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Hoffman beats Rollins in playoff to win Bob Hope

THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. -- Charley Hoffman was the last man
standing on a wind-swept day in the desert.

At the end of a long, gusty Sunday in the weather-plagued Bob
Hope Chrysler Classic, Hoffman won his first PGA Tour title by
ramming in a 4-foot birdie putt to beat John Rollins on the first
playoff hole.

"Definitely the survivor. It was brutal out there, probably the
hardest conditions I've played in, for sure," Hoffman said after
playing 91 holes over a five-day stretch.

The 30-year-old Hoffman birdied No. 17, eagled the 18th in
regulation, then birdied the 18th in the playoff. He closed with a
1-under 71 on The Classic Club course to match Rollins (73) at
17-under 343.

Others had their problems on a day when the wind gusted to 40
mph. Phil Mickelson hit three balls into the water in a three-hole
stretch. With two double bogeys, five bogeys and three birdies on
his card, the two-time Masters champion, 2005 PGA winner and
two-time Hope winner finished with a 78 that left him tied for 45th
at 7 under.

Rollins tied Hoffman with a birdie on the final hole of
regulation, then his shot into a fairway bunker on the extra hole
cost him.

His third shot left him 30 feet from the pin, with Hoffman 37
feet away in two. Hoffman lagged up short, Rollins' try for birdie
was left of the cup, then Hoffman sank his to end it.

Although the wind calmed a bit late in the day, it made club
selection a guessing game and merely standing over putts a
challenge for most of the round. Players' pant legs whipped back
and forth and they tried to steady themselves, and sometimes the
gusts even rocked the ball on the green.

The wind churned the small lakes around the course, stirred up
grit from the adjacent desert and sent it swirling over much of the
course.

Asked if he had ever played in similar conditions, Hoffman
grinned and said, "Usually I go inside when it's blowing this
hard."

Rollins, who spent some 6 hours, 20 minutes on the course during
the final round, said, "It feels like we played 36 today. It seems
forever ago that we teed off."

The players spent a lot of time setting up for shots, then
backing off.

"You're standing over putts and the wind is blowing and you're
worried about the ball moving, or you're not quite steady over a
shot," Rollins said. "Or you doubt your yardage or what kind of
club you're going to use. So you just take your time and make sure
you're hitting the right shot, and you just have to back off."

Hoffman, in the next-to-last group, put the pressure on when he
hit his second shot within 11 feet of the pin on the par-5,
564-yard 18th, then rolled in the putt for an eagle to take the
lead.

With Hoffman waiting and watching, Rollins, in the last
threesome with Justin Rose and Lucas Glover, missed a long try for
eagle but made the short birdie putt to tie.

Rose, meanwhile, hit into a bunker off the tee on 18, then ran a
long birdie try past the cup before sinking the par putt that left
him at 16 under and a shot behind. The Englishman, tied with Glover
at the top heading into the final 18 holes, was shaky on the greens
and finished with a 76.

He thought the round should have been called because of the
wind. He said the forecast had predicted 15-mph winds.

"But when it blows 40, it's a whole different kettle of fish.
It becomes survival more than anything," Rose said after his
finish left him still looking for his first tour win.

Jeff Quinney, whose ace on the 176-yard 17th put him at 15
under, finished with a 73 to tie for fourth with Heath Slocum (72).
Glover had an 80 that dropped him into a tie for 13th.

Mickelson wasn't discouraged despite his high score.

"The bright thing was that I drove the ball very well the last
three days, and I was very pleased about it," he said, alluding to
his problems off the tee late last year.

"This isn't really a barometer to see where your game is, so I
won't really know until next week."

On the ninth green, Mickelson's cap blew off, sailed off the
green and rapidly tumbled end over end for some 20 yards down a
bank, finally chased down by a photographer.

Weather for the tournament in the desert resort area usually is
sunny and mild, but this year's Hope had the start of play delayed
by a half-hour to an hour two days because of frost on the courses,
and Friday's round was cold and wind-blown, with temperatures
dipping into the 40s.

Divots
The relatively easy desert courses usually yield extremely
low scores, but the conditions changed that. The Hope record total
is 324 by Joe Durant in 2001. ... The 17-under winning total was
least under par for the tournament since Steve Jones also won at 17
under in 1989.