April 6, 2017 - 9:23 pm
Updated April 6, 2017 - 11:42 pm
Charley Hoffman cut off the party in the back of his trademark mullet a few years ago, leaving the business in the front.
The former UNLV golfer was all business at Augusta National Golf Course on Thursday, firing a spectacular 7-under 65 in blustery conditions to take a four-shot lead in one of the best opening rounds in Masters history.
Hoffman — one of two players to break 70, along with William McGirt (69) — closed at 125-1 odds to win the Masters after opening at 150-1 odds in August.
“He played just unbelievably. To do what he did in those type of conditions, he was almost 10 shots better than the field,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “It was just a special round for him.”
A Las Vegas resident and member of the Rebels’ 1998 national title team, Hoffman has some support in futures bets. One CG Technology bettor has a $100 ticket at 150-1 odds that would pay $15,000, one Boyd Gaming bettor wagered $100 at 125-1 ($12,500), and another bet $100 at 100-1 ($10,000).
Most books adjusted the odds to win the Masters on Thursday night. Hoffman is the 13-2 second choice at the Westgate behind Rory McIlroy, the 11-2 favorite after shooting par 72.
“It’s still so early,” Sherman said. “You see all the time in golf guys with three- or four-shot leads after the third round and they don’t finish the job. He’s in a great position, but there’s still such a long way to go.”
The day started with tears shed for Arnold Palmer in an emotional tribute in the honorary starters ceremony.
A few hours later, Masters favorite Dustin Johnson walked off the first tee and withdrew from the tournament because of a back injury he suffered in a fall down some stairs at his rental home.
Wynn sports book director Johnny Avello wasn’t surprised.
“If you’ve got plans to do something and you fall down the stairs, most likely your plans are canceled,” he said.
Depending on where Johnson backers placed their futures bets, they either received a refund (at the Wynn, Westgate and South Point) or lost their money (at Boyd, CG Technology, William Hill, MGM Resorts and Caesars). All books refunded wagers on matchups and props involving Johnson, who generated more money and tickets than any other golfer.
Some house rules note that the golfer “must start tournament for action,” while others stipulate “all bets are action” regardless of whether the golfer plays. Several bookmakers said this rule is in place because when the favorite drops out, it affects the odds on all the other golfers in the field.
“That’s why a lot of guys do action, because everyone else that didn’t have Johnson gets value on their bet,” Avello said. “But for me at Wynn, it’s best to refund the money because three or four months down the road people are going to be coming in with tickets expecting a refund or mailing it in. It’s not worth the aggravation.”
McIlroy, who closed as the 7-1 second choice, was at 3 over before recording three straight birdies on the back nine to get back to even.
“If he can shoot a few under (Friday), he’ll be in great position going into the weekend,” Sherman said.
Jordan Spieth, who went off as the 13-2 favorite after Johnson’s injury, took a quadruple-bogey for the second straight round at the Masters en route to a 3-over 75.
“It was shocking to see that,” Sherman said.
Justin Rose (1 under) is 9-1, while Spieth is in a quintet at adjusted odds of 15-1 with Lee Westwood (2 under), Phil Mickelson (1 under), Sergio Garcia (1 under) and Rickie Fowler (1 over).
“Westwood’s a great player. He just can’t win a tournament. He doesn’t play well on the last day,” Avello said. “Sergio Garcia, he definitely can’t finish a tournament. At least he hasn’t in my lifetime.
“Justin Rose, he’s a scary one. He’s a good, solid player. He’s in the hunt after Day One.”
Russell Henley was one of 11 players to break par at 1-under 71. CG Technology sports book director Jason Simbal said he took a $400 bet on Henley at 250-1 odds that would pay $100,000.
Simbal also took a $100 wager on Westwood at 80-1 odds that would pay $8,000, and a $5 bet on McGirt at 300-1 that would pay $1,500.
Hoffman opened the 2015 Masters with rounds of 67 and 68 before settling for ninth place. He said he cut off his long blond locks because his hair had stopped growing on top and it wasn’t that great a look. With or without a mullet, a green jacket is a great look for any golfer.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.
Adjusted odds to win the Masters
Courtesy of Westgate sports book
Rory McIlroy 11-2
Charley Hoffman 13-2
Justin Rose 9-1
Jordan Spieth 15-1
Rickie Fowler 15-1
Lee Westwood 15-1
Sergio Garcia 15-1
Phil Mickelson 15-1
Jason Day 20-1
Jon Rahm 20-1
Russell Henley 25-1
William McGirt 25-1
Paul Casey 25-1
Jason Dufner 30-1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 30-1
Justin Thomas 30-1
Marc Leishman 35-1
Matt Kuchar 35-1
Thomas Pieters 40-1
Shane Lowry 50-1
Adam Scott 60-1
Bubba Watson 60-1
Soren Kjeldsen 60-1
Kevin Chappell 60-1
Andy Sullivan 80-1
Brandt Snedeker 80-1
Danny Willett 80-1
Hideki Matsuyama 80-1