Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mind over Matter

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mind over Matter

Article excerpt

Morgan Hoffmann removed the weight of great expectations from his shoulders and his success has soared in his rookie season on the PGA Tour.

The Wyckoff native has posted four consecutive top-25 finishes, and that's given him greater peace of mind and all but guaranteed a berth in this year's FedEx Cup playoffs and a coveted Tour card for next year.

"I'm very pleased with the results," said an upbeat Hoffmann, 23, who this week competes at the Canadian Open in Ontario. "And I know I'm going to get better as the season goes on."

Hoffmann knew he needed to get better after failing to make the cut at last month's U.S. Open. The former star at Ramapo High and Oklahoma State had made a change in his game, but realized it wasn't his game that needed changing.

"I worked for seven years on my swing with my coach, and it's not my swing, or my chipping, or my putting," Hoffmann said. "It's my mind-set, for sure."

So Hoffmann sought to recapture the fun and success he enjoyed last fall on the Web.com Tour, when he rallied down the stretch to crack the top 25 in official earnings and secured a PGA Tour card.

"At the beginning of the year, I put a lot of pressure on myself and I had very high expectations," Hoffmann said. "And I've kind of gone back to the mentality I had at the end of last year during the Web.com when I played well: Just play the course as if it was my home course and have fun and trust my ability."

His results have been eye-popping. He tied for ninth at the Travelers Championship, eighth at the AT&T National, 23rd at the Greenbrier Classic and 15th at the John Deere Classic. Along the way, he earned $458,500, climbing the Tour's official earnings list from 121 to 81. The top 125 retain Tour cards.

"Probably my biggest goal this year is to keep my card," Hoffmann said. "And at the beginning of the year, as I said, I put so much pressure on myself, and that was kind of my main focus, to keep the card. And I needed to forget that to play well. And it was really nice to basically lock that up in the last few weeks. …

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