The month of May has been dominated by 20somethings, so it's time for a touring professional a little longer in the tooth to collect some hardware. At least that's what the recent past at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial would lead you to believe.
Since Sergio Garcia broke through as a first-time winner in his debut at Colonial Country Club in 2001, the average age of the winners is about 38 1/2. At 31 years old in 2007, Rory Sabbatini was the youngest of the lot. Five of the champs were 42 or older, including Kenny Perry twice (42 and 44 in 2003 and 2005, respectively).
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Additionally, of the 13 winners since Garcia, the average starts it took to emerge victorious was 8.27. (This takes into account only the first wins by Perry and Zach Johnson, who won in both 2010 and 2012.) Defending champion Adam Scott reached paydirt in just his third appearance, easily the fewest among the 11 unique winners since 2002. It took Perry (2003) and David Toms (2011) a class-high 14 tries before they figured it out.
On paper, Colonial is about as average as it gets across the board. It's a stock par 70 that's measured 7,204 yards since 2009. Hitting fairways is always a challenge but not a prerequisite. The value is in its consistency, which favors the experienced that know where to miss shots and the nuance of the greens. Colonial's greens-in-regulation percentage was 64.35 last year, good for a 24th-highest (of 48 courses in 2013-14), but its birdie-or-better conversion percentage ranked 10th-lowest at 25.74.
Before defeating Jason Dufner in a playoff last year, Scott finished T8 in fairways hit and T10 in GIR. He was 26th in strokes gained: putting, but led the field in par-3 scoring. He also led in proximity from the rough, an asset that would come in handy again this week as he continues to struggle with his putting.
Inclement weather is always a concern in springtime in the Dallas Metroplex, and this week is no exception. A reasonable chance for rain and storms spans the entire week. Potentially gusty winds will accompany the energy, so tee times could be particularly important. Temperatures are expected to rise into the low 80s on the weekend.