Power Rankings: 2014 Crowne Plaza Invitational

By Will GrayMay 20, 2014, 7:10 pm

This week marks the 28th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour stays in the Lone Star State for the Crowne Plaza Invitational. A field of 123 players will tee it up this week at Colonial Country Club, where the "Horrible Horseshoe" will test even the game's best.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Charlie Rymer. Click here for full fantasy assistance, including stats and picks.

Boo Weekley returns to defend the title he won here a year ago by one shot over Matt Kuchar. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Fort Worth:

1. Matt Kuchar: Last year's runner-up continues to roll right along in 2014, with his T-7 finish last week in Dallas marking his ninth top-10 finish in only 13 starts this season. Kuchar was also ninth here in 2008 and T-16 in 2011, and his 69.4 stroke average continues to lead the Tour this season. With a win, he could move to No. 1 in the world.

2. Zach Johnson: Few players have dominated a venue like Johnson has at Colonial since 2009: two wins - including the tournament scoring record - two more top-five finishes and no result worse than T-9. Johnson clearly feels comfortable at Colonial, and his tee-to-green game has paid dividends in recent years. Expect another strong week from a player who has won three times since September.



3. Jim Furyk: Furyk is teeing it up for the first time since back-to-back runner-up finishes at Quail Hollow and TPC Sawgrass, and rides a streak of six straight top-20 finishes overall. Furyk has twice been a runner-up at Colonial (1998, 2007) and finished fourth as recently as 2012. He currently ranks 10th on Tour in driving accuracy and 12th in scoring average.

4. Graham DeLaet: He has to win at some point...right? DeLaet's T-7 result in Dallas was his sixth top-10 finish this season and 19th since 2010. The Canadian currently leads the Tour in both ball-striking and GIR percentage and sits eighth in total driving, cementing his spot as one of the best tee-to-green players around. He tied for 22nd last year, opening with a 64 but closing with a disappointing 74.

5. Jordan Spieth: Spieth had an off week while playing in front of hometown fans in Dallas, but this week should get back on track just down the road in Ft. Worth. He tied for seventh last year in his Colonial debut, including a 65-67 start, and this season has surpassed nearly every expectation with six top-10 finishes, highlighted by his runner-up at the Masters.

6. Adam Scott: The new world No. 1 wastes no time in putting his ranking to use this week, and the course should favor his consistent game. But this is just the third career appearance at Colonial for the Aussie, and he failed to crack the top 60 in either of his two previous attempts. After moving to No. 1 while on the couch, though, he'll be eager to back up his new (mathematical) standing atop the game of golf.

7. Kevin Na: Na continues to have a strong year in his return from injury, with eight top-25 finishes this season. He has been quietly consistent at Colonial, with four top-25 finishes from 2007-2012, and currently ranks 10th on Tour in scoring average and 14th in strokes gained putting. With almost $2 million already in the bank this season, he's in position to make a good year a great one with a big week in Texas.

8. Paul Casey: Don't look now, but the Englishman is rounding back into form after injuries forced him out of the spotlight in recent years. Casey garnered headlines with a back-nine 27 during the second round last week at TPC Four Seasons, and his T-16 finish was his third straight top-20 result overall. Casey hasn't played Colonial in four years, but his two prior trips netted a fifth (2009) and T-13 (2010).

9. Chris Kirk: A winner earlier this season at Sea Island, Kirk has been quietly consistent in 2014, making the cut in each of his 16 starts, and he tied for 13th at the Players Championship in his most recent start after a Sunday 67. Kirk tied for fifth here in 2012 and was T-16 the year prior, so he knows his way around Colonial.

10. Ryan Palmer: Palmer tied for 22nd last week in Dallas despite playing the weekend over par, and as a Texas native should have some home crowds behind him this week in Ft. Worth. He is 11th on Tour in birdie average and has cracked the top 15 each of the last two years at Colonial, finishing T-5 in 2012 and T-14 in 2013.

Luke List, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood and Tiger Woods at the 2018 Honda Classic Getty Images

Honda leaders face daunting final day

By Randall MellFebruary 25, 2018, 12:46 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The winner may need a cut man in his corner more than he needs a caddie on his bag in Sunday’s finish to the Honda Classic.

Smelling salts might come in handy, too.

“It just feels like you are getting punched in the face every single hole here,” Daniel Berger said of the test PGA National’s Champion Course offers. “Every single shot is so hard.”

Final rounds have been especially rough and tumble since the Honda Classic moved to PGA National in 2007.

That usually makes Sundays here as much about who can figuratively take a punch as who can throw one.

Luke List will have his jaw tested after taking sole possession of the lead Saturday with a second consecutive round of 4-under-par 66, but he can take comfort in the fact that punishment is doled plentifully around here.

“Just realizing that everyone is facing the same obstacles out there is huge,” List said. “You're not alone out there, if you make a bogey or a bad swing here or there.”

At 7-under 203, List is one shot ahead of a pair of major championship winners, Justin Thomas (65) and Webb Simpson (66). He is two ahead of Tommy Fleetwood (67), the reigning European Tour Player of the Year, and Jamie Lovemark (68).

List, 33, is seeking his first PGA Tour title in his 104th start. He will have to hold off some heavyweights, including Tiger Woods (69), who is seven shots back but feeling like he has a chance again. Woods closed with a 62 here six years ago when he finished second to Rory McIlroy.

“You never know what can happen the last few holes here,” Woods said. “A lot of things can happen and have happened in the past.”

Amen.


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Crazy things have happened here.

Three years ago, Padraig Harrington was five shots down with eight holes to play and won. He made two double bogeys in the final round but ended up beating Berger in a playoff.

Berger, by the way, was nine shots back entering the final round.

That was the year Ian Poulter took a share of lead into Sunday, hit five balls in the water and still finished just a shot out of the playoff.

Last year, Rickie Fowler made four bogeys and a double bogey in the final round and still won by four shots.

List will have a heavyweight playing alongside him in the final pairing, with 24-year-old Justin Thomas looking to claim his eighth PGA Tour title. Thomas was last season’s PGA Tour Player of the Year.

List has never held a 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event.

“You guys build up certain players,” List said. “I know I'll be an underdog going against Justin Thomas and guys like that, which is fine.”

There is some inspiration for List in what Ted Potter Jr. did two weeks at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Potter, largely unknown even though he already had a PGA Tour title to his credit, held off stars Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day in the final round to win. 

Thomas earned the right to play alongside List in the final pairing Sunday with his 65, which equaled the low round of the tournament.

Thomas makes his home in nearby Jupiter and knows the punishment the Champion Course can dish out.

“It's a difficult course,” Thomas said. “If you let it get to you, it can be frustrating, but if you go into it understanding and realizing it's difficult, you just kind of embrace it and deal with it.”

Thomas played the Bear Trap’s trio of daunting holes (Nos. 15-17) in 2 under on Saturday. He birdied the 15th and 17th holes.

Fleetwood got in contention Saturday with a pair of eagles. He’s a four-time European Tour winner.

“I would love to get my first win on the PGA Tour this week,” he said. “It’s just great to be out here. It's great to be playing on courses like this that are such a test of every part of your game.”

Alex Noren, a nine-time European Tour winner, is also seeking his first PGA Tour title. He is three shots back. He lost in a playoff to Day at the Farmers Insurance Open last month.

Though this is just Noren’s second start at the Honda Classic, he knows how wildly momentum can swing on the Champion Course. He shot 65 Saturday after shooting 75 on Friday.

“I’m a few back, but anything can happen,” Noren said.

That’s the theme around here.

Getty Images

Thomas: Winning hometown Honda would 'mean a lot'

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:53 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Justin Thomas is trying to join Rickie Fowler as a winner of his hometown event.

Thomas will play in the final group alongside Luke List on Sunday at the Honda Classic after matching the low round of the week with a 5-under 65. He is at 6-under 204, one shot back of List.

The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year is one of several residents of nearby Jupiter. After Fowler won last year, Thomas (who missed the cut) returned to the course to congratulate his neighbor on his fourth Tour title.

“I hope I give him the opportunity or the choice to come back,” Thomas said. “But I’ve got a lot of golf in front of me before I worry about him coming here.”


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


More important to Thomas, however, is winning this event, which is played at PGA National, one of the most difficult non-major courses on Tour.

“It would mean a lot,” he said. “It means a lot to win any golf tournament, but it would mean more because of how prestigious this golf tournament is and the list of winners that have won this event, how strong of a field it is, how difficult of a golf course.

“A decent number of my wins have been on easier golf courses, so it would be cool to get it done at a place like this.”

Getty Images

Woods paired with hotshot rookie Burns at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:38 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Rookie Sam Burns will be in the biggest spot of his career Sunday – playing alongside Tiger Woods.

Burns, the reigning Nicklaus Award winner who turned pro after two standout years at LSU, will go off with Woods at 12:45 p.m. at the Honda Classic.

Burns, 20, who earned his Web.com Tour card via Q-School, is playing this week on a sponsor exemption, his fourth of the season. He is 13th on the Web.com money list this year, after a tie for second two weeks ago in Colombia.


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Burns and Woods are tied for 11th, at even-par 210.

Sunday is an important round for Burns, who can earn a spot into the Valspar Championship with a top-10 finish here.

Getty Images

List leads Honda; Thomas one back

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 11:25 pm

Luke List, one of a legion of PGA Tour players who live in Jupiter, just two exits up I-95 from PGA National, shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Honda Classic. Here's how things stand going into the final round at PGA National:

Leaderboard: Luke List (-7), Justin Thomas (-6), Webb Simpson (-6), Tommy Fleetwood (-5), Jamie Lovemark (-5), Alex Noren (-4) 

What it means: Leader List has played well this season, with no finish lower than T-26 in six starts. Thomas, of course, is the reigning Player of the Year. The next best pedigree among the leaders belongs to Simpson, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open and three other PGA Tour titles.

Round of the day: Thomas and Noren both shot 5-under 65s. Thomas made two of his six birdies in the Bear Trap (at the par 3s, Nos. holes 15 and17), while Noren played that stretch (15-17) in 1 over. Noren made his hay elsewhere, including an eagle at the last that canceled out his two bogeys.


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Best of the rest: List, Simpson and Kelly Kraft all shot 66.

Biggest disappointment: After an opening 76, Jimmy Walker probably thought he was back on track with a 68 that allowed him to make the cut. Alas, the improvement was temporary, as he ballooned back to a 74 on Saturday.

Shot of the day: Tommy Fleetwood hit a fairway wood from 282 yards to within 8 feet of the cup on the 18th hole. He then made the putt for his second eagle of the day.

Quote of the day: "The course played a fair bit easier with not as much wind." - Thomas

Biggest storyline going into Sunday: List may be in the lead, but most eyes will be on Thomas, a five-time winner last year who has yet to lift a trophy in 2018. And of course, more than a few people will be keeping tabs on Tiger Woods. He'll begin the day seven shots back, trying to channel Tiger of 2012 - when he posted a 62 on Sunday at PGA National (which was good only for a runner-up finish to Rory McIlroy).