Poway's Charley Hoffman Has Historic Round at Augusta

At Augusta National, the round everyone was talking about Thursday belonged to Poway's Charley Hoffman.

Only 11 golfers were under par one was San Diego's Phil Mickelson. If it's the Master's, Mickelson's in the mix and he's at one under par.

While Mickelson was good, Hoffman was historic. He had nine birdies and finished at seven under par with a four stroke lead.

It's the largest first round lead at the Masters in 62 years.

Hoffman and William McGirt were the first to take advantage of Dustin Johnson's absence at the Masters.

The odds are they won't be the last.

With conditions expected to improve through the weekend, there's a host of capable challengers looking to fill the void left by the withdrawal of Johnson, the world's No. 1 player and a heavy favorite at the season's first major.

Hoffman acknowledged he was simply trying to make pars in the tricky conditions -- gusts approached 40 mph, flung hats off patrons' heads and sent egg-salad sandwich wrappers blowing across greens and fairways -- so he wouldn't shoot himself out of the event.

Lee Westwood, perhaps the best player without a major, was next at 2-under. The group at 1-under including three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose and former PGA champion Jason Dufner.

Hoffman was scheduled to tee off Friday at 10:01 a.m. EST.

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