(Reuters) - Charley Hoffman will try to put his final-round U.S. Masters letdown behind him when he tees it up at this week’s Valero Texas Open where the American journeyman is the defending champion.
Hoffman, who missed the cut in his only event since the Masters, squandered a chance to win his first major by shooting a six-over-par 78 in the final round at Augusta National after starting the day two shots off the lead.
“We go through so much failing on the PGA Tour. I can leave it behind. I lose way more than I ever win,” said Hoffman, who led the Masters after a sizzling opening-round 65.
“Say I played nine bad and 60-something really good at the Masters. I‘m not going to let the nine bad holes really affect me at all.”
World number 15 Patrick Reed is the highest ranked player in a weak field at TPC San Antonio that includes 10 players ranked inside the top 50 and features eight returning champions.
Englishman Luke Donald, fresh off his fifth runner-up finish at last week’s RBC Heritage, could be another one to watch as he seems to be rounding into form.
Among the big names not competing this week are Masters champion Sergio Garcia, Texan world number five Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson, absent for the first time in four years.
The field for the Valero Texas Open is among the weakest since it falls during what many consider a natural break between the Masters and buildup for the May 11-14 Players Championship in Florida.
The Valero Texas Open offers a great opportunity for Hoffman to rebound since he has enjoyed plenty of good results there since the tournament moved to TPC San Antonio in 2010.
“It’s like Luke Donald last week at the Heritage,” Hoffman said. “It’s one of those where you step on the property and feel good. Love the hotel, love having the family with me and getting on the first tee. The golf course fits my eye.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom