Hoffman wins Hope Classic

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Aphoffman.jpg' class='caption'> Charley Hoffman won the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on Sunday for his first US PGA Tour title.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Thousand Palms, California:

Charley Hoffman rammed in a 4-foot birdie putt to beat John Rollins on the first hole of a playoff in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on Sunday, wrapping up a wind-swept round that took its toll on most of the players. Winning his first US PGA Tour title, the 30-year-old Hoffman birdied No 17, eagled the 18th in regulation, then birdied the 18th in the playoff. He closed with a 1-under 71 on The Classic Club course to match Rollins (73) at 17-under 343 in the five-day tournament. Rollins' shot into a fairway bunker on the extra hole cost him. Hoffman, in the next-to-last group, put the pressure on the final threesome when he hit his second shot within 11 feet of the pin on the par-5, 564-yard 18th. With Hoffman waiting and watching, Rollins, in the last threesome with Justin Rose and Lucas Glover, missed a long try for eagle but made the short birdie putt to force the playoff. Rose, meanwhile, hit into a bunker off the tee on 18, then ran a long birdie try past the cup before sinking the par putt that left him at 16 under and a shot behind. Rose, tied with Glover at the top heading into the final 18 holes, was shaky on the greens and finished with a 76 over the Classic Club layout. Jeff Quinney, whose ace on the 176-yard 17th put him at 15 under, finished with a 73 to tie for fourth with Heath Slocum (72). Glover had an 80 that dropped him into a tie for 13th. Strong winds Although the wind calmed a bit in the day, it gusted up to 64 kph, would quiet for several seconds, then just as suddenly kick up again, making club selection a guessing game and merely standing over putts a challenge. Players' pant legs whipped back and forth as they tried to steady themselves, and sometimes the gusts even rocked the ball on the green. The wind churned the small lakes around the course, and stirred up grit from the adjacent desert, sending it flying over much of the course. Phil Mickelson, making his first start of the year, was among those who struggled mightily. The 2002 and 2004 Hope champion shot a 78 that included a stretch where he went double-bogey, bogey, bogey, double-bogey, including hitting shots into the water on Nos. 8-10. On the ninth green, Mickelson's cap blew off, sailed off the green and rapidly tumbled end over end for some 20 yards (meters) down a bank, finally chased down by a photographer. Weather for the tournament in the desert resort area usually is sunny and mild, but this year's Hope was weather-plagued most of the time. The start was delayed by a half-hour to an hour for two days because of frost on the courses, and Friday's round was cold and wind-blown, with temperatures dipping under 10 degree Celcius. The relatively easy desert courses usually yield extremely low scores, but the conditions changed that. The Hope record total is 324 by Joe Durant in 2001. Chad Campbell took the title last year at 335, then missed the cut this time. David Duval won in 1999 by finishing with a tour record-tying 59 that left him at 334.

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