Quick look at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational
May 24, 2017
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Ryan Palmer, a member at Colonial CC since 2010, has a detailed knowledge of what shots to play and when at DEAN & DELUCA. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, Texas – Want to know how to play a golf course? It’s usually wise to ask a club member. Or a PGA TOUR pro.
Ryan Palmer checks both those boxes at Colonial.
Not only has he been a dues-paying member since 2010 with hundreds of rounds under his belt, Palmer also has three top-5 finishes in the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational. That includes last year when he was the tournament leader eight holes into the final round. He eventually tied for third, four strokes behind playing partner Jordan Spieth, who birdied his last three holes to claim the title.
“It was awesome being in that atmosphere,” Palmer said. “… I just remember some of the putts Jordan would make. I still tell him today, some of the putts he made, you just don’t make. I play all the time with all the members and nobody makes ‘em.”
In other words, executing shots remains the most important factor in winning. But having a little course knowledge doesn’t hurt. And no one in the field knows Colonial better than Palmer. Since 2009, Palmer has recorded 19 rounds in the 60s here – second most behind two-time winner Zach Johnson’s 26.
“I know exactly what to do on each hole,” Palmer said.
While Palmer doesn’t want to reveal all his secrets, he did provide a few this week that some of the Colonial newcomers – including rookie Jon Rahm and last week’s winner, Billy Horschel (who played Colonial as an amateur but is making his first start here as a pro) -- will likely appreciate.
Take the 408-yard par-4 10th and the 387-yard par-4 17th. “I know 10 and 17 play short in the second shots,” Palmer said. “Don’t tell anybody else that.”
How about the 190-yard par-3 13th? “I know 13, the wind is never into you,” Palmer said. “It may feel like it, but it’s never into you.”
Or the 389-yard par-4 second. “I know when you can’t carry the No. 2 bunker on the right,” Palmer said. “I know when you can’t get to the left bunker.”
Or the 483-yard par-4 third. “I know when you can carry the three bunkers on 3 in certain winds.”
How well does Palmer and his caddie James Edmondson (also a member and a multiple club champion) know Colonial? They rarely reference their yardage books.
“We just get the number and we go,” Palmer said. “I know how to hit certain drives off this golf course. It helps me a little bit knowing I can kind of freewheel it and let go and hit driver everywhere.’’
“This course is a bonus knowing a lot of things because it’s such a shot-making golf course. You know, a lot of times players say this golf course takes the driver out of their hands. Well, it’s in my hands all day just because I’ve done it enough.”
On Sunday night, he’s hoping something else will be in his hands – the giant Leonard Trophy inscribed with the names of all Colonial champions.
Ryan Palmer shares local knowledge before DEAN & DELUCA
THREE PLAYERS TO PONDER
No surprise he’s already won once at Colonial. Will not be a surprise if he wins multiple times here.
No one has won the DFW Double in consecutive weeks, but Horschel has a habit of stringing wins together.
Has won twice at Colonial but making his first start here since 2010. Glad to see you back, Phil!
A closer look at the Horrible Horseshoe – hole Nos. 3 (483-yard par 4), 4 (247-yard par 3) and 5 (481-yard par 4) – the toughest three-hole stretch on the course and one of the toughest on the PGA TOUR. Since 2003, the stroke average for those three holes is a cumulative 0.465 strokes over par. Last year, the three holes ranked among the toughest four holes on the course (along with the par-4 ninth).
Flyover of the "Horrible Horseshoe" at Colonial Country Club
THE LANDING ZONE
The 445-yard par-4 12th is the most difficult hole on the back nine at Colonial. Last year, it yielded just 47 birdies while playing to a stroke average of 4.102. Along with having to navigate a dogleg left, players often face a headwind on their approach shots. Check out the scattershot chart of all the tee shots struck at the 12th hole last year.
It’s going to be hot (98 degrees on Friday!). It’s going to be windy (gusts of 30 mph!). And there’s a chance of thunderstorms at least one day. Seems like that’s usually the case at Colonial, although Sunday could feel slightly different than the other three days.
TEMPS: Temperatures could soar into the high 90s for the first three rounds, with heat indexes possibly reaching the lower 100s. A cold front could make things slightly more tolerable on Sunday.
RAIN: Scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast for the final two rounds, with an increased chance to 60 percent on Sunday.
WINDS: One of Colonial’s primary defenses is wind, and there should be plenty this week, with gusts from the south reaching 30 mph. Could be interesting on Sunday if the cold front brings a shift in the wind direction from the north.
For the latest weather news from Fort Worth, Texas, check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
“They are everything you want in three holes of golf. We’re going to be very smart. We’re going to play conservative. We would love to make birdie on ‘em, but we’re going to make sure we put ourselves in position to make par.” – Billy Horschel on Colonial’s Horrible Horseshoe.
ODDS AND ENDS
1. A LITTLE BIT OF SPAIN. Jon Rahm won the Ben Hogan Award in 2015 and 2016, so he’s been to Fort Worth. But he never was able to play Colonial during his visits. This week was the first time he’s seen the course, and he said it reminds him of some of the courses in his native Spain, particularly Valderrama.
“Visually a little different, but it’s very similar,” Rahm said. “You have to hit a lot of irons off the tee in Valderrama and it’s precision golf. You have to keep it in the fairway and hit those tiny greens. In that sense, it does remind me of lot (like Colonial).”
2. MUSIC TO HIS EARS. Billy Horschel will be listening to rock band Kings of Leon this week. That’s what he was listening to last week in Irving, and his week ended with a win at the AT&T Byron Nelson. “Didn’t matter what song it was,” Horschel said. “Any song that stuck in my head that week.”
Three years ago when Horschel won the final two Playoffs events of the season to claim the FedExCup, he was listening to British pop band Bastille, particularly one specific song (although he couldn’t recall the title).
“It was funny because going to the course every day at the TOUR Championship, I was listing to Alt Nation on Sirius XM and that song came on every day when I was driving to the course, which was so ironic.
“Driving to the course the final round and I’m like, ‘Oh man, the song is not coming on today.’ I pull in the parking lot and it came on and I sat in my car until it finished playing.”
3. BACK-DOOR KING. Last week, Matt Kuchar tied for ninth, having moved up the leaderboard on the weekend after making the cut in a tie for 17th. Since 2010, Kuchar has 32 “back-door” top-10 finishes in which he started the final 36 holes outside the top 10. That’s the most of any player in that span. One of those other “back-door” finishes came last year at Colonial, when Kuchar was tied for 44th after 36 holes but shot 63-68 on the weekend to tie for sixth.
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