Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
Colonial Country Club
Fort Worth, Texas
Colonial Country Club
Yards: 7,204 as per the scorecard
Par: 70 (35-35)
Rough: Bermudagrass at 3”
Water Hazards: 3
Course Architect: John Bredemus and Perry Maxwell (1936)
Winner’s Share: $1,152,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Zach Johnson outlasted Jason Dufner by one shot for his first of two victories in 2013 and the second of his career at Colonial.
Dates: May 23-26
Notes: Colonial is an invitational field of only 136 golfers. Seventy of these players have won TOUR.
Texas has a very proud golf history and it’s on display again this week as the TOUR moves to the final of four stops in 2013. Last week, the HP Byron Nelson was the ninth-oldest tournament and this week, the CPIC checks in a No. 10.
Colonial Country Club is the longest running site as host course on the PGA TOUR. It has hosted a tournament every year since 1946. Guess who won that year? Remember, any time anyone asks you a golf trivia question that has to do with the state of Texas, you answer Ben Hogan. You will be right over 95% of the time.
Colonial is often referred to as “Hogan’s Alley” as the native son won this event five times in his career.
After Zach Johnson’s second win here last year, he joins 11 other multiple winners in Colonial’s proud history. He joins Kenny Perry, Phil Mickelson, Corey Pavin, Nick Price, Bruce Lietzke, Ben Crenshaw, Al Geiberger, Lee Trevino, Billy Casper, Julius Boros and of course, Ben Hogan.
Sergio Garcia is the only player in the recent past, 2001, to win in his first time out at Colonial. Veterans, baby…
Americans have won nine of the last 10 events at Colonial. Rory Sabbatini in 2007 disrupted the streak.
There are eight former champions in the field this week.
Keith Clearwater 1987
Tom Lehman 1995
Corey Pavin 1985, 1996
Steve Flesch 2004
Tim Herron 2006
Rory Sabbatini 2007
David Toms 2011
Zach Johnson 2010, 2012
In 10 of the 19 stroke-play events this season the 54-hole leader (or co-leader) have gone on to victory. Last week was the SEVENTH week in a row where the 54-hole leader(s) have not held up their end of the bargain as Keegan Bradley couldn’t hold off Sang-Moon Bae.
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods FOUR TIMES (37), Mickelson (42), Snedeker (32), Merrick (30) Kuchar (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32), G-Mac (33), Horschel (26), Ernst (22) and Bae (26). The young folks (30 and younger) now have nine victories; the 30-somethings have 10 victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) have their two wins. Tom Gillis and Angel Cabrera both finished T12. Both are in the field this week again.
Rank and File
This week, as of Monday afternoon, 16 of the top 50 OWGR are teeing it up this week.
Designed by John Bredemus and Perry Maxwell in 1936, Colonial burst onto the scene in 1941 as the first golf club south of the Mason-Dixon Line to host a U.S. Open. Craig Wood was the victor but the man who really put Colonial on the map was none other than Ben Hogan. Hogan won the first two TOUR events on this course (1946, 1947) and in the next 12 years, he racked up three more victories to tally five for his career. Hogan’s Alley was born.
Over the years, Colonial hasn’t changed much from the original design as smallish greens are heavily protected by bunkering and the fairways are tight and tree-lined (HARRIS ENGLISH, BABY). The Bentgrass greens will run true and online as we’ve seen superb putters Johnson, Toms and Stricker claim the last four titles here. If you’re not a premium putter, you better be a lights-out ball-striker as proven by such winners such as Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and Rory Sabbitini have proven.
Colonial has ranked 13th-hardest in 2012; 22nd in 2011; 41st in 2010; 34th in 2009; 25th in 2008. Zach Johnson was as hot as the weather in 2010 when he blazed Colonial it for a tournament record 259 (21-under-par). The worst score fired here in the last 10 years was 268 (12-under-par) and Zach Johnson also shares that accomplishment with Tim Herron.
The winning formula this week will be guys who find fairways and greens and hole a ton of putts. Sound familiar? The trend points to experienced, patient veterans who might sacrifice a few yards of distance for clean lies in the fairway. Bentgrass greens for the second week in a row will be an advantage for the guys who prefer slick, true lines. Colonial is defended by tree-lined fairways, well-bunkered and small greens and most importantly, wind. I’ll keep an eye on players who don’t spray the ball off the tee, play solid iron shots and make plenty of birdies. It took 21 to win last week! If you look at the list of winners here, it’s all guys with multiple trophies on their shelves.
Let see who’s going to factor this week.
Top 10, Plus One
Jim Furyk: He’s made 13 of 17 cuts in the last 18 years and has hit the top 10 an astounding seven times. In 60 rounds here he’s been par or better in 44 of them. His accuracy with his driver and iron play combined with his course experience makes him a no-brainer this week. It’s hard to believe that he hasn’t won here yet. His best finishes are second and T2 and was fourth here last year. Permanent marker.
Charl Schwartzel: Coming off his worst stroke-play finish (T55) at THE PLAYERS since last season’s PGA (T59), Schwartzel wasted no time in getting his house back in order. Sure, he’d never played at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas but that didn’t stop him from smashing GIR and finishing solo third. He hasn’t teed it up at Colonial either but he has plenty of class to win anywhere, anytime. He’s 35 in GIR and 29th in strokes gained-putting.
Kevin Streelman: Making his fifth start at Colonial, there are not many hotter players teeing it up this week. In his last six starts Streelman has finished T2, T6, T3, MC, T21 and win. The only MC there was Augusta so I’m not holding that against him either. He was T10 here two years ago and is 22nd in driving accuracy and 23rd in GIR. Oh, and he’s 19th in strokes gained-putting as well. Did I mention that he’s my one-and-done selection this week? YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Henrik Stenson: It’s hard to look away from the guy who leads the TOUR in total driving and GIR so I won’t! And I won’t look away from a guy who’s also 27th in total putting. There’s no point! He’s played eight events, made six cuts and finished in the top 10 in three of those. His last time out he was T5 at THE PLAYERS.
Marc Leishman: Speaking of guys just on fire, Leishman has been just that so I’m not too concerned with his past rounds at Colonial. He’s banged four top 10s in a row and has played 14 of 16 rounds at par or better. There’s no point in overanalyzing this one, folks. Ride him until he falls over.
Harris English: Steve Stricker’s caddy Jimmy Johnson is on the bag this week again for English. The two must get on just fine because their last outing together was T6 at Zurich. English backed that up with a solid T33 at THE PLAYERS and was cruising along last week at HPBNC before his 74 on Sunday knocked him back to T17. English hits it a ton and that helped him last year to finish T5 in GIR and T5 in the final standings. He enjoys tree-lined courses and he proved that last week and last year. It doesn’t hurt either that Johnson and Stricker won here in 2009.
Matt Kuchar: It’s hard to leave out a guy who’s made 16 cuts in a row so I’m not! It’s not very often that Kuchar throws out three meh starts in a row so I’m not banking on him doing it four straight times! The last time he rattled off three starts outside the top 25 he toughened up at banged a T10 at The TOUR Championship. I understand gamer’s frustrations because Kuchar, as a premium player, premium results are expected. He’s not on any “sleeper” lists…
Fredrik Jacobson: Another week, another week on the main list as the Swede has now made nine cuts in a row in 2013. He knocked off a month’s worth of rust and injury with T48, his worst finish on the weekend this season, with T17 last week at HPBNC. Take the consistency and run.
Chris Kirk: He’s now seen the weekend in 10 straight events and with his short game, it’s not a surprise. At all. Kirk is seventh in strokes gained putting and he’s third in scrambling so that’s his formula for success. He’s also seventh on TOUR in scoring average and he destroys par fours. In his last two starts at Colonial he’s finished T5 last year and T16 in 2011.
Zach Johnson: A site for sore eyes. Johnson returns to Colonial hoping this will be the event to spring his 2013 into action. He showed signs of life as he played three of four rounds at THE PLAYERS under par and finished a season-best T19 (full-field events) his last time out. Johnson absolutely kills Colonial as his worst finish in seven starts is T30. His last four starts are Win, T4, Win and T9. He owns the tournament record as well. If the dam breaks, it’s this week. If he doesn’t fire this week, I will have doubts moving forward as he’s past halfway in his season.
Rickie Fowler: Does anyone keep track of how players do in tournaments where they are the spokesman or endorser? I know GMAC won the RBC and they’re on his bag. Somebody should do a study on this. Anyhow, Fowler is aging like fine Red Bull at this tournament as he’s finished T38, T15 and T5 last year in his only three starts. He’s played nine of 12 rounds at par or better and this course obviously fits his eye. Fowler is also looking to rekindle some magic since he hasn’t fared better than T32 in his last four starts. He’s an excellent driver of the golf ball and his short game is ace.
These guys just missed out
D.A. Points: After an atrocious start to 2013, Points has rattled off seven cuts on the trot that have resulted in a victory, a second, T12 and a T16 last week in Irving. Points has found the best vein of his career as he’s already cashed more this year that his best season of 2011. He’s playing free and loose and the results have followed. WD Monday
Scott Piercy: After five poor results in a row, Piercy was contending on Sunday before his final round 72 knocked him to T5. In his five previous starts his only weekend finish was T54; the rest were spent elsewhere. His length puts him in enough good positions to make birdies (18th on TOUR in birdie-or-better conversion %) and a little bit of confidence can go a long way here. He’s only teed it up here once so that’s what’s holding him back for me this week.
Martin Laird: In two events here in 2010 and 2011 he finished T10. He’s played all eight rounds at par or better and his current form makes him worth a look this week. He won at Valero, MC at Augusta and Quail Hollow before racking up his second consecutive top five (T5) at THE PLAYERS. He’s 12th in total driving and 16th in ball-striking so if he makes anything this week, look out.
Stewart Cink: He’s made 14 starts and hit the top 25 in 10 of them. He’s never missed a cut. He rattled off seven straight weekends before MC at THE PLAYERS.
Tim Clark: In eight starts he’s finished T21 six times including T2 in 2008 and 2009. His record on tight courses is well documented but as usual with him, it’s the putter that makes or breaks.
Bo Van Pelt: Encouraging to see his return to the top 10 (T6) at Wells Fargo but only four of his nine weekends have resulted in top 25s in 2013. He loves Colonial as he’s never missed the cut in nine starts and six of those have resulted in T19 or better.
Graham DeLaet: He’s registered three very solid weeks in a row and is trending in the right direction after finishes of T47 (Zurich), T26 (THE PLAYERS) and T10 last week at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas. The Canadian is third in total driving and second in GIR on TOUR so the tight track should be in his favor this week. He MC here last year but he put four rounds in the 60s here in 2010.
Charley Hoffman: He’s found himself T8 or better in three of his last five starts so Hoffman has definitely found something this spring. Two late bogeys kept him out of the top five last weekend but his putter was in otherwise fine form. He’s made four from four at Colonial, including his best, T13, last season.
Ryan Palmer: His final round 73 on Sunday in 2011 kept him out of the top 15 and a pair of 70s last year on the weekend saw him take T5 so he’s been close here two years in a row. His 73-73 last weekend at HPBNC might have scared some off but I’ll take a look again this week.
Off the Beaten Path
Either “horse-for-course”, guys off the radar or both
David Toms: Another historically excellent player in Hogan’s Alley, the 2011 champion has been cut here in only two of 15 starts, including last year. I’m stretching here as his only finish of 2013 that caught the eye of the fantasy world was a backdoor T13 at the Masters. There’s no question that his accuracy off the tee and course knowledge will be strengths this week.
Pat Perez: He’s made five straight weekends in Ft. Worth and three of those have been in the top 10 so he qualifies. I look for him to bounce back after his MDF and MC in his last two outings. He hits plenty of greens and makes plenty of birdies.
Corey Pavin: In the last 10 years, the wily veteran has made eight cuts and never finishes worse than T31. Oh, and he’s won here twice. He’s excellent for deep drafts this week.
John Huh: He proved last year, in his first start at Colonial, that experience isn’t the only quality needed to post a score here. He’s known for splitting fairways and putting slick greens and he did that to finish T5 last year. Coming off his T8 at HPBNC, I’d say that he’s primed for another great week.
Robert Karlsson: I’ll take a stretch on the big Swede this week. He was T4 on his home course in Charlotte. He fired 64-78 last week to MC. He qualified Monday for The Open Championship. He was T5 in 2011 in his only start here. #Volatility.
Ben Crane: He’s hit the top 10 in two of his last five starts on TOUR and at Colonial. He was T10 last year, T3 in 2010 and T5 in 2008.
Jeff Overton: He’s been on his best run of form in 2013 as he’s made five cuts in a row and his worst finish is T42. He’s second on TOUR in total putting and has a T3 (2010) and T13 (2009) as his best two finishes here in the last four years.
Take It Deep
Ricky Barnes: Three years ago he was T7 at Colonial and he’s coming off his best finish of 2013, T12 last week at HPBNC.
Charlie Wi: In five appearances since the beginning of April, Wi has missed three of five cuts and finished T55 and T71. He’s five out of five at Colonial with a second, T13 and T15 in the last five years but his current form sees him land here.
John Peterson: The 2011 NCAA champion grew up on Colonial and has already pegged a top 10 this season with his T8 at Zurich. He’s playing on a Colonial exemption and should know his way around these parts.
Morgan Hoffmann: Young’uns don’t usually fare well around these parts but the OK STATE rookie has finished T5 and T21 in two of his last three on TOUR and might just not care about where he “should” finish.
Josh Teater: Made a ton of birdies in qualifying for The Open on Monday and hot golf is hot golf. He makes plenty of birdies and his game in general is pretty solid across the board.
These folks have struggled on this track or in general recently.
Jordan Spieth: High-risk, high reward for the Texan but he’s had his worst three starts in his home state, T50, MC and T68. Let someone else have him this week.
Hunter Mahan: One top 10 in nine starts at Colonial. He has three rounds in the 60s in his last 16. I wouldn’t write him completely off this week but I wouldn’t rush him to the front of the line either.
Jason Dufner: Let’s try him in this category to try and jump-start his 2013. I tried him up there last week at a course he won on last year and that didn’t help. His best score on Sunday this year is 70 and that’s the only round that is under par as well.
Chad Campbell: Since his second in 2004, Campbell has missed four of eight cuts and his best finish is T30.
Bob Estes: His last top 25 here was in 2002.
J.J. Henry: One top 25 in 11 starts here.
Rookie of the Week Last Week
I keep an eye on the youngin’s each week to see who is making the most noise.
Sony: Russell Henley WIN
Humana: David Lingmerth P2
Farmers: Brad Fritsch T9
WMPO: James Hahn T16
AT&T: James Hahn T3
NTO: Luke Guthrie T21
WGC-Match Play: Russell Henley 2nd round
Honda: Luke Guthrie 3rd
WGC-Cadillac: Russell Henley T28
Puerto Rico: Jordan Spieth 2nd
Tampa Bay: Jordan Spieth T7; Shawn Stefani T7; Ben Kohles T7
Arnold Palmer: Ben Kohles T14
Shell Houston Open: Robert Streb T22
Valero Texas Open: Ben Kohles T37
Masters: Russell Henley MC
RBC Heritage: Russell Henley T6
Zurich Classic: D. H. Lee T8
Wells Fargo Championship: Derek Ernst WIN
THE PLAYERS: David Lingmerth. Great back-to-back weeks for the rookies on TOUR!
HPBNC: Morgan Hoffmann T5
SEASON TOTAL: $2,605,688
HTOC: Steve Stricker (2nd; $665,000)
Sony: Charles Howell III (T3; $324,800)
Humana: Tim Clark (MC)
Farmers: Rickie Fowler (T6; $204,350)
WMPO: Jason Dufner (MC)
AT&T Pebble: Hunter Mahan (T16; $94,250)
Northern Trust: Bill Haas (T3; $343,200)
WGC-Match Play: Charl Schwartzel (T33; $46,000)
Honda: Lee Westwood (T9; $156,000)
WGC-Cadillac Championship: Matt Kuchar (T35; $68,500)
Tampa Bay: Jim Furyk (T7; $148,892)
Bay Hill: Sergio Garcia (WD after three rounds)
Shell Houston: Jimmy Walker (T50; $14,838)
Valero: Cameron Tringale (MC)
Masters: Phil Mickelson (T54; $18,320)
RBC Heritage: Luke Donald (T3; $336,400)
Zurich Classic: Bubba Watson (T15; $102,500)
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson (T32; $37,073)
THE PLAYERS: Nick Watney (MC)
HPBNC: Jason Day (T27; $46,565)
Colonial: Kevin Streelman
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Challenge
Wells Fargo Classic
(I play as “Glass” for ALL fantasy games)
Mike Glasscott (Rank: 2,796; $12,722,840)
Group 1: Jim Furyk
Group 2: Tim Clark
Group 3: Harris English
Group 4: John Peterson
Ryan O’Sullivan (Rank: 7,894; $10,980,051)
Group 1: Charl Schwartzel
Group 2: Chris Kirk
Group 3: Harris English
Group 4: Richard H. Lee
Ned Brown (Rank: 3,118; $12,579,899) “Pure Spin”
Group 1: Zach Johnson
Group 2: Martin Laird
Group 3: Harris English
Group 4: Camilo Villegas
Rob Bolton (Rank: 8,830; $10,740,060)
Group 1: Kevin Streelman
Group 2: Chris Kirk
Group 3: Harris English
Group 4: John Peterson
BMW PGA Championship
7,302 yards Par 72 (35-37)
Virginia Water, Surrey, England
They should rename this tournament the Luke Donald Championship as the Englishman has won the last two events and was T2 three years ago after a triple bogey ruined his chances at victory. Located 20 miles west of London, Wentworth puts on the biggest show of the European Tour season and all the heavy hitters are present, including most of those who play in the U.S. full time. This tree-lined masterpiece was developed by Harry Colt in 1926 and was redesigned by Ernie Els and his group in 2006, 2009 and 2010. If the tree-lined fairways weren’t enough of a challenge, Els redid all the green complexes in 2009-2010 and deepened the bunkers, amongst other changes that were not so popular among his fellow professionals. Over the next two years, Els and his team toned down the changes and returned the course to a stern, but fair, test of golf. If dealing with all of that is not enough, a steady breeze is possible of blowing throughout the week to keep even the best players in the world off balance. Luke Donald has finished T2, WIN and WIN last year since these renovations and is my choice as favorite this week.
Group 1: Luke Donald
Group 2: Martin Kaymer
Group 3: Peter Uihlein
Group 4: Matthew Baldwin
Group 1: Justin Rose
Group 2: Francesco Molinari
Group 3: Peter Lawrie
Group 4: James Morrison
Group 1: Luke Donald
Group 2: Branden Grace
Group 3: David Horsey
Group 4: Robert-Jan Derksen
Group 1: Luke Donald
Group 2: Martin Kaymer
Group 3: Victor Dubuisson
Group 4: S.S.P. Chowrasia
Ned said, “…
Ned Brown is a long-time contributor for Rotoworld Golf. He’s had documented success in Yahoo!’s game for years. Even if you’re confident in your selections for that game, give his insight a read. Ned also provides us with his GolfChannel.com Fantasy Challenge selections as well!
Martin Laird-- He won the VTO last month and looked good last time out at THE PLAYERS where he tied for fifth place. His record at Colonial is solid with T10 finishes in '10 and '11.
Tim Clark-- It's a tough call in this spot between Tim Clark and Chris Kirk. I'm going with Clark because he has a pair of second place results at Colonial.
Chris Kirk, Brendon de Jonge
Zach Johnson-- Johnson showed life last time out in his T19 finish at THE PLAYERS. His recent record at Colonial is outstanding, with a fourth place in '11 and championships in '10 and last year.
Jim Furyk-- He disappointed last time out with a missed cut at THE PLAYERS. I'm looking for him to rebound this week on a course where he has seven top 10 finishes in 17 career starts.
Bo Van Pelt-- Van Pelt played well at the Wells Fargo, where he tied for sixth place, and has had some recent success at Colonial with a T10 in '10, a third in '11 and a T19 last year.
Matt Kuchar-- One of the keys in the Yahoo! game is to use players that will make the weekend cut. Kuchar has made all 12 of his cuts this year, and while he has been quiet recently, I think he has to be on the roster this week.
Fredrik Jacobson, Charlie Hoffman, Graham DeLaet , Marc Leishman, Hunter Mahan
Kevin Streelman-- He is one of the hottest players on the TOUR right now with a T3 at the Heritage, a T6 at the Wells Fargo and a T2 at THE PLAYERS.
Henrik Stenson-- I think this spot is a coin flip between Henrik Stenson and Charl Schwartzel. I actually prefer Schwartzel, who is coming off a third place at the Byron Nelson, but I down to five starts on him. Instead I'll use Stenson, who looked impressive at THE PLAYERS in his fifth place finish.
Charl Schwartzel, Rickie Fowler, Harris English, John Huh
Points last week: 136
Points this year: 3,308
Overall Ranking: (281; 99th percentile)
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat WEDNESDAY at NOON ET. We will be breaking down the field at the CPIC and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/GlassWGCL) on Twitter.