Power Rankings: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
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 Rank Player Comment Henrik STENSON Back from the Match Play in Bulgaria following a T5 at THE PLAYERS. Currently leads the PGA TOUR in fairways hit and greens in regulation. Also 22nd in adjusted scoring and T6 in par-5 scoring. Fourth start at Colonial. Kevin STREELMAN Since his breakthrough in Tampa, he's 4-for-5 with a T3, T6 and co-runner-up. Sits inside the top 25 in fairways hit, greens in regulation and strokes gained-putting. Seventh in adjusted scoring. Tied for 10th at Colonial in 2011. Chris KIRK Ten consecutive cuts made. Two top 10s and another four top 25s this season. Ranks seventh in strokes gained-putting and 13th in adjusted scoring. Chased a T16 at Colonial in 2011 with a share of fifth place last year. Matt KUCHAR Hasn't missed a cut in six appearances at Colonial where he's posted two top 20s. Tied for 33rd at last week's HP Byron Nelson Championship, but co-led the field in par-5 scoring average. Sixteen consecutive cuts made. Zach JOHNSON Two-time winner (2010, 2012). Overall, he's 7-for-7 with no worse than a T9 (2009) in his last four visits. Had 15 consecutive rounds under par at Colonial before last year's closing 72. Tied for 19th two weeks ago at TPC Sawgrass. Charl SCHWARTZEL First-timer at Colonial. Coming off a solo third at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in what was also his debut. Led last week's field in greens hit and ranked T2 in par-4 scoring. Also finished T4 in total driving. Freddie JACOBSON After a slight stumble at THE PLAYERS, he scored par or better in every round at TPC Four Seasons en route to a T17, his eighth top 25 in nine starts this season. Making his eighth start at Colonial. Ranks fourth in adjusted scoring. Charley HOFFMAN Remained on form at TPC Four Seasons where he tied for seventh, his third top 10 in his last five starts. Ranked T6 in par-4 scoring and seventh in strokes gained-putting last week. He's 4-for-4 at Colonial with a T13 in 2012. Marc LEISHMAN Refuses to relent. A T12 at TPC Four Seasons was his first outside a top 10 in four starts. Inconsistent first three months spoil season-long stats, but he's 31st in adjusted scoring. Survived the cut twice in as many starts at Colonial. Jim FURYK Making his 18th start at Colonial where he has seven top 10s, including last year's solo fourth. Ranks seventh in fairways hit, second in proximity to the hole and 29th in adjusted scoring. Two top 10s and another three top 25s this season. Harris ENGLISH At 23, he's the youngest in this feature but someone has to be. A T5 in his debut at Colonial last year remains his personal best on the PGA TOUR. Tied for 17th last week. Three top 10s on the season. Embraces ball-striking challenges. Martin LAIRD Two T10s in as many appearances at Colonial (2010, 2011). All eight rounds were par or better. In his last start this season, he shared fifth at TPC Sawgrass. Won early last month in San Antonio. Ranks 20th in the all-around. Bo VAN PELT Sparkling 9-for-9 slate at Colonial includes six top 20s, including in each of the last three editions. He's regressed a bit this season but he's just three weeks removed from a T6 at the Wells Fargo Championship, his only top 10 of 2013. Angel CABRERA Coming off a T12 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, his third top 20 in five starts that included the playoff loss at the Masters. Nine cuts made this season matches last year's total (in 20 starts). Third appearance at Colonial. Sang-Moon BAE If the 26-year-old wasn't already equipped with global experience and moxie, you'd otherwise expect a letdown following his breakthrough victory. Putted wonderfully at TPC Four Seasons. Also ranked T9 in greens in regulation.