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Hoffman prevails in playoff

September 06, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

Nestled within the split bark of the lone tree behind the eighth green at Black Rock Golf Course is a small memoir dedicated to Sonny Meyers, a simple, golf-loving Hagerstown resident who died in 1999.

On a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon, Meyers might have been looking down on Alex Hoffman. In a way, Joseph was still on the golf course.

Hoffman and Kevin Reiber were on the first hole of what became a five-hole playoff before Hoffman rolled in a birdie putt to claim the Coors Light Amateur Championship, his second title in three years.

Hoffman, the first-round leader after a 5-under 67, ended with a 74 on Sunday for a two-day total of 1-under 141. Reiber had a 1-under 71 on Sunday after his 70 on Saturday.

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The first playoff trip through the eighth hole, the first of the playoff, could have done in Hoffman, who airmailed the green. His golf ball bounced toward and into the tree but hit the sign commemorating Meyers and bounced far enough back toward the hole that Hoffman had a chance to get up and down for par.

He did, matching Reiber's par after he missed a makeable 10-footer for birdie.

"I had a good lie and just wanted to land it on the fringe and let it get there," said Hoffman. "The stance wasn't the worst."

He had another altercation with trees on the ninth hole -- the second of the playoff -- after his drive nestled within a foot, leaving Hoffman with a imaginatively creative shot just to return to play.

"Choked down on a 3-wood just to get on the ball," he said.

Reiber's approach to the green left him 30 feet away and looking at a birdie try, while Hoffman's approach went sailing off the green to the right and on top of a knoll.

It looked like lights out, but Hoffman came through with a spectacular pitch that circled the pin and dropped, saving par and matching Reiber's par.

"I've done that and I saw it against me today," said Reiber.

Hoffman said he thought the playoff might be over, but fought within himself.

"It was a little stressful, but I had a good, fluffy lie," he said. "I got the ball to spin and hold the roll."

Pars were the norm for each of the next two holes, repeating the trip through Nos. 8 and 9. The fifth playoff hole was the par-5 first, easily reachable for both players.

Hoffman parked a 150-yard 8-iron about 22 feet from the pin on his second shot, while Reiber -- who eagled No. 1 to begin his day -- found the bunker in front of the green.

Reiber, a former Waynesboro High School star, missed a short birdie putt and then watched Hoffman tap in for a birdie and the title.

"I played well, hit the ball well and just didn't make any putts," said Reiber. "I should have birdied the first playoff hole. We both played well in the playoff."

The 17-year-old Hoffman, a senior at Middletown (Md.) High School, won the first Coors Light title in 2007 and just missed last year when Ken Lampard birdied the 18th hole to win.

Dick Roulette was the low Washington County amateur golfer with a 1-over 143 after struggling with a 75 in the second round. Stephen Miguel (155) won the first flight, Art Cline (164) took the second flight and Mark Hershman (185) won the third flight.

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