Who is Fit to Wear the Crowne at Colonial

By Sports NetworkMay 21, 2007, 4:00 pm
Crowne Plaza Invitational at ColonialFT. WORTH, Texas -- There may be a new name this week, the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, but everyone knows this week's event as the Colonial.
 
Once again the event will have an invitational-sized field, but just one of the top 13 players in the world will be in the field this week, No. 3 Jim Furyk.
 
Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk is the highest ranked player in the field, but is he among the favorites? (WireImage)
Furyk has been a regular at Colonial, where he will make his 12th straight appearance. In his first 11 trips, he has two top-5 finishes and four top-10s.
 
Five more players ranked between 14 and 20 in the world -- Trevor Immelman, Rory Sabbatini, Stewart Cink, Steve Sticker and Nick O'Hern -- will join Furyk and defending champion Tim Herron at Colonial Country Club.
 
Richard S. Johnson birdied the final two holes last year to force a playoff with Herron. In the playoff, Herron birdied the second extra hole for his fourth tour win. The victory snapped a 204-event winless streak for the player affectionately known as 'Lumpy.'
 
Colonial is nicknamed Hogan's Alley for the legendary Ben Hogan's five wins between 1946 and 1959. Hogan won back-to-back titles twice during that time, including the first two playings of the event in 1946 and '47.
 
In that '46 season, Hogan also captured the title at the Byron Nelson Championship, making him the only player to win both titles in the same year.
 
In the past the two events were played back-to-back, but because of the new PGA TOUR schedule Scott Verplank won the Nelson four weeks ago. He could join Hogan as the only players to win both titles in the same year.
 
GOLF CHANNEL will broadcast action on the first two days before CBS takes over for the weekend. Next week, the PGA TOUR heads to Jack Nicklaus' place for the Memorial Tournament, where Carl Pettersson won last year.
 
But here are the favorites for this week:
 
Jim Furyk
Furyk has never won at Colonial but, predictably, he has had some top-10 success. He has four career top-10s in 11 years, including a runner-up finish in 1998. Furyk got off to a great start with three top-10s in his first four starts this season, but hasn't had one since the Nissan Open in February.
 
Peter Lonard
Lonard has had some excellent results the last couples of years at Colonial. He tied for third in 2005 and then tied for fourth a year ago. Hes shot par or better in each of his last 10 rounds on the par-70 venue. Lonard missed the cut last week in Atlanta, but did tie for sixth two weeks ago at THE PLAYERS Championship.
 
Kenny Perry
Perry has had a rough go of it ever since undergoing knee surgery in 2006. He hasnt recorded a top-10 since August of 05, the same year he notched his last victory on TOUR. That win came at this very event. Perry is a two-time winner at Colonial (2003) and also has a runner-up finish (2002) over the last five years. He hasnt finished better than 58th since the PODS Championship in March so a return to Ft. Worth will be a welcome trip.
 
Bo Van Pelt
Van Pelt has only played the Crowne Plaza on three occasions, but hes finished no worse than tied 17th. His best result came in his 2004 debut, when he tied for fifth. Van Pelt is still in search of his first TOUR title.
 
Stephen Ames
The 2006 PLAYERS Champion has a pair top-5s at Colonial over the last three years. He also has a few very low rounds. Ames closed in 64 in 2004 and had bookend rounds of 65-63 in 06.
 
Here are four other players to keep an eye on at Colonial:
 
Bernhard Langer
50-year-old Fred Funk has already won on the PGA TOUR this year. Why not Langer, a soon-to-be member of the senior set? Langer is a control player who can work his ball well, which is perfect for the Colonial layout. Amazingly, he has only played here three times. But in those three appearances, he has a tie for third (1986) and a tie for sixth (2005) 19 years apart.
 
Jeff Sluman
Like Langer, Sluman will also turn 50 this year. And as is the case for Langer, age wont keep him from being a factor this week. Sluman has played this tournament every year since 1987 and has six times finished inside the top 10. He has four top-3s over the last 11 years.
 
Scott Verplank
Verplank will try and accomplish the Texas Two-Step. The Dallas native already won the EDS Byron Nelson Championship a few weeks ago. He will now try and win just a few miles down the road. If he does so, however, he might even surprise himself. Verplank has played here 17 times, with his best finish a tie for 12th.
 
Rory Sabbatini
Well stick with him one more week. The Mouth from the South (Africa) tied for fifth in 2003 and tied for sixth in 2005. Its another odd year, so maybe its time for another good result.
 
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.