Charley Hoffman birdies last hole to clinch victory at Valero Texas Open
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 25/04/16 7:56am
Charley Hoffman held his nerve to hole a superb putt for birdie at the final hole which clinched a thrilling one-shot victory at the Valero Texas Open.
With Patrick Reed already in for a closing four to close on 11 under, Hoffman needed to get up and down from a tricky lie in the rear bunker after flying the green with his second shot.
The 39-year-old caught too much sand with his escape, and his ball trickled onto the green and settled nine feet from the cup, but Hoffman composed himself to rattle a confident putt into the middle of the cup to secure his fourth PGA Tour title.
Reed, who missed excellent chances for birdie from inside eight feet at 16 and 17, almost pitched in for eagle at the last after narrowly clearing the hazard with his second, but he had to be content with outright runner-up ahead of Chad Collins, who made a late charge with four birdies over the last five holes.
The top 25 players were separated by just four strokes early on the final day, but it came down to a battle between Hoffman and Reed on the back nine after overnight leader Ricky Barnes faded out of contention and Martin Piller led briefly until taking five to negotiate the par-three 13th.
Hoffman missed a six-foot par putt on the third, but he balanced the books when he nailed a 21-footer for birdie at the next and he got under the card for the day when he converted a precise approach to nine feet at the 11th.
He got up and down for another gain at the long 14th and made a crucial par save on 17 after he chunked his second, two putts from 50 feet retaining his slim lead over Reed.
And his confidence with the putter was evident when he rolled in the winning putt to deny Reed, who birdied three and seven either side of his only bogey of the day at the fifth, and a superb 25-foot putt dropped for another birdie at 15.
Both returned three-under rounds of 69 along with Collins, who looked out of contention after bogeys at 10 and 12 before he revived his challenge with a remarkable run of birdies from the 14th.
Kevin Chappell was a shot further behind after a 68 in which he roared to the turn in 32, but he could not keep his momentum going on the inward half and remained on nine under par.
Chappell shared fourth with Ryan Palmer, who birdied the last two to cap a 69, while Piller's huge mistake at the short 13th halted his charge as he parred in to close out a disappointing 70.
Billy Horschel was also two-under for the round as his fourth birdie of the day at 18 got him to nine under, while Barnes managed to finish with a four to salvage a top-10 finish with a 74 which was littered with errant drives.
Last week's RBC Heritage champion Branden Grace enjoyed another strong finish as he fired a six-birdie 67 to briefly earn the clubhouse lead on eight under.
But it was another frustrating Sunday for Luke Donald, who was two off the lead overnight before dropping down the leaderboard with bogeys at the first, fourth and 11th, and his lone birdie at 13 was scant consolation as he carded a 74 to finish five behind Hoffman.