At daybreak Thursday on the Augusta National practice range,
As he prepared for his 7:45 a.m. EDT tee time at the
So Hoffman made his boldest approach — a request to Nicklaus and Palmer for autographs and an exchange that put him at ease.
"My mind wasn't really on golf," he said.
That wasn't the 38-year-old's only pinch-me moment Thursday. He followed the exchange with Nicklaus and Palmer with a five-under-par 67 that established him as the early leader … until Jordan Spieth caught fire in the afternoon.
Hoffman played the final four holes in four under and will start the second round in a four-way tie for second.
The autographs he procured, he said, will be auctioned off at an event for his foundation.
As for whether Hoffman — playing in his second Masters after finishing tied for 27th four years ago — will be able to overcome a lack of Augusta seasoning to remain in contention, he offered a shrug.
"I'm an experienced TV watcher of the Masters," he said.
Another solid effort Friday and Hoffman will have a preferred vantage point for the weekend.
Kevin Streelman is having a fun week.
His alma mater, Duke, cut down the nets after college basketball's national championship game Monday. At a Tuesday dinner to celebrate his victory at last year's
On Wednesday, Streelman won the Masters par-three contest with 13-year-old Ethan Couch on the bag. Streelman connected with Couch, who has an inoperable benign brain tumor, via the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In the first round of the Masters, a beaming Streelman shot what he called a "stress-free" two-under 70.
"I played awesome," he said. "Don't think I had a par putt over three or four feet."