Charley Hoffman, already off to a blazing start this season, fired a bogey-free 5-under 67 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead at the Valero Open in San Antonio.
Hoffman won at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba during the early season in November, and added a second-place finish at the Humana Challenge in January. He missed the cut two weeks ago at Valspar.
He got out of the gate quickly on Thursday with two birdies in his first three holes to hold a one-stroke lead over Australia’s Aaron Baddeley. More eyes were on the man tied for fourth at 2-under, five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson, off to his best start of the 2015 season.
One-over through 12 holes, Mickelson recorded birdies on 14, 17, and 18 to charge up the crowd and move within three strokes of the lead.
One stroke behind Mickelson are both Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker with 71s. Spieth, who played a year of college at the University of Texas, about 60 miles away in Austin, was 2-over at the turn, then eagled the par-5 No. 14 and added a birdie on 17.