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Start of 4 birdies from 5 holes gives Hoffman Heritage lead

HILTON HEAD ISLAND--Charley Hoffman had four birdies his first five holes en route to a 5-under 66 at the RBC Heritage on Saturday, taking a two-stroke lead at 11-under over U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

Hoffman struggled in his first two appearances at this tournament but last year he discovered a new appreciation for Harbour Town Golf Links and is now closing in on his third PGA Tour victory.

“I would say I wasn't mature enough to play this golf course,” Hoffman said. “I didn't understand how to play it. I guess I would get frustrated when I hit the fairway and didn't have a shot at the green.”

Hoffman opened play with a 66 on Thursday, moved into a three-way tie for the top Friday and took control with his hot start in the third round.

“It was definitely the best playing round I've had in a long time,” he said.

He'll need to have one more to hold off those chasing him down. Simpson, bidding for his first victory since winning his major at Olympic Club, finished with a bogey-free 65, tying the lowest round of the tournament.

Kevin Streelman shot a 69 and was alone in third at 8 under.

The round started with 91 players making the cut, tying the tour high set in 1981 at the Travelers Championship. Jesper Parnevik moved the cut line Saturday morning to 2 over as he missed a 5-footer to complete his rain-delayed second round and opened the door for 21 players to keep playing.

Brendon de Jonge and Graeme McDowell were tied at 7-under par, four shots off the lead. De Jonge shot a 67, and McDowell had a 68.

The last of Hoffman's two career PGA Tour victories came at the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship. And early on, he threatened to turn the RBC Heritage into a runaway.

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Charley Hoffman checks his golf ball during the third round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on Saturday, April 20. (AFP)

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