Hoffman leads at windy Texas Open

Charley Hoffman carded a 67 to take a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Valero Texas Open.

Playing in blistering wind, Hoffman was one of just 12 players to record an under-par round on Thursday.

The difficulty of conditions was best illustrated in the 10-over 82 two-time major winner Martin Kaymer returned on the day.

It was also a disappointing day for Graeme McDowell who was forced to withdraw from the tournament with an ankle injury.

The Northern Irishman suffered the problem during practice on Wednesday and, although he managed to play his opening nine holes on Thursday, he pulled out of the tournament before setting his sights on getting fit for the Masters which begins on April 9.

McDowell, tweeted: “Apologies to everyone at @valerotxopen for my withdrawal. Strained my lower left leg/ankle area practicing y/day and played with heavy strapping on it in the pro am and this morning.

“With The Masters upcoming I decided that getting fit is imperative. Don’t like WDs.
Meanwhile Hoffman was fortunate to take advantage of calmer winds in the afternoon to record five birdies and finish the day a shot clear of Australia’s Aaron Baddeley.

He picked-up shots on the second, third, ninth, 11th and 17th to post the round of the day.

The shot of the day, however, belonged to Baddeley who used the wind at his back to perfection.

Baddeley took on the green on the 336-yard par-four 17th, but missed left and had to go back to the tee after finding an unplayable lie.

That presented the 34-year-old with no problem, though, as he holed what was his third shot to record an improbable birdie.

That had put him in the lead at the time following birdies on the first, second, eighth and 15th and a single bogey on seven but Hoffman overhauled him.

Phil Mickelson also had a birdie-birdie finish to get to two-under alongside Ryan Palmer after a broken club had briefly contributed to him slipping over par on the back nine.

The five-time major winner reached the turn one under after a bogey and two birdies and dropped a shot on 10 before putting his tee shot on 12 into a bunker.

His club head then snapped off the shaft upon impact as he played his bunker shot and he dropped a further shot before birdies on 14, 17 and 18 saw him finish strongly.

There was then a group of seven players at one under including Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson.