Players to Bank On at Colonial

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods doesnt play the Bank of America Colonial. Hasnt since he tied for fourth in 1997.
Hes not too fond of Colonial Country Club. Has indicated that its outdated and doesnt suit the modern player.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods hasn't played at Colonial since he shot 72 in the final round in 1997 to finish T4.
Tigers biggest qualm with Colonial is that it takes driver out of his hand. The layout totals 7,054 yards, but is filled with doglegs and double doglegs, and requires precision off the tee, usually in the form of fairway wood or long iron.
Of course, Woods hits less than 57 percent of his fairways and ranks outside of the top 150 on tour in driving accuracy, so the conservative approach isnt the worst option.
Phil Mickelson is the only member of the 'Big 4' in this week's field. In addition to Tiger's absence, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els are not making the short trip from Irving, Texas, site of last week's EDS Byron Nelson Championship, to Ft. Worth.
Singh last played in 2002 ' which may have something to do with that Annika thing. And Ernie Els hasnt played here since 1996.
But the Colonial is not without some recognizable names. Eighteen of the top 30 players on the Official World Golf Ranking are on hand. And many come for the Colonial challenge.
Sure, you cant hit driver every hole, but who says you have to? questioned Texan Justin Leonard. I certainly dont think this golf course is outdated. Its a nice break from a lot of the golf courses that we play.
Now, do I think we should play these kinds of courses every week? No. But I think we should play more golf courses like this where its more of a strategy and you do have to work the ball around and do those kinds of things.
Colonials list of past champions includes, among others: Sam Snead, Cary Middlecoff, Billy Casper, Tom Weiskopf, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price, Tom Watson, and, of course, Ben Hogan.
Hogan won five times at Colonial, and the venue is nicknamed Hogans Alley. He is renown as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, ball-striker of all-time, so it should come as little surprise that he won so many times on a shot-makers course.
Its a great old course. Its not lost to the test of time, said 2003 champion Kenny Perry. It doesnt hold a back seat to anything.
And theres so much tradition and history here.
Perry is just one of several players who have a history of passing the annual exam that is Colonial Country Club.
Five for the Title:
Kenny Perry
Perry has made 14 cuts in 15 career starts in this tournament. In addition to his 2003 triumph, he tied for second in 2002 and tied for 12th in his title defense a year ago. He prevailed two years ago ' flying under the radar that was focused on Annika Sorenstam ' with a tournament record 19-under-par 261. He shot a course-record-tying 9-under 61 in the second round en route to victory. But, as Perry points out: There was no wind, and they were having to water the greens to keep them alive from the heat and humidity. And the conditions were just perfect for scoring. Normal Texas conditions returned last year and Steve Flesch won with an 11-under 269 total ' ending some of the speculation that Colonial had indeed become outdated for the modern player.
Justin Leonard
Justin Leonard
Justin Leonard has never missed a cut in 11 starts at the Colonial.
Since winning the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in January, Leonard has three missed cuts and has yet to record another top-10 finish. Hes never won at Colonial, but he also has never missed a cut. He is 11-for-11 in cuts made in Ft. Worth. He was runner-up to Perry in 2003, when he also shot 61 in the final round. The Dallas native has only three finishes in his career outside of the top 20 in this event.
Phil Mickelson
Mickelson has competed in 11 of the last 12 Colonials. He won here in 2000 and was runner-up the following year. He tied for 35th last year, which was his worst finish when making the cut (he's made nine of 11 cuts). Mickelson tied for 14th last week. It was his first finish outside the top 10 since The Players Championship. In 11 events this season, Lefty has three wins and seven top-10s.
Jim Furyk
You should be hearing Furyks name a lot over the next few months. He loves this time of year, and has the record to prove it ' including at Colonial. He had to skip this tournament a year ago while recovering from wrist surgery, but he tied for fifth in his last appearance in 2003. He was also runner-up in 98. Furyk, who has a pair of runner-up finishes in his last three starts on tour, has four top-10s in nine career Colonial starts.
Stewart Cink
Like Leonard, Cink has always finished what he started at Colonial. Cink has made eight cuts in eight starts here. He tied for second in 2000, and has ended in the top 15 each of the last two years. Cink started the season promisingly with back-to-back top-5s, and then made it to the quarterfinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. But he has only one top-10 in his last seven starts. Still, he has yet to miss a cut this season.
Playing Out the Front Nine
Four more players to keep an eye on
*Steve Flesch, who is the defending champion. Flesch was the only player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s last year. He earned his second career tour title by defeating Chad Campbell by a stroke, doing so on his 37th birthday. Flesch is 7-for-7 in cuts made here and has two other top-10s to go along with his win; however, Hogan is the only player to successfully defend his title in this event, doing so in 1947 and again in 1953.
*Fred Funk, who has also never missed a cut in 14 career starts; though, he has twice withdrawn. If accuracy is the key at Colonial then you might expect Funk to have a good record here ' and he does. He tied for second in 1999 and tied for ninth in 2003. Another top-10 this week and it would be his first since capturing The Players Championship.
*Sergio Garcia, who won this event in 2001. Garcia finished first in his Colonial debut, but has since missed two cuts and tied for 35th. After blowing a six-stroke lead in the final round of the Wachovia Championship, he tied for 35th last week in his Byron Nelson title defense.
*Tom Byrum, who used to receive instruction from Hogan at Shady Oaks. Byrum doesnt have a top-10 this year and has only one sub-70 round since Pebble Beach; however, he has made the cut in nine of his last 10 starts at Colonial and tied for 14th last year.
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    Garcia among notables to miss FedExCup playoffs

    By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 10:24 pm

    For the first time in the 12-year history of the FedExCup, the PGA Tour's postseason will proceed without Sergio Garcia.

    The former Masters champ has struggled mightily this summer, missing the cut in all four majors, and he entered the Wyndham Championship at No. 131 in the season-long points race with only the top 125 making the playoffs. Six years after winning at Sedgefield Country Club, Garcia again made a run up the leaderboard and was projected to reach No. 122 heading into the final round.

    But on an afternoon where Brandt Snedeker shot 65 en route to victory and runner-up Webb Simpson carded a 62, Garcia shot an even-par 70 that included three back-nine bogeys to drop from a tie for eighth into a tie for 24th. As a result, he moved up only three spots to No. 128 in the final regular-season event and will not have a tee time next week at The Northern Trust.

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    He will remain fully exempt next year by virtue of the five-year exemption he earned with his Masters win last spring.

    Garcia was one of 13 players who had made the playoffs every year since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007. Two other members of that select group also saw their streaks end this year, as former world No. 1 Luke Donald has missed most of the season with an injury while Bill Haas finished No. 152 after a T-45 finish at Wyndham.

    Other notable players who failed to crack the top 125 include veterans Aaron Baddeley (No. 132), Shane Lowry (No. 140), David Lingmerth (No. 143) and Graeme McDowell (No. 144), all of whom saw multiple-year exemptions for victories in 2015 or 2016 expire this weekend in Greensboro.

    Players who finish Nos. 126-200 in the season-long points will have an opportunity to retain their PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season at the Tour Finals, a four-event series that kicks off next week in Ohio. Players who finished Nos. 126-150 will retain at least conditional PGA Tour status for next year regardless of their Finals performance.

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    Bryant wins Dick's Sporting Goods Open for second time

    By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 10:17 pm

    ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Bart Bryant made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win the Dick's Sporting Goods Open for the second time in six years.

    With playing partner Michael Bradley facing a 7-foot birdie putt that he would make, the 55-year-old Bryant rolled in the left-to-right breaking putt for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke victory.

    ''It felt good. It really did,'' Bryant said. ''He hit a great shot in there. He went after the pin, which he had to do. ... I gave it a good run. But to make a putt like that to win a tournament, there's a little bit of luck involved and it was just kind of my day. ... I've had putts made on me on 18 to lose before, so it's nice to be on the other end of the stick this time.''

    Bradley, the second-round leader, bogeyed the par-4 15th in a 68.

    ''It was fun. We had a good time,'' Bradley said. ''He shot 65-65 on the weekend, that's tough to beat. But I put a little pressure on, I hit a good shot into 18. He made a hell of a putt.''

    Also the 2013 winner at En-Joie Golf Club, Bryant made six birdies in a nine-hole stretch from the third to the 11th and had six straight pars before the winning birdie putt on the par-4 18th.

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    ''I played awfully well, I didn't hit a bad shot today,'' Bryant said. ''I played conservatively, a little bit conservative coming in, but smart. It got the job done. Very pleased with the way everything went.''

    Bryant finished at 16-under 200. The three-time PGA Tour winner's only senior victories have come at En-Joie, the site of the PGA Tour's B.C. Open from 1972-2005.

    The 52-year-old Bradley is winless on the 50-and-over tour after winning four times on the PGA Tour.

    ''I played solid, 65-68-68,'' Bradley said. ''I just got beat.''

    Tom Gillis (67) and Marco Dawson (68) tied for third at 13 under, a stroke ahead of Paul Goydos (65), Kenny Perry (67) and Mark Calcavecchia (67).

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    Snedeker goes wire-to-wire for first win since 2016

    By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 10:12 pm

    Even after shooting a 59 in the opening round, Brandt Snedeker had to work to secure his ninth career victory at the Wyndham Championship.

    Snedeker led at Sedgefield Country Club the entire week after becoming just the ninth player to break 60 on the PGA Tour, carrying a one-shot lead into the final round. But he was caught down the stretch, first by C.T. Pan and later by Webb Simpson, to leave the outcome very much undecided.

    But Simpson ran out of holes, and Pan made a costly mistake by hitting his tee shot on No. 18 out of bounds while holding a share of the lead. It meant that Snedeker needed only bogey to earn his second Wyndham title and first Tour victory since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open, instead opting to sink a 20-foot birdie putt for a closing 65 and three-shot win.

    "I guess I'm turning into Bubba Watson, wanting to cry every two seconds," Snedeker told reporters. "To do it here, to shoot 59 on Thursday, to be in the lead all week, to deal with that pressure every night, to be able to step up to the plate today and shoot 65 when I had to means the world to me."

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    Snedeker struggled with injury for much of last season, and this spring he missed the Masters for the first time since 2010 while toiling near the edge of the top-125 bubble in the points race. But the veteran turned things around with a T-6 finish in Memphis in June, added a T-3 finish last month at The Greenbrier and now has come full circle in the city where he earned his first career win at nearby Forest Oaks in 2007.

    "I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was," Snedeker said. "I've still got a lot of great golf in me. I'm excited about the FedExCup playoffs. I've done this before, I've won that thing, and I can't wait to try to make a run to Atlanta in the playoffs because I'm playing great."

    It was a bittersweet result for Pan, who had his wife on the bag this week and briefly appeared poised for a breakthrough victory. The former University of Washington standout made six birdies in a 12-hole stretch in the middle of his round to catch Snedeker, but his drive on No. 18 sailed well right. It led to a double bogey, and at 18 under he ended the week tied for second with Simpson.

    The result was still Pan's best of his young PGA Tour career, having started the week at No. 108 in the points race despite not having a single top-10 finish this season.

    "Just had a little noise in my head and it caused me to hit a bad shot," Pan said. "But overall I feel good about the whole round. I played great. Just one bad shot, but that's OK."

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    Taylor crashes playoffs with closing 63 at Wyndham

    By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 9:31 pm

    Nick Taylor picked a good time to shoot his best round of the season.

    Taylor was the big mover in the standings during the final regular season event, shooting a final-round 63 at the Wyndham Championship to grab a share of eighth place. The result moved the Canadian from No. 129 to No. 121 in the season-long points race, ensuring a spot in The Northern Trust next week and fully-exempt status for the 2018-19 season.

    "You try to block it all out when you're playing. I tried not to look at any leaderboards today, especially the second 18," Taylor told reporters. "When I got my PGA Tour card the first time I shot a 63 in the final round ironically of the Finals. So I tried to draw back on that, and it worked today."

    Taylor earned his lone PGA Tour win at the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship, and he dug himself an early hole Sunday morning with a triple bogey on No. 14 while completing his rain-delayed third round. But he made four straight birdies on Nos. 2-5 in the final round, added an eagle on No. 15 and birdied the 72nd hole to retain his card with room to spare.

    "It was a long day, obviously," Taylor said. "It was a lot of sleepless nights. Last night I didn't sleep that great."

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    Taylor was one of two players who moved inside the top-125 bubble in the final round of the regular season. Harris English started the week at No. 132, but a T-11 finish allowed him to eke in at No. 124 with no room to spare. English shot a final-round 68 that included a two-putt par from 60 feet on No. 18 when a bogey would have sent the veteran to Tour Finals.

    "It's one of the more nerve-wracking feelings I've had in a long time," English said. "It's a way different feeling than trying to win a tournament. I'm glad it's over."

    With Taylor and English moving into the top 125, two players saw their seasons come to an end after missing the cut at Sedgefield Country Club. Martin Piller fell from 124th to 126th and was the man edged out by English's closing par, while Tyrone Van Aswegen dropped two spots from No. 125 to No. 127.

    Ireland's Seamus Power, who also missed the cut in Greensboro, finished the season at No. 125 with 377 points, six ahead of Piller.

    All players who finished the season Nos. 126-200 on the points list will have a chance to earn one of 25 PGA Tour cards available at the four-event Finals, while Nos. 126-150 will retain conditional PGA Tour status for next season.