The 2013 edition of the HP Byron Nelson Championship is now officially behind us. Keegan Bradley opened the week with an incredible 60 but when the dust settled on Sunday afternoon Sang-Moon Bae earned his first PGA Tour victory carding a final round 69. This week the PGA Tour heads to a familiar venue, Colonial Country Club, for the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Colonial was opened in 1936 and designed by Perry Maxwell and John Bredemus and has been a staple in the Fort Worth area ever since.
Colonial Country Club is an important location throughout the years. This venue has paid tribute to some monumental moments in tour history. Colonial was the first course south of the Mason-Dixon Line to host a US Open in 1941. It is also the course where the first woman played in a PGA Tour event since the 1940’s when Annika Sorenstam teed it up in 2001.
The weeks Crowne Plaza Invitational will welcome eight of the world’s top 30 golfers including the defending champion, Zach Johnson, and last year’s runner-up in Jason Dufner. Of the players in the field, the highest ranked player is Matt Kuchar who is currently 12th in the World Rankings. The tournaments 72 hole record belongs to Zach Johnson in 2010 with a 259. The 18 hole record belongs to six players who all shot 61 (Keith Clearwater, Lee Jansen, Greg Kraft, Kenny Perry, Justin Leonard and Chad Campbell).
Cooks Children’s Hospital will be welcoming the tour stop as the primary charity this week. Cooks Children’s Hospital is a Fort Worth based organization that operates over 60 primary and specialty care offices throughout north Texas. In 2011 alone the PGA Tour raised over $6 million dollars to benefit charities in the area. According to the charity;
“it still embraces an inspiring promise – to improve the health of every child in its region through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury.”
Colonial on the other hand is not a charity course. It is 7,204 yard course that plays to a par of 70. This is not a “tricky” course but rather a masterful blend of tight fairways and multiple doglegs. Regardless of length players can’t just bomb it away this week. When events have nicknames for sections of the course it talks to the challenge players may face. At Augusta you have “Amen Corner”, and at Colonial you have the “Horrible Horseshoe.” This group consists of a three hole stretch on the front nine encompassing holes three, four and five. The third hole is routinely the second hardest hole on the course playing as a 483 yard par 4. This hole requires an accurate tee shot that avoids that strategically placed trees and bunkers while leaving a long second shot into a challenging green. Players that make birdie here will feel like they stole one from the field.
The fourth hole is a 247 yard par 3. Let me say that again, a 247 yard par 3. If the length of the hole is not challenging enough consider that the green on this monster is elevated and challenging to hold for the players. Colonial has hosted events for over 60 years and nobody has ever aced this hole. Number four is a hole players take par on and walk away with a smile. The fifth is statistically the most challenging of all the holes at Colonial. It plays as a 481 yard par 4 with a small landing area protected by a ditch to the left and water down the right. A narrow green awaits a long approach shot that will have players happy to walk away with par. If a player can navigate three through five under par this week you are probably looking at this year’s winner. Without a doubt this year’s winner will be worthy of being called champion after managing this course. Do you remember some of the greatest highlights at Colonial? If you need a reboot check this out.
YouTube Video Courtesy of pgatour
But who will win this week? Will someone break Zach Johnson’s record total? Will the young generation of tour players continue to make their mark in 2013? It is hard to tell but one thing is for sure, you will get drama at Colonial this week. Let’s break down some of the logical win options heading into the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
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