Since it’s inception in 1946 The Colonial has been played on the same course and the layout has changed little over the years. When Texas native Ben Hogan won the first Colonial Invitational the course measured 7,035 yards. This year the layout will play 7,204 (it’s been extended by 150 yards since last season.) Hogan dominated the early years of this event winning five times between 1946 and 1959. Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson have also lifted the title.
There’s a strong British contingent in the field this week with some very realistic hopes of success. Brian Davis is enjoying an exceptional run of form – he’s been in the top five in each of his last three starts. Fresh off his PGA championship victory at Wentworth, Paul Casey will be looking for his second win in Texas in 2009. Luke Donald is also coming onto some good form and he loves classic layouts like Colonial.
Last season, Phil Mickelson played one of the shots of the season on the final hole of the tournament – he blasted a wedge from heavy rough to set up a birdie that won him the title by a single shot from Rod Pampling and Tim Clark.
Unfortunately, as Phil’s wife Amy was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, he won’t be at Colonial Country Club to defend his title.
Venue: Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas
Date: May 28-31
Course stats: par 70, 7,204 yards
Purse: $6,200,000, Winner: $1,116,000
Defending champion: Phil Mickelson (-14)
Thursday 28th – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Friday 29th – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Saturday 30th – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Sunday 31st – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Kenny Perry – He’s won this event twice since 2002 and finished second once. He’s still playing solid golf and will surely feature come Sunday afternoon.
Rory Sabbatini – The South African played brilliantly to capture last week’s Byron Nelson Championship and was a winner at Colonial in 2007. He’s a streaky player so will look to continue his good form at a course he clearly enjoys.
Jim Furyk – Twice a runner-up at Colonial, the ever-consistent Furyk is overdue a victory. This tight, strategic course could be the place he ends the drought.
Key hole: 12th. At 445 yards, the hole has been extended by 30 yards for this year’s tournament. It played as the toughest hole on the back nine before it was lengthened so it might well pose some problems this week. The fairway is a dog-leg to the left and demands an accurate tee-shot. The approach generally plays into the wind and the green is well protected by bunkers.
Skills required: Ball-striking. Solid and accurate iron shots will be the key to success at Colonial both for position from the tee and to the tightly guarded greens.