Cheerful Charlie Hoffman opened the Travelers Championship with a first round -9 under par 61, to lead by one shot from Hunter Mahan.
Charley Hoffman / Getty Images
Charley had thoughts of a 59, but was remembering last year when he was in contention here and finished double-bogey,bogey;
“It sort of crossed my mind, but not for long, I learned that 16, 17, 18 aren’t an easy test. Believe it or not, I was thinking about last year going down 16, 17, 18. 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 was obviously a little more focused on those last two holes. Hopefully I’m there again this year. It’s nice to come back after that finish last year.”
Hunter Mahan is in second place, fresh from his great effort in the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club. Hunter was close behind Charley, at -8 under par 62.
Hunter said he likes this TPC River Highlands course, and he was also thinking of 59;
” There are a lot of courses I like, but I haven’t had the success I’ve had here. I think this is the most comfortable course on TOUR for me. I feel like I have a good sense of these greens, I can read them really well. When you have confidence in what you see, it makes your stroke a lot easier. When I birdied the par‑5 sixth hole, I thought about the chance to birdie the last three to maybe get to 60 or 59. Just had a misread on 8 and 7. But I was definitely thinking about it for sure.”
Bubba Watson is in third spot with his -7 under par 63 opening round, he too is coming off a tough week at Merion. Bubba scored an Eagle today, driving the green to about six feet on the par four 15th hole.
Justin Rose, the U.S. Open Champion is here, and he opened with a -3 under par round of 67;
” The announcement on the first tee today, being announced as the 2013 U.S. Open champion, I couldn’t help but smile before I hit my first tee shot. That’s an achievement that I’ve been dreaming about. I had a sluggish four or five holes where I struggled, but I stayed patient, I’ve stayed sort of committed to the same things that worked so well for me last week. That was my goal today, really. When you play a tournament like this, it’s about keeping steady pace. If you put four rounds in the mid‑60s together, you’re going to be very, very close.”
This going to be a really low scoring tournament and will be good fun to watch, a welcome release for the players after last weeks grueling encounter.