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Who is Fit to Wear the Crowne at Colonial

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.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Crowne Plaza Inviational at Colonial
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
    Information from The Sports Network was used in this story.