Hero World ChallengeDecember 2, 2017

Charley Hoffman, overdue for a win, leads Hero World Challenge by five

Mike Ehrmann

Leader Charley Hoffman on the 18th tee during the third round of the Hero World Challenge. He birdied the hole and leads by five. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

NEW PROVIDENCE, Bahamas — Charley Hoffman doesn’t have to worry about Tiger Woods at the Hero World Challenge. Woods is 10 strokes back with one round to go.

His more immediate concern? Not blowing a big lead on Sunday.

On a windswept day in which only four players in the 18-man field broke par, Hoffman matched the day’s best score with a two-under 70 to extend his lead to five at Albany.

Despite the cushion it won’t be easy. Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose are tied for second at nine under, while Francesco Molinari is another stroke back.

Now it will be up to Hoffman, looking for his first win since the 2016 Valero Texas Open, to see if he can hang on just a little bit longer.

He doesn’t have the best track record. Or any record.

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Hoffman has held at least a share of the lead after 54 holes four times in his career on the PGA Tour. He is 0-for-4 in closing them out.

Earlier this year, Hoffman led going into the last day of the RBC Canadian Open. He shot 68 but lost in a playoff to Jhonattan Vegas.

Saturday’s round at Albany nearly got away from him, too.

Hoffman hit his tee shot into some bushes right of the 10th fairway and had to take a penalty drop. He went on to make double bogey to bring a half-dozen players back into the fold.

It turned out to be only a momentary lapse. Hoffman bounced back with three birdies over his final five holes.

“I’m going to have to handle my nerves a little better than I did today,” said Hoffman after a round that included six birdies along with two bogeys and the double. “I was in the lead most of the day but I didn’t swing it very good and that’s my M.O. is to swing it good. My rhythm was a little bit off today.”

Overall, it has been a good year for the 40-year-old, who made his first Presidents Cup team and led on the weekend at the Masters before faltering late in the third round.

He has had six top-10 finishes, including a pair of runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes.

The only thing missing? A win.


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