Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Drive Time

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Drive Time

Article excerpt

CROMWELL, Conn. -- Just one year ago, his name appeared on the leaderboard of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach alongside the world's top golfers.

But starting this week, Morgan Hoffmann will try to climb leaderboards on a weekly basis.

The Wyckoff native said Tuesday he will forgo his final season of eligibility at Oklahoma State to pursue life on the PGA Tour.

"It's been a dream all my life, and now I'm out here with the guys that you just looked up to your whole life," Hoffmann said while on the practice range of the TPC River Highlands, the site of the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship this weekend.

"It's awesome. I just got out of school and finished up Nationals. [TPC] is a great course and a great setting, and I'm just excited to get out there and start going."

Hoffmann makes his debut today, teeing off at 2:01 p.m. in a group with Kyle Stanley and David Hearn. The former Ramapo High School star joins a slew of talented players - David Duval, Stewart Cink and Justin Leonard - who made their professional debuts in what was once called the Greater Hartford Open.

Travelers tournament director Nathan Grube extended exemptions to Hoffmann and his college teammate Kevin Tway, a senior, who also is turning pro.

Hoffmann said he loves the layout and played 27 holes Tuesday. He'd been hoping to play in this tournament for the past few years.

"It's perfect, only about two hours from home," he said while hitting balls next to Webb Simpson. "I've got a bunch of friends coming up; my mom, my dad, my girlfriend, so it should be a fun weekend."

It'll be off to Illinois for the John Deere Classic on July 7 after the Travelers. Hoffmann is hoping to earn more sponsor exemptions for the rest of the PGA Tour season. If he makes the top 125 on the money list, he'll earn a card for next year. If he doesn't, it'll be off to Q-School to try to earn a card for next season. …

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