Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider
As it concerns the migratory element of the PGA TOUR, the jaunt from last week's HP Byron Nelson Championship to this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is a mere 31 miles. And that's from behind the wheel. The crow can fly it in under 20. That makes this transition the shortest on the schedule, an ironic juxtaposition given the long histories of both tournaments.
Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth is commonly and affectionately labeled as Hogan's Alley because Ben Hogan was a five-time champion. He set the tone right out of the gate, winning the first two in 1946 and 1947. He added titles in 1952, 1953 and 1959. All 65 editions have been contested on the John Bredemus-Perry Maxwell collaboration, which has always played to a par of 70. It has also hosted the 1941 U.S. Open and THE PLAYERS Championship in 1975.
Last year's scoring average landed at 71.129, highest at the event since 2002, but it was wind-aided as breezes were sustained at 20-25 mph throughout the week. Par-3 scoring (3.13) and par-4 scoring (4.11) averaged their highest splits in recent years as well, but par-5 scoring (4.67) remained steady. Similar to last week's test at TPC Four Seasons, the field will want to capitalize on the par 5s -- Nos. 1 and 11 at Colonial.
Capable of stretching to 7,204 yards (since 2009), Colonial rewards ball-strikers and those with experience on the track. Since Sergio Garcia broke through for his first PGA TOUR victory in what was his debut at Colonial in 2001 -- he's the most recent first-time winner here -- the average number of starts before emerging with the larger-than-life trophy is 8.22. Of the lot, Zach Johnson (four starts) made the fewest trips before the first of two wins in 2010. Kenny Perry (2003) and David Toms (2011) shared the longest wait, both finally sealing the deal in their 14th appearance. Even Nick Price, who won the second of his two titles at Colonial in 2002, made 10 starts before his first victory in 1994.
Adhering to its reputation as a venue where golfers should focus on finding fairways and greens regularly, Colonial ranked 13th in driving accuracy in 2012 at 55.63 percent. It checked in at 14th in greens hit at 60.69 percent. The Bentgrass surface average just 4,400 square feet, so distance control is at a premium.
Mostly sunny and dry conditions are forecast throughout the week. High temperatures will flirt with 90 degrees. Early expectations are for moderate winds out of the south.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among recent winners, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.
|Power Rankings: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial|