It was right around this time last year that Charley Hoffman's professional golf career was about to change dramatically.
The 34-year-old former UNLV standout had shown signs of getting his game together with three top-10 finishes heading into the FedEx Cup playoffs. But when Hoffman won the Deutsche Bank Classic in Boston and suddenly found himself in the hunt for the overall prize of $10 million, he knew he had arrived.
"I got on a pretty good run," Hoffman said Tuesday. "I knew I was close to putting four good rounds together. I had put a new driver in play, and that was working well. But I putted well, and that's always the key."
Hoffman finished sixth at the Tour Championship and ended the year No. 4 overall while earning a career-best $2,559,646. He also found time to give back to Las Vegas by hosting his pro-am tournament at TPC Summerlin in conjunction with the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Hoffman's event raised $77,500 to benefit five local charities.
Now he's trying to build on that success. In addition to the pro-am, which will be played Sept. 26 at TPC Summerlin, Hoffman and his fellow participating pros will act as celebrity servers at Morton's Steakhouse on 400 E. Flamingo Road that evening.
"I really want this to be successful," Hoffman said. "My foundation is very important to me, and I'm working hard to raise money here in Vegas for charity. I'm hoping we can get a great turnout from the local community for the pro-am and the dinner."
He's also working hard to have history repeat itself. Hoffman is practicing at TPC Las Vegas this week -- passing on the PGA Tour stop in Greensboro, N.C. Today, he's going to work with UNLV coach Dwaine Knight to make sure his short game is in order.
"I've always leaned on Coach Knight over the years, and he's always been there for me," Hoffman said. "He sees things other people can't, and he has a great way of teaching the game."
Hoffman, who is No. 49 in this year's FedEx standings and has earned $1,182,158, watched tape of last year's playoff run to see if he can recapture some of the magic in the coming weeks.
"I was watching some film of me at Boston to see what I was doing right with my putting," Hoffman said. "I putted well at the PGA (Championship) even though I missed the cut. I know when I'm putting good. I can see the line I need to, and I'm making more putts."
Hoffman said he's starting to get the same feeling he had a year ago, that he might be on the verge of doing something big.
"Everything's good," he said. "Physically, I feel great. I've been working on my game, and taking this week off will have me ready to go for the playoffs."
■ NOTE -- Tickets for the dinner are $250 and can be purchased at mortonsmlfcharleyhoffman.eventbrite.com. Proceeds will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, Blessings in a Backpack, the Las Vegas chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the transportation fund of the Las Vegas Zelzah Shrine Temple.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.