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Hoffman starts summer drive by winning first junior golf tourney

June 17, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

Alex Hoffman fired an outstanding 4-under 67 to capture the first Tri-State Junior Golf Association tournament of the season on Monday.

Except for two hiccups on the back nine, the 16-year-old Hoffman mastered the Fountain Head Country Club course, equaling his career low, which came last year when he won the Washington County Amateur at Black Rock.

In winning the 16-18 age division, Hoffman opened with a front nine 32 and came in with a 35. Other than a double bogey on 15 and a three-putt finish at 18, Hoffman was in tune with his game.

"I've watched a lot of Charles Howell (pro golfer) on television and he has great lag in his swing and that's what I've tried to do," said Hoffman, who will be a junior at Middletown and is the current Maryland boys titleholder. "I had a good string of birdies and I really feel good about my game right now."

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Hoffman has a busy schedule ahead of him this summer other than the Tri-State Juniors, including the Maryland Junior Amateur on June 23-24 at Andrews Air Force Base. He's also gearing his game for the important American Junior Golf Association events, and he's qualified for the Maryland Open and will give it a go in the WACO Championship in August.

Hoffman has grown to six feet in stature and credits a workout program for adding to his abilities.

"I worked out and lifted five times a week and did a lot of running," said Hoffman. "I was hungry after winning states last year."

Hoffman swept past the 16-18 field. His nearest competitor was John Carey, of Shippensburg, Pa., who shot a 71.

Chris Bushey, who will be a junior at Smithsburg, got off to a good start with a victory in the 14-15 age division, carding an 8-over-par 79.

Aaron Staley, a student at Northern Middle School, won the 12-13 group with a 79.

The Tri-State also presented $1,000 scholarship awards to Ryan Coccagna (Chambersburg), Andrew Duff (Williamsport), Tyler Fairley (North Hagerstown), Derek McGwin (Chambersburg), Chad Benford (Walkersville) and Dustin Starliper (Williamsport).

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