Anything that you can do, I can do better. Those words rang true when Charley Hoffman bested the impressive first round score of Hunter Mahan at the Travelers Championship. Mahan was out in the morning wave and carded a bogey-free 62. Hoffman, on the other hand got out in the afternoon. He turned in a card with a score of 61 – good for nine under par, one shot ahead of Mahan.
Mahan had 8 birdies in his impressive round. Hoffman only had five – but he added two eagles while giving a run at the much-desired score of 59. He’s not as concerned about breaking 60 as he is about avenging his runner-up finish from last year. “Believe it or not, I was thinking about it going down 16, 17, 18,” he said. “If I could have just gotten those balls in play, I would have been defending champion here. But this year, I got off to a good start and obviously a little more focused on those last two holes. Hopefully I’m there again this year.”
Hoffman shot a 28 on the back nine, which was the lowest nine-hole score on the entire PGA Tour this year. Not a bad way to start off a tournament. The 61 he shot was the best round of his career – besting the 62 he shot at the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship. For what it’s worth, he went on to win that tournament.
He’s played well so far this year, but has been far from spectacular. Coming into this week, Hoffman was 48th in FedEx Cup points. He ranked 120th in driving distance, 83rd in greens in regulation and 27th in strokes gained – putting. Clearly, the closer he gets to the green, the better he performs. It’s just a matter of getting there, I guess.
Hoffman and Mahan are by no means running away with this thing after the first round. There are several players within a few shots of the lead and all it will take is a bit of a stumble for either one to let the rest of the field back into contention.