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Morgan Hoffmann Leads The Way For Former Cowboys At Arnold Palmer Invitational

Morgan Hoffmann came up just short of his first PGA Tour victory this weekend at Bay Hill, but he provided some great entertainment for a fanbase that needed something to cheer for after an early exit from the NCAA Tournament.

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

I have to start by apologizing for not posting a preview for this tournament, although in hindsight I think it was for the better.  My preview would've included outrageous predictions that would've just put a big jinx on our players like every other week.  Case in point: This week every Cowboy in the field made the cut...I make that prediction every week and it hadn't happened yet until the temporary leave of absence I took this week.

Now that that's out of the way...did you see the tournament this weekend??  You couldn't have asked for much more as an OSU fan.  We were 4/4 (Fowler, Hoffmann, Howell, Mahan) making the cut, three Pokes finished in the top-30, and Morgan held the 36-hole lead and was still in position to grab his first PGA Tour victory late Sunday.  That's a successful tournament in my book, and it comes at a good time with The Masters just around the corner.

When I tuned in to watch on Saturday, I put the TV on mute and turned on some music to avoid listening to Johnny Miller's nonsense.  Morgan was leading, and I wasn't ready to listen to Johnny talk about his nerves for the next four hours.  I gave him a chance later in the day, but it became unbearable in less than five minutes and the music was back on.  When the dust settled Saturday, Morgan signed for a one-under 71 and was still within striking distance going into Sunday.  On Sunday it was looking like he would be shaking Arnie's hand on the 18th later that day after making five birdies in his first eight holes.  But things cooled off for him on the back nine, and he finished the day with another round of 71.  While I was pulling hard for Morgan to run away with it after two stellar rounds (66, 65) to start the tournament, he still had a solid week finishing fourth.  This week Morgan just gave us all a little glimpse of what he's capable of, and I think tournaments like this will become the norm for him in the coming weeks.

With all the excitement and entertainment Hoff was providing, the other Cowboys in the field didn't get as much attention as they normally would.  Mr. Reliable, Charles Howell III, made yet another cut (his ninth in a row) after firing rounds of 71 and 68 the first two days.  He finished the week off with two more good rounds of 70 and 71 and ended up tied for 21st for the week.  The next highest Cowboy finisher was Rickie Fowler.  His week was solid by most of our standards, but you could tell he was frustrated about what could have been after chipping in for birdie on 18 on Sunday.  It was his 18th birdie of the tournament, but he had a few more bogeys than he would have liked and finished at 7-under and in a tie for 29th for the tournament.  His game is there right now, and he could be poised for another exciting run at The Masters in a couple of weeks.  The final Cowboy in the field, Hunter Mahan, had an up and down week.  He started off well with a 68 on Thursday, but he fell back a little after a 74 on Friday.  He bounced back Saturday with a 69 but fell back again on Sunday with a 75.  Hunter finished the week tied for 57th.

Overall it was a successful tournament for the former Pokes.  Any time they're all cashing a check on Sunday is a good week.

Next up is the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.