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Pavin the Master in 96 Colonial

All too soon forgotten is the force that Corey Pavin has been in American golf. Pavin has had to struggle lately, but for most of the first half of the 90s, he was indeed a feared man.
Pavin won seven times between 1991 and 1996. He won 14 times overall, the first coming in 1984 at Houston. The last time, in 96, was at the Colonial, now the Bank of America Colonial.
Colonial is tailor-made for Pavins game ' tight, relatively short, small targets demanding shots hit both left and right. In short, its a course that requires the player to shape the ball in both directions ' Pavins kind of course.
By 1996 Pavin had began the slippery slide that would eventually almost consume him, taking him down to 169th on the money list the following year alone. He has been plagued by a swing that has broken down, putting that hasnt been up to Pavin standards, and by an over-all lack of length.
In 96, though, he won ' mostly with heart while his swing was deserting him.
Never was it more evident than in the final round, when Pavin missed eight greens, hit several errant drives, but still shot 69 - and emerged with the red plaid winners jacket.
Rocco Mediate took the lead in Sunday, but a fourth-round 73 meant he wouldnt be a final-day factor. Instead, he watched Pavin imitate another Colonial great ' Ben Hogan ' in shotmaking.
I saw one of the masters of left-to-right use his shots today, said Mediate. He hit some beautiful irons out there ' low, gorgeous, beautiful-looking things. The wind never saw them.
The wind was a definite factor, as it was the entire week. Gusts of up to 30 miles an hour made club-guessing an adventure. But Pavin repeatedly was dialed in.
Jeff Sluman, two shots behind Pavin when Sunday started, started strongly and was actually in the lead after Pavin bogeyed 14. But Pavin birdied the 15th with a 7-iron to six feet and a putt. Sluman bogeyed the 17th and Pavin had the lead for good. He eventually beat Sluman by two stokes.
It was Pavins second Colonial win, meaning he has multiple wins ' along with Hogan ' at Fort Worth and at Riviera in Los Angeles.
I think he hit the ball a little better, but I think I chip and putt a little better, said Pavin in comparing himself and Hogan. I think what we have in common is a lot of imagination on the golf course ' hitting different shapes of shots.
Pavin has never quite been able to reproduce that winning magic. But for one week in May in 1996, he strode the fairways of Colonial a winner.