It was a difficult decision for Charley Hoffman to not play in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last year for the first time since 2006, especially given the circumstances of 2017 surrounding the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting.
In 2017, a month after the tragedy, the former UNLV star finished tied for 18th at the Shriners and donated his $98,600 check to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund.
“Today is the day, two years ago, and I get chills just talking to you about it right now,” Hoffman said Tuesday before a practice putting session at TPC Summerlin, where the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open begins Thursday. “I hated to miss last year due to scheduling and playing in Asia, but it is great to be back.
“Las Vegas was my first official pro start (1999) back in the old school days when the Las Vegas Founders Club gave me a sponsor’s exemption. That was unbelievable, even though I missed the cut. … I have a lot of great memories here, and to be back as part of the best field in years is great.”
Hoffman, 42, has played at the Las Vegas PGA Tour stop 13 times, winning $762,892 with a best finish of fourth in 2014. Hoffman, who was born in San Diego, appreciates his fellow top players showing up and playing in his adopted hometown tournament, but he also wants to defend the Summerlin turf.
“I have been fairly close a few times (to winning), and it would be great to win here in front of the hometown fans and on a course that I have played as many rounds on as pretty much anyone,” Hoffman said. “If I can get the putter going, then I usually have a chance to win the tournament.”
Ex-Rebel Oda makes field
Former UNLV All-American John Oda shot 64 in the Shriners’ Monday qualifier at Boulder Creek, then survived a playoff to earn a spot in the field. Gordan Brixi, a UNLV commit from Saddlebrook Academy in Florida, also shot 64 but didn’t advance in the playoff.
Oda left UNLV in 2018 after his junior season and finished 107th on the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour money list and has limited status for this season.
UNLV’s Aussies play round
UNLV player Jack Trent, a Palo Verde High School product originally from Australia, and former Rebel Adam Scott, also from Australia, played a practice round together Tuesday.
Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt can be reached at email@example.com or @LVGolfInsider.
When: Thursday, Friday, 1-5 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 2-5 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 2-5 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Where: TPC Summerlin (par 71; 7,255 yards)
First tee times: Thursday, Friday, 7:05 a.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m.; Sunday, 7:30 a.m.
Forecast: Thursday (high 87/low 57); Friday (87/58); Saturday (87/61); Sunday (89/62).
Purse: $7 million (Winner’s share: $1,260,000).
Defending champion: Bryson DeChambeau.
Last week: Cameron Champ won the Safeway Open.