.
Hoffman was the third straight winner at Mayakoba to come from behind in the final round. Hoffman shot 66 Sunday to go from T-3 to first, catching third-round leader Jason Bohn, who shot a final-round 74 to fall to T-7. In the first five years of the tournament, the winner came from behind just one time.
The average Sunday score for the last three OHL Classic winners is 64.66, with John Huh shooting 63 in 2012 and Harris English shooting 65 a year ago.
Final-round scores for the OHL Classic winner
Time of their lives
Led by runner-up Shawn Stefani, seven players who finished in the top 10 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba matched or set personal bests in the tournament. Stefani matched his performance set at the 2014 Quicken Loans Championship, when he lost a playoff to Justin Rose.
Top-10 finishers with their career best finish at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba
|Shawn Stefani||2||2, 2014 Quicken Loans|
|Andres Gonzales||T-3||T-8, 2013 Wyndham Champ.|
|Brice Garnett||6||T-7, 2014 Shell Houston Open|
|Tony Finau||T-7||T-7, 2014 Shriners/Las Vegas|
|Oscar Fraustro||T-9||T-43, 2014 Sanderson Farms|
|Carlos Ortiz||T-9||T-18, 2014 Shriners/Las Vegas|
|Blayne Barber||T-9||T-9, 2014 Sanderson Farms|
Kudos go out to 58-year-old Fred Funk, who shot 70 Sunday to finish T-9 at 11-under 273. It was the first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour for Funk since the 2008 Sony Open. Funk is the oldest of five Champions Tour players who have finished in the top 10 of a PGA Tour event since the start of the 2013-14 season. He is the oldest player to finish in the top 10 on Tour since 59-year-old Tom Watson was second at the 2009 British Open.
Players over age 50 with top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour since the start of the 2013-14 season
|Fred Funk||2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba||T-9||58|
|Bernhard Langer||2014 Masters||8||56|
|Jeff Maggert||2014 Travelers Championship||T-7||50|
|Miguel A. Jimenez||2014 Masters||4||50|
|Vijay Singh||2013 Frys.com||2||50|