The day couldn’t have began more perfect.
Ideal weather, not a cloud in the sky, in the mid-80s in sunny Orlando, FL at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
However, Morgan Hoffmann’s day began much differently.
News that his 97-year old grandmother had passed away, was not the news Hoffman was expecting, heading into the first round. However, Hoffmann’s long-time coach, Gary Gilchrist, believes that despite the tragic news, Hoffmann had the training and strength to prepare his mental state for this tournament.
He was right.
Hoffman fired a near flawless 6-under 66 to take the first round lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first career lead on the PGA Tour.
Hoffmann, 25, in his third year on the PGA Tour, tied for the lead at the 6th after draining his green-side bunker shot for an eagle. This shot moved Hoffman to -5.
But Hoffmann didn’t stop there.
At the 9th hole, Hoffmann hit a 152-yard approach shot that just slid by the cup and rested to no more than a foot past the cup. He tapped it in for a birdie, gaining the lead at 6 under.
Struggling in the beginning of the 2015 season, Hoffmann is without a top-10 finish. It is clear that he is looking to smash this “frustrating” streak with a win at Bay Hill.
“I was patient all day.” Hoffmann said, “My goal this week is to hit the middle of the greens.”
Even though the tragic news broke this morning, Hoffmann played his best golf of the season Thursday, telling PGATour.com
“I’ve been missing it both ways, and it’s been pretty frustrating. I’ve been working on a cut the last couple weeks, and it’s finally playing into my game. The key was to finish pretty strong. Holing out on No. 6 was a nice bump up, and I love finishing well on the last hole. I like having a birdie on [No.] 9.”
Heading into R2 tomorrow, Hoffmann leads at 6 under.