Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial: First-Round Notebook

May 22, 2008
Stewart Moore, PGA TOUR Staff

FORT WORTH, Texas -- 2008 Shell Houston Open champion Johnson Wagner carded a 7-under 63 on Thursday and will now take a two-shot lead over Phil Mickelson and Brett Wetterich into Friday's second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Inside the Numbers
18-Hole Leaderboard
Player Score
1. Johnson Wagner 63 -7
T2. Brett Wetterich 65 -5
T2. Phil Mickelson 65 -5
4. Glen Day 66 -6
T5. Alex Cejka 67 -7
T5. Dudley Hart 67 -7
T5. Corey Pavin 67 -7
T5. Mark Brooks 67 -7
T5. Mathew Goggin 67 -7
T5. Richard Johnson 67 -7
T5. Vaughn Taylor 67 -7
T5. Kevin Sutherland 67 -7

• Wagner's 63 is one shot shy of the first-round record at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, which was set by Patrick Sheehan in 2005. This marks the second straight year that 63 has led after one round of the tournament (2007, Anthony Kim). In addition, this is the sixth straight year where a round of 64 or better has led after day one.

• Thursday's round marks only the ninth round in the 60s that Wagner has carded in 44 rounds on the PGA TOUR this year.

• This marks the third 18-hole lead/co-lead of Johnson Wagner's PGA TOUR career and third in the state of Texas as well. Wagner was the 18-hole co-leader at the Shell Houston Open earlier this year and in 2007 as well.

• In the 61-year history of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, the first-round leader has gone on to claim victory only 14 times. The last first-round leader to go on and win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial was Ian Baker-Finch in 1989.

• No player has ever won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and the Shell Houston Open in the same year.

Brett Wetterich is still looking for his first top-10 of the season after taking roughly two months off due to a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The 2006 EDS Byron Nelson Championship winner has a tied for 37th finish at the Buick Invitational as his best of the season. Thursday's round of 65 is his low round of the season and first round in the 60s since a third-round 67 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

• With Colonial Country Club's small greens, Greens in Regulation becomes an important statistic, and Wetterich and Phil Mickelson led the field in that category on Thursday by hitting 16 of 18 (88.89 percent).

• Since winning in 2000 and finishing runner-up in 2001, Mickelson has finished in the top 20 only once at the Crowne Plaza Invitational in four appearances (tie for 13th in 2003).

• After opening with over-par rounds 10 times in 22 events in 2007, Mickelson has done so only once in 12 starts in 2008 (2-over 72, Arnold Palmer Invitational).

• The last time Mickelson won on the PGA TOUR when sitting in second place through 18 holes was at the 2000 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, when he trailed John Cook by one shot after the first round before eventually winning by two shots over Stewart Cink and Davis Love III.

Glen Day's round of 66 on Thursday was his low of the 2008 season, where he's made three out of six cuts with his best finish coming at the Mayakoba Golf Classic (tied for 54th).

• Day has split time between the PGA and Nationwide Tours this year with seven starts on the former and five on the latter. The 1999 Verizon Heritage Classic winner finished No. 163 on the 2007 PGA TOUR money list and has received limited starts this year via his Past Champion status.

• Fort Worth resident Mark Brooks overcame a double bogey at the par-3 13th on Thursday to card a round of 67 in his 25th start at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Brooks competed at Colonial in 1983 and 1984, took 1985 off, and has played every year since.

Dudley Hart's fired a round of 67 on Thursday despite hitting only five of 14 fairways. Hart entered the week ranked No. 131 in Driving Accuracy and No. 194 in Total Driving on the 2008 PGA TOUR. Regardless, Hart has already recorded three top-10 finishes this year, which matches his best total for a single season since 2001, when he recorded five.

• Hart entered the 2008 season on a Major Medical Exemption after his wife was diagnosed with non-smokers lung cancer in May of 2007. Hart entered the season with 15 tournaments to make $485,931 and receive fully exempt status for the remainder of 2008. With his tie for 12th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in March came a $110,825 paycheck, surpassing the needed money.

• 1985 and 1996 Crowne Plaza Invitational champion Corey Pavin is off to another good start at Colonial Country Club with a round of 67 on Thursday. Pavin is making his 25th consecutive start at this event and has now opened with a round of par or better an impressive 18 times.

• Since winning the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, Pavin has only recorded two top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR, both of which came at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (tied for sixth in 2007; tied for third in 2008).

Alex Cejka's first-round 67 continues his solid trend of starting hot at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Cejka opened with rounds of 67-65 last year and was tied for sixth through 36 holes before falling back to a tied for 36th finish over the weekend.

• Defending champion Rory Sabbatini opened with a round of 71 on Thursday. Sabbatini is attempting to join Ben Hogan as the only player to successfully defend his title at the Crowne Plaza Invitational (1946-47, 1952-53).

• Since winning last year, Sabbatini has gone on to record seven top-10 finishes in 19 events played, including top-10s in each of the four events that made up the PGA TOUR's PLAYOFFS for the FedExCup.

• The top 10 players on the 2008 PGA TOUR money list at the end of this week will be exempt into this year's U.S. Open (assuming they are not already). The two players with the most to gain this week are Jeff Quinney (No. 14) and Bart Bryant (No. 19), each of whom is currently not exempt.

• In addition, the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings through the end of this week will be exempt into the U.S. Open as well. Here is a look at players just on the outside looking in as they entered the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial:

• With a win this week, Wagner would earn a spot in the U.S. Open as well via three methods: A spot in the top 10 on the 2008 money list, a likely climb into the top 50 in the OWGR, and/or a second PGA TOUR title between June 6, 2007 and June 5, 2008.

• Bogey-free rounds on Thursday: Glen Day (66), Richard Johnson (67), and Brian Gay (69).

• To no one's surprise, the par-4 fifth played as the most difficult hole on Thursday with a scoring average of 4.347. The daunting par 4 has played as the most difficult hole at Colonial Country Club in 23 of the past 25 years, with the lone exceptions being 2004 and 1994, where it played as fourth hardest and second hardest, respectively.

Shane Bertsch withdrew after nine holes on Thursday with a neck injury.