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Shotgun Start: Previewing the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial

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Colonial Country Club / Getty Images

It's tournament time! The PGA Tour moves to Fort Worth this week for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club, the second leg of the Texas two-step through the DFW Metroplex. Here's a tournament primer to get you prepared for the week.

The course: One of the most historic courses on the PGA Tour, Colonial hosts the longest running non-major tournament held at one site. The fact that Ben Hogan was a member here tells you everything you need to know about the layout: It's built for solid ball-strikers. At only 7,204 yards, there aren't many holes on the course that require driver off the tee. With only two par-5s, Colonial puts premium on scoring by hitting as many fairways and greens as possible. There's a reason why some of the shorter hitters on tour (Zach Johnson, David Toms, Steve Stricker) have thrived here in the past. Like Harbour Town Golf Links (site of the Heritage), being dialed in with your short irons is critical at Colonial. With tress lining a majority of the holes, getting aggressive is the wrong play. The course has undergone some changes in the last year to toughen up the layout, including adding some well-positioned fairway bunkers to deter golfers from pulling driver and cutting off the dogleg. While they may come in handy during the tournament week, they frustrated Phil Mickelson to the point that the two-time winner pulled out of the tournament and hinted that he might not return in the future. If there's one hole to watch at Colonial, it's par-4 fifth hole. At 481 yards, it requires the most precise drive of the day. Anything left finds a ditch and trees running along the hole; the right side has the Trinity River to contend with. Even a deep poke could leave a long approach to a tricky green. The course ranked as the 22nd-most difficult on tour last year with a stroke average of +0.082 over par.

The schedule: The tournament runs Thursday-Sunday. It'll be broadcast on the Golf Channel from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday; and on CBS from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

The field: Matt Kuchar (No. 5) and Hunter Mahan (6) are the only members of the Official World Golf Ranking top-10 in the field this week. But that doesn't mean the tournament is lacking big names. Rickier Fowler, David Toms (defending champion), Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, Ryo Ishikawa, Louis Oosthuizen and Geoff Ogilvy are also teeing it up at Colonial.

The video: Check out some of the memorable moments from the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial's history.

Your turn. Who are your picks for this week? Swing away!

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