Sun, Apr 03, 2016 - Page 19 News List

Hoffman leads at Houston Open


Charley Hoffman on Friday remained one stroke clear after the weather-hit second round of the Shell Houston Open, despite bogeying his final hole, while Jordan Spieth endured a frustrating day to finish six shots off the pace.

One ahead of the chasing pack overnight, the US’ Hoffman fired a two-under-par 70 to post a 10-under total of 134 in the final PGA Tour event before next week’s US Masters, the first of the year’s four major championships.

Hoffman, who had opened with a scintillating 64, was two ahead with one hole to play, but ran up a five at the par-four 18th after finding a bunker off the tee and failing to reach the green in two.

That left the three-time PGA Tour winner a stroke in front of compatriot Jamie Lovemark (68), with the US’ Chez Reavie (70) and Dustin Johnson (71) a further shot back at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson and the US’ Roberto Castro were also at eight-under with three holes remaining when play was suspended for the day in fading light. Along with 25 other players, they were scheduled to complete the second round yesterday.

World No. 2 Spieth, looking to hone his game ahead of his title defense at next week’s Masters, once again followed an impressive round with a mediocre one, as he tagged a 73 to his opening 67 for 140.

The 22-year-old mixed three birdies with four bogeys, three of them coming in his last seven holes, as he finished six strokes off the early pace.

“I’m close,” Masters and US Open champion Spieth told reporters about his overall form. “It’s the dumb stuff, like two water balls on par-fives... Those holes are playing at 4.5 today and I played them with two sixes.”

“There’s four strokes right there, as well as two bogeys from 100 yards with wedges in my hand in the fairway this week. It’s the kind of little things that are easy to shave off, but it really stinks to keep on making those mistakes,” he said.

“I felt like I was hitting it very well at the start of the day. Everything seemed fine, then I made a mistake on three with my first putt and it just all kind of tumbled down from there,” Spieth added.

Spieth won five PGA Tour titles last year, including two majors, but that consistent excellence has given way of late to a series of poor rounds that have sabotaged him.

Among his lowlights this season, the Texan has posted rounds of 76 (Valspar Championship), 79 (Northern Trust Open) and 74 (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am).

The cut was projected to fall at one-under 143 as the second round spilled over after play was delayed by 90 minutes earlier on Friday due to the threat of lightning.

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