Hoffman starts strong at Shell Houston Open

HOUSTON (AP) Charley Hoffman birdied half the holes on the Golf Club of Houston course Thursday and had just a single bogey to shoot an 8-under-par 64 and take the first-round lead of the Shell Houston Open.

Hoffman birdied the first four holes of his back nine, then added another birdie on No. 8. That broke him out of what had been a four-way tie for first with Dustin Johnson, Roberto Castro and Scott Brown, who all shot 65s.

Hoffman's performance puts him in contention to claim the final spot in next week's Masters.

But the three-time PGA Tour winner from San Diego hasn't held up well on the weekends this season after giving himself good opportunities to claim titles. Closing 75s in his last two stroke-play tournaments even knocked him out of likely top-10 finishes.

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