Hoffman wins playoff for first Tour victory


Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. — Charley Hoffman rammed in a 4-foot birdie putt to beat John Rollins on the first hole of a playoff in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on Sunday, wrapping up a wind-swept round that took its toll on most of the players.

Winning his first PGA Tour title, the 30-year-old Hoffman birdied No. 17, eagled the 18th in regulation, then birdied the 18th in the playoff.

He closed with a 1-under 71 to match Rollins (73) at 17 under.

Rollins' shot into a fairway bunker on the extra hole cost him.

Hoffman, in the next-to-last group, put the pressure on the final threesome when he hit his second shot within 11 feet of the pin on the par-5, 564-yard 18th, then rolled in the putt for an eagle to reach 17 under.

Rollins, in the last threesome with Justin Rose and Lucas Glover, missed a long try for eagle but made the short birdie putt to force the playoff.

Rose, meanwhile, hit into a bunker off the tee on 18, then ran a long birdie try past the cup before sinking the par putt that left him at 16 under and a shot behind Hoffman and Rollins. Rose, tied with Glover at the top heading into the final 18 holes, was shaky on the greens and finished with a 76 over the Classic Club layout.

CHAMPIONS TOUR

Hale Irwin won the season-opening MasterCard Championship, beating Jim Thorpe and Tom Kite by five strokes for his tour-record 45th victory and first in 15 months.

Coming off his first winless season in 12 years, the 61-year-old Irwin closed with a 7-under 65 for a 23-under 193 total to become the sixth-oldest player to win on the senior tour. Last year, he was shutout for the first time since joining the Champions Tour in 1995 and saw his streak of seasons with $1 million in winnings end at 10.

Irwin, three strokes ahead of Kite and Brad Bryant at 16 under at the start of the round, pulled away at the end of the day behind his masterful short game. He attacked the pins early, birdieing three of his first four holes.

Irwin has been almost unbeatable when leading or sharing the lead heading into Sunday, winning 30 of 41 times. He has won nine times in the state on the 50-and-over tour and also won the PGA Tour's 1981 Hawaiian Open.

Thorpe closed with a 66 to match Kite (67) at 18 under. Defending champion Loren Roberts shot his second straight 67 to finish fourth at 17 under.

ABU DHABI

England's Paul Casey won the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, closing with a 7-under 65 for a one-stroke victory over Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sweden's Peter Hanson.

Casey finished at 17-under 271 for his eighth European tour title. Ex-Gator Chris DiMarco shot a 66 to finish fourth at 15 under.

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