Perry Back to Where it All Began


04 Bank of America ColonialA friend had a dream. You won a jacket, he relayed to Kenny Perry early in 2003. To which Perry responded, Was it green?
Actually, it was plaid ' red plaid. Not in the dream, but in real life.
Perry donned the plaid garment in Ft. Worth, Texas, becoming the answer to a trivia question: Who won the Bank of America Colonial the year Annika Sorenstam made her historic appearance?
With an audience extending far beyond the normal reaches of golf, Sorenstam soaked up world-wide attention on her way the most famous missed cut in PGA Tour history.
Meanwhile, Perry opened in 68-64 to share the 36-hole lead, before burying the field on Saturday with a course-record-tying 9-under 61. He led by eight strokes entering the final round, and withstood a near perfect performance by Justin Leonard on Sunday.
Leonard almost added to the historical week by shooting 59. Needing a birdie at the last to reach the magical number, he made bogey and settled for 61.
Even had Leonard shot 59 it wouldnt have been enough to catch Perry, who had a 68 and won by six strokes (his 261 total was a 72-hole tournament scoring record); though, it would have been appropriate ' Perrys victory would have been overshadowed from start to finish.
Ill probably be remembered as the guy who won Annikas event, but thats OK with me, he said at the time.
For that, definitely. But not for that alone.
Perry had been a consistent performer throughout his previous 16 seasons on tour. He had never finished outside the top 100 on the money list and had collected four victories ' but only one since 1995.
Then came the Bank of America Colonial, which proved to be the spark plug this collector of vintage cars needed.
Perry won the next week at the Memorial Tournament, and two starts thereafter at the Greater Milwaukee Open.
He also tied for third in the U.S. Open, tied for eighth in the British Open, tied for 10th in the PGA Championship and tied for ninth in the Tour Championship.
He finished the season sixth on the money list with over $4.4 million. His three victories nearly doubled his career total, pushing the amount to seven in 17 years.
It was a magical summer for me last year, and it all started right here, he told an audience of Bank of America Colonial tournament officials and volunteers in March.
I dont think of myself as an elite player, he added. I think of myself as a blue-collar golfer who goes out every day and works to be his best.
Regardless of self perception, Perry is ranked ninth in the world and is in great shape to make his first Ryder Cup team, as he is currently fifth in the U.S. standings.
Just like last year, Perry enters the Bank of America Colonial with a pair of top-5 finishes under his belt, but no victories.
It will be a tall task to get that first win here.
Ben Hogan is the only repeat winner in the tournaments 56-year history. He won the first two editions, in 1946 and 47, and then again in 52 and 53 (he also won in 1959).
Julius Boros (1960, 63), Billy Casper (1964, 68), Lee Trevino (1976, 78), Ben Crenshaw (1977, 90), Bruce Lietzke (1980, 92), Nick Price (1994, 2002) and Corey Pavin (1985, 96) are the other multiple champions.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Bank of America Colonial
  • Annika's historic run at the 2003 Bank of America Colonial