By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Charley Hoffman will get his wish in the final round here at Harbour Town.
"I say bring on the wind," he said. "Maybe the wind will blow my ball closer to the hole."
Hoffman is a few minutes from teeing off and the wind is already whipping at 20 mph, and gusts could reach as high as 40-45 mph, which is why the National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory until 6 p.m. ET.
No matter to Hoffman, who leads by three and is used to the wind living in Las Vegas.
"I like the wind," he said.
He also has come to like Harbour Town, which wasn't always the case.
"I would say I wasn't mature enough to play this golf course," Hoffman said. "I didn't understand how to play it. I would get frustrated when I hit the fairway and didn't have a shot at the green. Through the years then I took it off because I didn't think it fit my game.
"Once you learn what side of the fairway you need to hit or the green you need to hit, you have a good advantage being a good driver of the golf ball. I learned that this golf course would be good for me."
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- On a day that began with three players tied for the lead and a season-high 91 players having the made cut, only one was atop the leaderboard at the end of it.
Charley Hoffman birdied four of his first five holes Saturday and shot 66 to take a two-stroke lead through 54 holes at the RBC Heritage.
Webb Simpson is along in second after a 65, his career-low here, while Kevin Streelman is another stroke back after a 69 on Saturday.
Graeme McDowell and Brendon de Jonge share fourth at 7 under, while eight others, including Ryo Ishikawa, Camilo Villegas, Billy Horschel and Bill Haas, are tied at 6 under.
Jim Furyk, who won here in 2010, is another stroke back.
This marks the second year in a row that Hoffman has found himself in contention here.
A year ago, he shot 65 in the second round before eventually finishing eighth.
Early on in his career, however, he struggled with Harbour Town's tight fairways and small greens.
"I guess I wasn't mature enough to play this course," he said. "Once you learn what side of the fairway to leave it on and where to miss, you have a real big advantage."
Hoffman hit just eight greens on Saturday, but scrambled well and finished with just 21 putts on his way to five birdies and zero bogeys.
A win here Sunday would be the third of Hoffman's career and first since 2010 in Boston.
Charley Hoffman turned a very difficult bunker shot into a potential birdie Saturday on the par-5 18th. He would have to settle for a par, however, that left him two back of leader Billy Horschel after 54 holes.
By PGATOUR.COM staff
A two-shot leader entering the third round, Billy Horschel did nothing to hurt his chances at winning the Valero Texas Open on Saturday.
Horschel, in search of his first win on TOUR, carded five birdies against three bogeys Saturday in a 2-under 70 that leaves him two clear of Jim Furyk and Charley Hoffman at TPC San Antonio. Horschel opened the event with a pair of 68s.
Furyk started the day three back and made up quick ground with birdies on his first two holes. He played the next 15 at even par but added another birdie on the 18th to secure a spot in Sunday’s final group.
Hoffman also started quickly, with three birdies on his first eight holes to briefly take the lead from Horschel. He played the final 10 holes in 1-over after missing a 7-foot birdie putt on the closing hole.
Lurking on the leaderboard will be Rory McIlroy, Bob Estes and Ryan Palmer, who each completed 54 holes at 6 under. Padraig Harrington, Martin Laird, Jeff Overton, K.J. Choi and Daniel Summerhays are another shot back at 5 under.
Horschel earned a career-best T2 finish last week at the Shell Houston Open where he carded weekend scores of 67-66 to move up the leaderboard. He’s got a grand opportunity to 1-up that showing on Sunday.
By Tim Price, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN ANTONIO -- There are horses for courses. And then there is Charley Hoffman at TPC San Antonio.
Even though the AT&T Oaks Course easily ranks above the PGA TOUR stroke average, Hoffman’s play at the site of the Valero Texas Open runs in the other direction. His stroke average here is less than it is, on average, in the rest of the tournaments he plays.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I played good over at La Cantera when it was played over there (prior to 2010) and ever since it’s moved here to TPC I’ve played well also.”
Then, Hoffman got really scientific: “Maybe it’s something in San Antonio. I like the Mexican food.”
In the first three years of the VTO being played at TPC San Antonio, Hoffman has a stroke average of 70.58. His TOUR scoring average in those three years is 70.82.
This year, Hoffman’s rounds of 71-67 are better than his season average of 71.3. He was tied for the lead with Daniel Summerhays and Steven Bowditch as play continued in the afternoon of the second round.
He’s never finished out of the top 15 at TPC San Antonio and was tied for second, a shot behind Brendan Steele two years ago.
Hoffman is hitting it long and hitting it on the green – always a good combination to get a player into contention. His measured drives average 301 yards, good for sixth this week. He’s hitting two of every three greens, and that’s in the top 25 this week.
The longest putt he made Friday was nine feet.
“I hit a bunch of fairways and gave myself an opportunity to make a lot of birdies,” Hoffman said. “Hopefully I can keep this going this weekend.”
If it’s San Antonio, Hoffman probably can.
Whether it's the current course at TPC San Antonio or the former venue at LaCantera, Charley Hoffman almost always seems to play well at the Valero Texas Open.
He's certainly playing well through the first two rounds this week. His 5-under 67 in Friday's second round leaves him at 6 under and a share of the clubhouse lead midway through the day.
In seven previous starts in this event, Hoffman has finished T-13 or better six times. That includes a tie for second two years ago when he finished one stroke behind champion Brendan Steele.
In 30 career rounds in this event, Hoffman has shot par or better 25 times, including his 71-67 start this week.
Friday's 67 was his lowest score in 14 rounds at TPC San Antonio but not his lowest in this event. He shot a 63 in the third round at LaCantera in 2009, the last year the event was held at that course.
"I played good at LaCantera when it was there, and ever since it's moved here to TPC, I've played well also," Hoffman said after Friday's round. "Maybe it's something in San Antonio. I enjoy coming here. I like the Mexican food and I enjoy the area."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- The Coachella Valley is bathed in sunshine Sunday morning as the leaders of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation get set for the final round on the Palmer Private Course.
Scott Stallings owns a five-stroke advantage over Roberto Castro, Stewart Cink, Charles Howell III, John Rollins and Charley Hoffman. Stallings, who did not make a bogey in his first 54 holes, is looking for his third PGA TOUR win in 58 starts.
Four of the five players tied for second are trying to end lengthy victory droughts while Castro is seeking his first win. Howell's last victory came in 2007, Cink and Rollins last won in 2009 and Hoffman is seeking his first since the 2010 FedExCup Playoffs.
The deficit is admittedly daunting. But over the first three rounds, the Palmer Course averaged nearly two-and-a-half strokes under par and the course gave up a 59 to David Duval when he won the tournament in 1999. Stallings and Cink both shot 66s the first time they played the Palmer this week while Howell and Castro had 67s and Rollins shot 70.
Cink, who lives in Atlanta, used today's NFL playoff game between the Falcons and San Francisco 49ers to size up Sunday's competition.
"The Falcons are about a four-and-a-half point underdog, and does that translate into a five-shot deficit?" he said. "I'm probably a 14-point underdog tomorrow with a five-shot deficit. So I think I have a bigger challenge than they do.
"They have Matt Ryan. I don't have another person to be my quarterback tomorrow. I have to be my own quarterback and receiver."
Should the 27-year-old Stallings go on to win, he would become the third player in his 20s to win in the first three TOUR events of 2013. The last time that happened was in 1977 (Jerry Pate/Phoenix Open, Bruce Lietzke/Tucson Open and Tom Watson/Bing Crosby National Pro-Am). Tom Watson also won the fourth week on TOUR in 1977 at the Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational.
Stallings would also become the sixth player under the age of 30 with three of more TOUR wins, joining Dustin Johnson (7), Rory McIlroy (6), Anthony Kim (3), Webb Simpson (3) and Keegan Bradley (3). He'd also get a second straight trip to the Masters.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Charley Hoffman isn't worried about being late.
He and his wife Stacy are hosting a two-day charity event in San Diego to raise money for the Charley Hoffman Foundation. The festivities begin Sunday night with a dinner at 6 p.m. and continue on Monday with a pro-am on the North Course at Torrey Pines.
But Hoffman will start the final round of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation tied for second, five strokes behind Scott Stallings. Hoffman is a former winner of this event, beating John Rollins in a playoff in his 2007 debut in the desert.
"The worst case scenario is that I show up a few minutes late but the party will go on without me," Hoffman said mindful of the three-hour gap between the end of the tournament and start of the dinner. "We will raise money even if I get there a litle bit late. Hopefully, we'll have something to celebrate."
A Hoffman win would likely delay his arrival more than a few minutes, of course. But regardless of what happens at the Palmer Private course on Sunday, he and Stacy can be proud of the work the Foundation does as it goes over the $1 million mark this week. Proceeds of the two-day event benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Pro Kids and the San Diego Junior Golf Association.
Hoffman said his main duty Saturday night is to send out a text to his fellow TOUR pros and tell them what time to show up on Monday. He and his wife have hired someone to help with the administration of this event, and Hoffman, who has missed the cut the last three years in the desert, thinks that may have contributed to his improved performance this week.
"It was nice hiring somebody so I can go out and focus on golf," Hoffman said. "But it definitely means a lot to my wife and myself to put on a nice event and raise money for our charities in San Diego."
Hoffman, who is making his 2013 debut at the Humana Challenge, opened with a 65 on Thursday and has followed that up with a pair of 67s. He's tied for fifth in putting this week, and he's hit 29 of 41 fairways and 39 of 54 greens in regulation.
"If I get the putter going, I'm usually always sort of up there near the top of the leaderboard,' Hoffman said. "And it's been going pretty good this week, and hopefully got one more day and keep it going. "
Hoffman is a gregarious sort, too, and he enjoys the format that has the pros play with an amateur each of the first three days. "It's actually pretty fun to interact with those guys," he said. "So some guys I don't know if it throws them off or something, but I enjoy playing in the pro-am format.
"I succeeded in the past and hopefully I'll have a chance tomorrow."
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Charley Hoffman is fairly long and solid tee to green. But his putting stats took a tumble last year, as he finished 181st in strokes-gained putting, dropping 34 spots in the wrong direction, so that will likely be an area of emphasis during the offseason.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Hoffman hit seven figures for the fourth season but he squandered a golden opportunity to pick up his third career win at the Travelers Championship. He led by two through 70 holes but double bogeyed the 17th and bogeyed No. 18 to finish one stroke back. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I know Charley has to feel like one got away. He should have, won The Travelers Championship, but played the last two holes in three over par. Hoffman still made $1.2 million with two top-10s, but it's only human nature to remember what might have been. Charley is a great driver and good iron player who had a frustrating year putting. He ranked 181st in strokes-gained putting.-- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Not to be confused with Web.com Tour grad and 2013 PGA TOUR rookie, Morgan Hoffmann (he of the double-n finish to his surname). The two-time TOUR winner isn't a top-10 machine, but he's not afraid of a full schedule, which has always allowed him to room to dial in his talents. He's ranked inside the top 20 in birdie average in five of his seven years, but he's also had trouble avoiding the big number. That qualifies him as a flier, but he's better labeled as a safe commodity in long-term formats. Salary gamers can remain hands off at $1.276 million, however. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 18
Rounds played: 88
Top-10 finishes: 2
Money List rank: 69th
Driving distance: 46th
Driving accuracy: 73rd
Greens in regulation: 61st
Strokes gained-putting: 181st
Scoring average: 125th
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