The PGA Tour remains in the Lone Star State for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
The Colonial has had its share of exciting finishes as in the last six years, with three decided by a sudden death playoff with two others decided by just one stroke. Don't be surprised to see another close finish this year.
Colonial Country Club has hosted this event since the tournament’s inception in 1946, making it the second oldest PGA Tour event still being played at its original site. Colonial remains a shotmaker's course. A long drive is nice, but to win Colonial, a golfer must have a skillful touch on his approach and on the greens. Ben Hogan, who is memorialized all over Colonial, once said “a straight ball will get you in more trouble at Colonial than any course I know.”
After the first two holes, the Colonial jumps into a three-hole stretch referred to as the “Horrible Horseshoe,” the three most difficult holes on the golf course that are shaped like a horseshoe. After this, the track lightens up and players can go low. Over the last six years, the winner has achieved -12 or better with the four-day record being -21. Last year it was ranked 22nd out of 51 in difficulty which was actually harder than normal as the field averaged just over par.
Given the fact that there is a two-week break between the Players and the Colonial, the field this week is pretty strong. Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan are the only top 10 players from the OWGR playing this week as well as five of the top nine money leaders.
In addition, six past champions of the Colonial since 2001 will be back. Defending champion David Toms (+2,500) was very impressive last year. After losing in a playoff to K.J. Choi at the Players, he bounced back the following week to win by a stroke over Charlie Wi. He has seven top 20s in his career at Colonial.
Zach Johnson (+1,500) is one of four co-favorites this week and he looks to be the best of the bunch. He has not missed a cut this season and has logged three tops 10s including two runner-ups over his last three starts. He won here two years ago with all four rounds being a 66 or better during the weekend. He followed that up with a solo fourth last year and has 12 straight sub-70 rounds at Colonial.
Bo Van Pelt (+2,500) is having an outstanding season even though he is just 33rd on the money list. He had last week off following his T7 at the Players, which was his fifth top 10 in 10 stroke play events. The T7 was his best finish of the year but he has fared very well at Colonial with finishes of solo third last year and a T10 in 2010.
Sergio Garcia (+3,000) has not played here much but he is a past champion (2001) - his first ever PGA Tour win. He is coming off a disappointing Players but it was his sixth made cut in six medal play events. He headed back home last week and finished in a tie for fifth in the Volvo Match Play Championship, so he is coming into this week in good form.
For a longshot we will go with Brian Gay (+6,000). He has missed only three cuts all season and has two 10s including a T4 at the Valero Texas Open. His last three starts have been below average but he has cashed each of the last four years at Colonial including a T10 in 2008. His game sets up very well as he is accurate and is one of the best scramblers on tour.Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (all for one unit)
David Toms (+2,500)
Zach Johnson (+1,500)
Bo Van Pelt (+2,500)
Sergio Garcia (+3,000)
Brian Gay (+6,000)
Record to date after 19 events: +43.1 Units
Sony Open -5 Units
Humana Challenge -6 Units
Farmers Insurance Open +22 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open -5 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -5 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
Accenture Match Play +7.1 Units
Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Transitions Championship +6 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -4 Units
Shell Houston Open +16 Units
The Masters -6 Units
RBC Heritage -5 Units
Valero Texas Open -4 Units
Zurich Classic of New Orleans +21 Units
Wells Fargo Championship +36 Units
THE PLAYERS Championship -5 Units
HP Byron Nelson Championship -5 Units