Hoffman storms into Hero World Challenge lead
Albany, December 1: Charley Hoffman stormed up the Hero World Challenge leaderboard with a second-round 9-under 63, moving from T8 into a three-shot lead over Jordan Spieth and first-round leader Tommy Fleetwood. Hoffman began his round with birdies on four of his first five holes and closed with five consecutive birdies for a round of 63.
First-round leader Tommy Fleetwood followed a 6-under 66 with a second-round 3-under 69 to fall into a second-place tie with Jordan Spieth at 9-under 135. Currently, in his first season as a member of the PGA TOUR, Fleetwood is making his first start at the Hero World Challenge.
2014 World Challenge champion Jordan Spieth (T2) opened with rounds of 68-67 and is currently three behind Charley Hoffman. He won in 2014 by a record 10 strokes over Henrik Stenson with a tournament-record 26-under 262, becoming the first player to win the event in wire-to-wire fashion.
Hoffman’s 63 falls one shy of the course record at Albany Golf Club – a final-round 62 by Justin Rose in 2016. Hoffman, currently making his first start at the Hero World Challenge, leads the field with 17 birdies.
Hoffman has qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs all 11 seasons, with his worst showing a 69th place finish in the FedExCup in 2012. Most recently, the four-time PGA TOUR winner finished 20th in the standings following the 2016-17 season.
Hoffman has led/co-led following the second round seven times on the PGA TOUR, most recently carrying that lead on to a T22 finish at the 2017 Masters. He has never gone on to win after leading/co-leading after the second round.
In the 18 previous playings of the Hero World Challenge, the second-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win eight times. Tiger Woods carried the second-round lead/co-lead to victory in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2011, with Tom Lehman doing so in 1999, Graeme McDowell in 2012, Jordan Spieth in 2014 and Hideki Matsuyama in 2016.
Host Tiger Woods (T5), the winner of 79 career PGA TOUR titles including 14 major championships, who is making his return to competitive golf this week at the Hero World Challenge, followed an opening-round 3-under 69 with a 4-under 68. He’ll enter the final 36 holes trailing Charley Hoffman by five strokes.
Woods eagled the par-5 ninth hole. His last eagle on the PGA TOUR came during the second round of the 2015 Wyndham Championship (No. 15).
A missed cut at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open marks Woods’ last start on the PGA TOUR. Before this week, his last round in a tournament was an opening-round 77 before withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic (February 2).
Woods owns five victories (2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011) and five runner-up finishes (most recent to Zach Johnson in 2013) in 15 prior Hero World Challenge starts. Last year, Woods led the field with 24 birdies en route to a 15th place finish.
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama (T5) has rounds of 71-66 and will enter the final 36 holes of the Hero World Challenge five strokes behind Charley Hoffman. He is attempting to join Tiger Woods (2006-07) as the only players to win the Hero World Challenge in back-to-back seasons. This week marks Matsuyama’s fourth start at the Hero World Challenge (13/2014, T17/2015, 1/2016).
With rounds of 69-70, 2017 FedExCup champion and PGA TOUR Player of the Year Justin Thomas is currently in 12th place and seven strokes behind Charley Hoffman.
Henrik Stenson (14th), with wife Emma serving as his caddie this week, recorded a 1-under 71 alongside playing partner Tiger Woods. In four prior starts at the Hero World Challenge, Stenson has never failed to finish inside the top five, including runner-up finishes in his last two starts (2014, 2016).
Hero World Challenge Second-Round Leaderboard
Charley Hoffman 69-63—132 (-12)
Jordan Spieth 68-67—135 (-9)
Tommy Fleetwood 66-69—135 (-9)
Justin Rose 68-68—136 (-8)
Hideki Matsuyama 71-66—137 (-7)
Francesco Molinari 69-68—137 (-7)
Tiger Woods 69-68—137 (-7)
Rickie Fowler 67-70—137 (-7)
Matt Kuchar 67-70—137 (-7)