Graham DeLaet is looking for his first PGA TOUR win this week. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Despite making two previous starts in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Graham DeLaet had never heard of the "Horrible Horseshoe" until Friday.
Now he knows how that stretch of holes -- the par-4 third, par-3 fourth and par-4 fifth, the toughest three holes in Colonial history -- got its nickname.
DeLaet bogeyed all three holes but the Canadian still managed a second-round 3-under 67 that left him atop the leaderboard at 9 under when he walked off the course.
DeLaet, who began his round off the 10th tee, entered the Horrible Horseshoe on a stretch of three consecutive birdies, but he gave all those strokes away just as quickly.
"Those are tough, strong holes," DeLaet said. "They will probably be the difference in the golf tournament."
But if DeLaet manages his first PGA TOUR win this week -- his best finish on TOUR was a tie for third at the 2010 Shell Houston Open -- he may look back at his finishing stretch in the second round as a key moment.
DeLaet rolled in a birdie putt of 28 feet, 7 inches for birdie at the eighth, then followed with another birdie from just inside 12 feet on his final hole, the par-4 ninth to claim the clubhouse lead midway through the day.
"I got myself right back in it," DeLaet said of his two late birdies.
DeLaet has three top-10 finishes in 14 starts this year, including a tie for 10th last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. In each of those top-10 finishes, his first two rounds have been lower than his weekend rounds.
"I felt like I've had a couple of good chances that I've squandered a little bit either on the weekend or a couple of bad dswings here and there," DeLaet said.
"My game feels good and I'm making some putts here the last couple of days, which always helps."