Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin is making his presence felt early at Colonial.
The 50-year-old – who turned down a chance to play in the Senior PGA Championship this week – has birdied his first two holes to move to 14 under. He’s two strokes off the lead held by Brian Davis and Bryce Molder, who tee off in about 10 minutes.
Pavin made a 26-footer from the back fringe at the first hole, then added a 9-footer No. 2. The two-time Colonial champ is trying to win the tournament in the third straight decade.
For Corey Pavin, it was almost a no-brainer. He could make his 27th appearance at the Crowne Plaza Invitational -- which he has won twice -- or play in the Senior PGA Championship.
The 50-year-old chose Colonial, and Pavin made his presence felt on Friday with a 64 that left him among the leaders at 9 under. He finished with a flourish, too, making birdie on Nos. 17 and 18 to slip into a tie for fourth.
"This is the type of golf course that I feel comfortable on," Pavin said. "I can play my own game. It's not very far from home either. It's kind of nice."
Pavin, who will captain the U.S. Ryder Cup team in September, has made 11 birdies over the first two rounds while dropping just two shots to par. If the weather stays warm and the wind just a whisper through the trees, he wouldn't be surprised to see a tournament record.
"It's as easiest as Colonial is going to get," Pavin said. "It's certainly not an easy golf course. You have to execute out here. But with no wind you can definitely get it going out here. But you have to play very good golf to did so."
If Pavin should win on Sunday, he would not only become the seventh player over 50 to win on the PGA TOUR, he would have wins here in Fort Worth in three different decades. Pavin won at Colonial in 1985 and '96 and has five other top-10s, including two runners-up.
"I can play my own game here," Pavin explained his success. "I don't have to try to do things that are out of my comfort zone. It's just about positioning shots off the tee, keeping the ball in the fairway.
"It requires a lot of clean iron shots in here and smart shots. You don't have to birdie every hole, but there are certainly holes that you want to get after and try to birdie those and the other holes I kind of hang on and play smart. And if I do happen to make a birdie on that hole, that's a big bonus.
"And if I'm in a position where it's hard to hit the green, miss it in the right place, it's an easy up and down. I just try to play smart golf and hopefully I connect to it."
His Ryder Cup team should heed those words. Pavin, though, won't get ahead of himself this weekend as he seeks his 16th PGA TOUR win.
"Obviously it would be great," Pavin said. "It's been four years since I've won. I'm only halfway. ... It would be pretty cool to win here and make it 3. But, you know, I only played 36 holes so far. There is a ways to go."
He could be playing in the Senior PGA Championship this week. Corey Pavin, though, opted to come to Colonial where he won in 1985 and ‘96 and has five other top-10s.
Turns out it was a good decision. Not only can the U.S. Ryder Cup captain keep tabs on some of his potential team members, he’s threatening to teach them a thing or two.
Pavin is 4 under through his first 12 holes – making three straight birdies beginning at No. 9 – and is 7 under for the tournament. The 50-year-old is four strokes off the pace currently being set by Brian Davis, who has four holes remaining in the second round.
If the leaderboard remains the way it is right now, Jordan Spieth would be paired with U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin in the final round Sunday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
It would be the second consecutive day that the 16-year-old Spieth would be paired with a 50-year-old player. He was paired with 50-year-old Tom Pernice Jr. in Saturday's round.
UPDATE (6:15 p.m. ET): It's official -- Speith and Pavin will play together in the fifth-to-last pairing of the final round. Both players are at 6 under, six strokes off the lead held by Jason Day.
Corey Pavin is the only player in the field this week with a chance to accomplish something no golfer has ever done -- complete the PGA TOUR's Texas Slam.
Pavin has won TOUR events in Houston, Fort Worth and San Antonio, but he's never won the Dallas event, the HP Byron Nelson Championship. His closest call in 22 previous starts came in 1993 when he tied for second behind Scott Simpson, who had to roll in a 12-foot par putt on the final hole for the win.
Pavin hasn't won on the PGA TOUR since the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. He's now also competing as a rookie on the Champions Tour, and he'll captain the U.S. team at this year's Ryder Cup in Wales, so his plate is pretty full right now.
Still, when he tees off later today (weather permitting), he'll have visions of that Texas Slam. It would be even more special since Pavin, born in Oxnard, Calif., now lives in the Dallas area.
"Texas has been very, very good to me," Pavin said. "I like playing here. I'm not sure exactly why. Obviously I grew up in California, but some of the conditions that we have in California are similar to here in Texas. We have a lot of firm ground. The grasses are a little different here but for some reason I like it here."
Then he joked, "Maybe it's just firm ground -- that's always a good thing for me since I carry the ball so far."
Here's the list of 10 players -- many of them Hall of Famers -- who have won in at least three of the four Texas cities currently hosting TOUR events. Adam Scott just joined the list last week with his win at the Valero Texas Open. -- Mike McAllister
|Player||Texas city in which he hasn't won|
|Robert De Vicenzo||San Antonio|
|Adam Scott||Fort Worth|