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May 14 2011

11:47 PM

Hoffman finishes strong

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The way Charley Hoffman saw it, he got the best of both worlds Saturday at THE PLAYERS Championship.

Hoffman came out after the rain delay and was able to take advantage of the more generous conditions at TPC Sawgrass with a string of three straight birdies. At the same time, he was able to finish off a round of 68 so he'll get to sleep in Sunday morning.

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Hoffman

When he finished, Hoffman had moved to 5 under for the tournament and was within five strokes of the lead held by David Toms. At the same time, the leaders were just teeing off and Hoffman knew the Stadium Course was there for the taking.

"It's just soft," Hoffman said, "It hasn't been playing firm all week but it was starting to get a little firmer, but all the rain they had just softened it right back up. Birdies are out there and I am sure guys are going to make them.

"You've still got to hit fairways and stuff out there. But if you get your drive in the fairway you definitely have a good chance to make some birdies."  

Hoffman was on the 12th green when the horn sounded to suspend play. He came back out and bogeyed his next two holes -- missing the green at the par-3 13th and three-putting No. 14 --  before erupting with the three straight birdies.

The first birdie putt came from 2 feet, 10 inches. Hoffman then got up and down from 45 feet left of the par-5 16th green, eventually sinking a 6-footer for the birdie. He also made a putt of 9 feet, 1 inch on the infamous island green for his third consecutive birdie.

Even though he couldn’t make it four-in-a-row at the 18th hole, it was still a confidence builder. Hoffman's drive strayed right but he was able to get up and down from in front of the green for his par.

"I was able to make three good birdies coming in and a good par save on the last which is always nice to go home with," Hoffman said. "So I'm happy with where I finished. Obviously would like to have not made those couple of bogeys but all in all pretty good."

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