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Charley Hoffman looking forward to coming home

Two days after winning his first PGA Tour title, American Charley Hoffman is itching to play in front of his home fans at this week's Buick Invitational.

The San Diego native has been a regular visitor to Torrey Pines Golf Club since his early teens and knows the two coastal layouts, the North and South, as well as anyone in the field.

"I couldn't have planned a better venue for this week, with all the stuff that is going on that usually doesn't go on," Hoffman told reporters on Tuesday as he prepared for Thursday's opening round.

"I'm familiar with the two golf courses. I don't need to go out and grind it out because I've played here so many times.

"It's definitely a huge advantage for me to be able to come home to this golf course," added the 30-year-old, who won the Bob Hope Classic at Palm Desert, California on Sunday.

"I played all right down here last year, and it's going to be fun to see the local support."

Hoffman, who tied for 16th at the 2006 Buick Invitational after opening with a six-under-par 66, has an impressive track record at Torrey Pines.

He qualified for the event three times as an amateur, and became only the third amateur to make the halfway cut in 1996.

"I was 16 the first time I played the Buick Invitational, but I was probably in the 13 or 14 age division when we used to go play the North Course in San Diego junior golf," he added.

Hoffman's playoff victory over fellow American John Rollins on Sunday earned him a career-high check for $900,000 and a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.

Hardly surprisingly, he has changed his targets markedly for the rest of this season.

"At the start of the year, one of my goals was to get in the Memorial (tournament) and all the invitational events," said the long-haired Californian, who looks more like a surfer than a professional golfer. "Winning on Sunday does that.

"Now I have a pretty legitimate chance to get in the Masters, and that's probably the dream of all golfers when they turn pro. I have a chance to do that if I keep playing good the rest of the West Coast (swing)."

The Buick Invitational, the fourth stop on the 2007 PGA Tour, has been won by Tiger Woods three times in the last four years.

January 24, 2007


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