Hoffman Takes Lead at Renovated Colonial as Scheffler Fails to Break Par

Hoffman Takes Lead at Renovated Colonial as Scheffler Fails to Break Par

Charley Hoffman lines up a putt on the 16th hole during the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 23, 2024. (LM Otero/AP Photo)

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

5/23/2024

Updated: 5/23/2024

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FORT WORTH, Texas—Scottie Scheffler failed to break par in an opening round for the first time this year on a tough Thursday afternoon of blustery conditions and a new feel at renovated Colonial that seemed to befuddle just about everyone but Charley Hoffman in the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Hoffman posted a 5–under 65 for a one-shot lead over five players who all had a big advantage of playing in the morning. Hoffman had to deal with wind that gusted in the 20 mph range, putting a premium on shots into greens that were particularly firm from being so new.
Scheffler’s 2–over 72 was the second time in his past three rounds he was over par. Before that, he had played 41 consecutive rounds at par or better.
Scheffler was in the news all day—first from Louisville, Ky., where police released what video they had of his arrest last Friday morning before the PGA Championship, then from an opening round at Colonial that included his first triple bogey of the year.
Scheffler wasn’t alone in his struggles.
Only 45 players from the 132-man field broke par, a stark contrast from the record scoring last week at the PGA Championship. Max Homa failed to make a birdie and posted a 78, his highest score at a non-major since the Memorial four years ago.
Much of that had to do with Colonial, which went through an extensive restoration since last year’s tournament that included new sod from tee-to-green along with an upgraded irrigation system.
The greens were firm and bouncy from new sod, as expected—no one had played Colonial after the renovation until this week—and the wind added to the difficulty.
Hoffman saw that no one posted better than 66 in the morning—a group that included British Open champion Brian Harman and Tony Finau—and realized it probably wouldn’t be easy. Fairways and greens are not always his strength, but that was the best approach.
Hoffman missed only two fairways and three greens, and he never came seriously close to dropping a shot.
“It’s one of those golf courses you want to be aggressive on because you have some mid and low irons in, but you can’t get too aggressive out here because the greens are small and it’s hard to get up-and-down,” Hoffman said. “So I would say it was somewhat an easy 5 under, which are nice. They’re not always that way, but it was low stress.”
Harman and Martin Laird also played bogey-free in the morning for their 66s, and they were joined by Finau, S.H. Kim, and Davis Riley.
Collin Morikawa, who played in the final group at the Masters and the PGA Championship this year, was among those who opened with 68.
Harman felt everyone was on equal footing, regardless of past results, because it felt so new, even as the “essence of the course” was the same.
Brian Harman putts on the fifth green during the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 23, 2024. (LM Otero/AP Photo)

Brian Harman putts on the fifth green during the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 23, 2024. (LM Otero/AP Photo)

“The fear when you redo an iconic place like this is that they mess it up, and I feel pretty confident saying that they didn’t mess it up,” Harman said. “Now the course needs time to mature. The grass really isn’t quite where it needs to be yet. It takes a long time for those roots to get their structure and for everything to settle down.
“I’m going to hold off judgment for another couple years probably on how I think about it, but I don’t think they messed it up. I think they did a pretty good job.”
Scheffler has gone through a most unusual week dating to his arrest in the morning darkness before his second round of the PGA Championship. Police were investigating a pedestrian fatality and arrested—and briefly jailed—Scheffler for allegedly not following traffic directions.
Scheffler was released and made it back to Valhalla less than a hour before his tee time and shot 66. But he followed with a 73—ending his par-or-better streak—and shot 65 on the final day to tie for eighth.
At a news conference in Louisville, the police chief said the arresting officer is facing “corrective action” for not using his body camera during the arrest. Scheffler faces a June 3 arraignment on four charges, including second-degree assault of a police officer. The officer claims he was dragged by Scheffler’s car. There was no video of their first interaction.
Scheffler opened with two birdies through four holes until dropping shots by coming up short from the rough on the par-4 seventh, and on the par-4 ninth from a fairway bunker.
But his round went south on the par-3 13th, an 8-iron that was short and right and into the pond. His wedge from the drop zone spun off the green, and he chipped to 8 feet and missed the putt. He finished with four pars and a birdie.
Adam Scott, the only player to win on every current PGA Tour stop in Texas, opened with a 69 in his first time at Colonial since 2018. He won in 2013 in his first start at No. 1 in the world.
Jordan Spieth hit wedge to 2 feet on his final hole to salvage a 71.
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