|Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - May 24, 2010
CROWNE PLAZA INVITATIONAL
Colonial Country Club
Fort Worth, TX
Par: 35-35—70 Yards: 7,054
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,200,000 Winner: $1,116,000
2009 Champion: Steve Stricker (263, -17)
Stricker Returns from Injury to Defend at Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
Venerable Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, TX, again hosts the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, with Steve Stricker defending this week.
Stricker’s appearance is notable because the Wisconsin native hasn’t played since the Masters Tournament while rehabilitating an injured clavicle. Prior to his injury, Stricker was having another strong season, winning the Northern Trust Open and picking up three other top-10 finishes, including a third-place showing at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He has yet to miss a cut in 2010 in eight starts. Stricker has won seven tournaments since joining the TOUR in 1993, with four of his wins coming since 2007.
Last year in Fort Worth, Stricker came from two strokes off the pace in the final round to force a playoff against Tim Clark. Stricker picked up his first of three 2009 wins when he defeated Clark on the second playoff hole.
This event, which counts World Golf Hall of Famers Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Julius Boros, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus, among others, on its list of champions, will have many past winners competing this week. Besides Stricker, two-time Colonial champions Phil Mickelson (2000 and 2008) and Kenny Perry (2003 and 2005), Rory Sabbatini (2007), Tim Herron (2006) and Corey Pavin (1996) will be competing.
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Notes
Justin Leonard, a Dallas, TX, native and resident, has never missed a cut at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in 16 career starts. Career highlights at the famed layout include 10 top-25 finishes in 16 starts, including five top-10 showings. Leonard owns sub-par career scoring averages for all four rounds at Colonial, including identical 68.75 averages in the second and third rounds. Leonard posted a career-low 61 in the final round in 2003 on his way to a runner-up finish.
Two-time winner Kenny Perry (2003 and 2005) is making his 21st start at Colonial, with 18 made cuts, four top-10 finishes and seven top-25s on his resume. He posted his career-low round—a tournament-record tying 61 at the 2003 event. His 19-under 261 is also the 72-hole record, first set in 2003 and matched in 2005. He is the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial’s all-time leading money-winner.
Tim Clark will be making his first start since winning THE PLAYERS Championship, where he broke a string of 205 professional starts without a victory. At TPC Sawgrass, Clark posted a closing 67 to win by one stroke over Robert Allenby. Clark will be playing the Crowne Plaza Invitational for the seventh time, posting back-to-back ties for second in 2008 and 2009.
Phil Mickelson birdied the final hole to card a 2-under 68 to capture the 2008 Crowne Plaza Invitational by one stroke over Rod Pampling and recent PLAYERS champion Tim Clark.
Electing to have five wedges in his bag at Colonial in 2008, the decision paid off as he tied for first in sand saves and tied for fifth in greens hit in regulation. He was sixth in approaches from 50 to 75 yards. Mickelson has made 11 cuts in 13 Colonial starts, with three other top-10 finishes to go with his victory.
Colonial Country Club shows its teeth over holes 3 through 5 known as the “Horrible Horseshoe.” The three holes are in the tradition of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass (holes 16-18 at THE PLAYERS Championship), the “Green Mile” at Quail Hollow Club (holes 16-18 at the Quail Hollow Championship) and PGA National’s Champion Course’s “Bear Trap” (holes 15-17 at The Honda Classic).
Every year, past champions of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial select two deserving players to compete in the event, who otherwise would not have been eligible. It’s a unique TOUR tradition known as the Champions’ Choice invitation. Pros who made their first start at Colonial as a Champions’ Choice include Tom Weiskopf, Craig Stadler, Curtis Strange, Mark O’Meara, Paul Azinger and Davis Love III. Dave Stockton won the event as a Champions Choice in 1967, and five other choices have eventually won the event during their careers. This year’s recipients are Josh Teater and Chris Tidland.
• Phil Mickelson (Rancho Santa Fe, CA/Arizona State) returns to action this week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial looking for his third win in the event. Only one player, Ben Hogan, has won this event more than twice. Hogan won it five times.
• Jason Day (Australia) enters this week’s event fresh from his first PGA TOUR win last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Only one player has won both the HP Byron Nelson Championship and Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in the same season — Ben Hogan in 1946. By the way, Day is a member at Colonial CC.
• There’s a strong field assembled in Fort Worth this week, with 22 of the Top 30 in the FedExCup standings on hand.
• The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial has been won by some of the game’s all-time greats. Among the past winners of this event are World Golf Hall of Fame members Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Cary Middlecoff, Roberto de Vincenzo, Tommy Bolt, Julius Boros, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Gene Littler, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Price and Tom Watson.
• The last native Texan to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial was Ben Crenshaw (Austin, TX/Texas) in 1990.
• There have been playoffs at this event in three of the last four years and the fourth year saw a one-stroke margin of victory.
• When Jason Day won last week in Dallas and Adam Scott the week before at the Valero Texas Open, it marked the first time that Aussies had won back-to-back events on TOUR since Aaron Baddeley and Stuart Appleby won the Verizon Heritage and Shell Houston Open in consecutive weeks in 2006.
• International players have won the last four TOUR events. That’s the longest stretch since a seven-tournament streak in 2008.
• J.J. Henry (Fort Worth, TX/TCU) became the 100th player in TOUR history to top the $10-million mark in career earnings when he finished T32 last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and earned $35,317.
• The field at the season’s first Champions Tour major, the Senior PGA Championship, features 21 players who won majors on the PGA TOUR and 25 who have won Champions Tour majors.
• Fred Couples (LaQuinta, CA/Houston) holds the Charles Schwab Cup lead, but that lead could be threatened this week as double points will be distributed at the Senior PGA Championship.
• 1992 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Mark Carnevale (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) will be the latest player to make his Champions Tour debut when he tees it up this week at the Senior PGA Championship. Carnevale won the 1992 Chattanooga Classic for his only PGA TOUR win.
• The victory last week by Jason Day was the 274th by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR and the 14th this season.
• There was a 16-year old making the cut on the Nationwide Tour last week, too. Grayson Murray, 16 years, 7 months and 20 days old and a high school sophomore, made the cut and finished T55 last week at the Rex Hospital Open.
• When John Riegger (Las Vegas, NV/Lamar) won last week he became the fourth oldest player to win in Nationwide Tour history. Riegger was just three week shy of his 47th birthday when he won. The oldest winner in Tour history was Dick Mast who claimed the 1999 New Mexico Classic at 48 years, 6 months and 17 days old.