By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Although Rory Sabbatini and his family reside within a short drive of Colonial, he's only played the course one time in the last year.
No matter. Sabbatini has won at Colonial. He's comfortable here. He knows how to play it. Even if he doesn't see it for awhile, he knows its nuances from memory.
"I know it about as well as the back of my head," he said. "It's a course that I feel comfortable with, and it's a course that I love."
He was definitely loving it in Friday's second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. The 2007 champ shot himself up the leaderboard with a bogey-free 6-under 64, leaving him at 8 under for the tournament and in prime shape to make a run at a second Colonial title this weekend.
"I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I'm doing all the right things around the green," Sabbatini said. "If I can continue to do what I've done the first two days, continue to hit fairways and give myself opportunities, I will definitely feel comfortable going into the weekend."
Sabbatini, who won The Honda Classic in March, knew he needed to make a move Friday morning. In Thursday's first round, most of the top rounds came out of the morning wave, including the 62s shot by co-leaders David Toms and Chez Reavie. Meanwhile, Sabbatini played in the afternoon and shot a 2-under 68 in more windy conditions.
"I know the scores are out there," Sabbatini said. "But, as you know, this golf course becomes harder to score on the weekend. It just gets firmer and faster. So you got to get yourself in a good position going into the weekend."
Sabbatini was a bogey-free 1 under through his first eight holes on Friday. But his approach shot from a fairway bunker at the ninth landed 5 feet from the pin for birdie, and that ignited his round.
After making the turn, he made three more consecutive birdies. After a par at 13, he then rolled in a birdie putt just outside 39 feet on the 14th for his sixth and last birdie of the day.
"That one was fun," Sabbatini said. "Kevin (Fasbender, his caddie) came over and said, 'Dude, I got a feeling on this one.' Sometimes you get that feeling like you know what it's going to do and sometimes it pays off."
The key to Sabbatini's back nine was his ability to stay in the fairway. He hit just two of seven fairways on the front side Friday, but after making birdie at the ninth, he hit six of seven fairways coming in.
"On this course, if you put it in the fairways and give yourself opportunities and access those things," he said, "you are going to give yourself some good birdie opportunities."