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Tuesday 25 April 2017

Hoffman still standing after nightmare run

Charlie Hoffman
Charlie Hoffman

Augusata threw everything it had at Charley Hoffman but somehow the first-round leader emerged for the weekend's play with his US Masters chances still intact.

Hoffman was the star of the show in Georgia on Thursday as he stormed to the top of the leaderboard with a brilliant opening 65.

But a miserable spell in his second round, which saw him drop five shots in six holes, threatened to derail his tournament altogether.

Beginning the day with a four-shot cushion, Hoffman continued where he left off on Thursday by picking up a shot on the par-five second to move to eight-under.

However, it wasn't long before things started to unravel as Hoffman soon dropped a shot, his third of the tournament, at the sixth.

Further bogeys followed at the seventh, eighth, 10th and 11th and it looked as if his race could have been run.

Hoffman was still at a healthy three-under-par for the tournament but he was clearly struggling with the pressure of leading the charge.

To his credit, he steadied himself over his final seven holes of the day, registering six pars and a birdie to eventually sign for a 75 after a gruelling afternoon in Georgia.

It keeps the 40-year-old American very much in the mix, although there are some big names swarming around him, and they smell blood.

Sergio Garcia, who many consider to be the best player never to have won a Major championship, joined Hoffman at three-under at the halfway stage yesterday after briefly moving into the outright lead during the afternoon.

Garcia had birdied the first three holes but dropped his first shot of the week on the fourth, before another bogey on the 10th was confusingly changed on the scoring system to a triple-bogey seven.

The mistake was eventually rectified by tournament officials and Garcia, who has 22 top-10 finishes in majors, also bogeyed the 13th before picking up shots on the 15th and 17th in a 71.

Masters debutant William McGirt continued to impress in unfamiliar surroundings as the 37-year-old shot a one-over 73 to sit just one shot behind Garcia and Hoffman on two-under.

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