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Sunday, May 26, 2013
Notebook: Corpening ties year's low round

By Randy Jennings

FORT WORTH, Texas -- In a week of exceptional rounds by those with close ties to Colonial Country Club, Franklin Corpening’s 8-under 62 on Sunday morning might have been best of all.

Franklin Corpenin
Fort Worth native Franklin Corpening on Sunday made nine birdies, only one bogey and exceptional saves on his final two holes.
The Fort Worth native and TCU product equaled this year’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial low round that, coincidently, came from Colonial member and Colleyville, Texas, resident Ryan Palmer on Thursday.

Corpening, 28, made nine birdies, only one bogey and exceptional saves on his final two holes. He was rewarded with a hero’s reception after sinking his final putt, a 16-footer for par.

"The feeling is unbelievable to have so many friends, family members and club members out here," he said. “It was just a blessing, the whole situation.”

His tee shot drifted well wide of the fairway on No. 18, with trees, a pond and a scoreboard between him and a pin cut on the left side of the green.

"I actually had a pretty good line to the green and didn’t hit it very good but got super lucky," Corpening said. The shot finished 20 yards short of the green, in front of a trap.

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Boo Weekley, winner of the 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to share some great stories.

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After his chip shot, he allowed himself a peak at the scoreboard.

"I saw I was top 10 and said, 'Let’s just get this one for good old time sakes.' I hit a great putt and it went in."

Corpening finished in a four-way tie for 14th.

That old feeling: Crowne Plaza Invitational winner Boo Weekley admitted that giving up golf crossed his mind a lot in five winless campaigns.

But walking down the first fairway on Sunday, Weekley remembered what it felt like to be in contention in the final round.

"These butterflies feel good," Weekley said. "It felt good to have them again knowing that I have an opportunity to win this thing."

PODCAST
Annika Sorenstam joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what it was like to play in the Colonial, the state of the game of golf and whether she thinks Tiger Woods will break Jack Nicklaus' record.

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Wedge malfunctions: Runner-up Matt Kuchar lamented that he couldn’t get close with wedge shots in Sunday’s closing round. Kuchar made only three birdies, and his final one came after Weekley had already locked up the title.

"I feel like those are clubs that I can‘t wait to get in my hands, and today I just didn‘t; wasn‘t tight enough with the wedges," Kuchar, who finished 13-under, said. “No. 11 and No. 15 come to mind. A couple of the front side. The first hole was one."

"It is a tough pill to swallow when you wind up one shot short of a victory here on a course that I really, really want to put my name on that Wall of Champions," he added. "But it is great to see Boo playing great again."

Downfalls at No. 15: A chunked chip shot at the par-4 15th led to a double-bogey and proved to be the downfall for Scott Stallings. He relinquished his lead on that hole and settled for a tie for fourth at 11-under.

"Believe it or not, the approach I hit on 15 was probably the best shot I hit today and just ended up about two yards too far with an awful lie," Stallings said. “I was right where the fairway and the first cut come together, kind of a bunch of grass behind my ball and just a tough shot straight downwind."

Stallings’ chip hit the lip of the bunker and dropped into the sand. He left his first bunker shot in the sand, as well, and walked off with a six.

Defending champion Zach Johnson, a two-time winner at Colonial, also made a slip up at No. 15, when he three-putted from 65 feet for his only bogey. Johnson finished 12-under for third place, the fifth consecutive time he’s finished in the top 10 at Colonial. Only Ben Hogan has had a better run.

"What I did today was give myself a number of opportunities," Johnson, who broke par for the 19th time in his past 20 Colonial rounds, said. “I like what this golf course demands. It requires every club in your bag, every shot in your bag."

Tough stretch: Hole Nos. 3, 4 and 5 at Colonial are nicknamed the "Horrible Horseshoe." All three played over par this week and, statistically, they are the three-hardest greens to hit in regulation:

--No. 3, a 483-yard, par 4 dogleg left, played at an average of 4.16 and ranked second for fewest greens hit in regulation at 50 percent.

--No. 4, a 247-yard par 3, played to a 3.11 average. Pros managed to land tee shots on the green at a 41 percent clip.

--No. 5, a 481-yard par 4 that is bounded on the right by the Trinity River, played to a 4.18 stroke average and was the third-toughest green to hit in regulation at 50.5 percent.

It’s in the hole: Texan Bobby Gates had a hole-in-one on the 194-yard, par-3 No. 13 with a 6-iron. It was the 29th hole-in-one in the 67-year history of the event. It was the only hole Gates played under par Sunday in shooting 77.

It was the 11th hole-in-one at No. 13, the most of any hole at Colonial. Two other par threes, No. 8 (194 yards) and No. 16 (192 yards), have been aced nine times in the event.

The remaining par 3, No. 4, has never yielded a hole-in-one in the tournament.

Driver woes: When Ryan Palmer shot a 62 on Thursday, he credited an aggressive strategy of using driver at almost every opportunity. The fact that three rounds later Palmer was still 8-under means the driver gets the blame.

"I’m disappointed with the way my driver let me down this weekend," Palmer said. "I had to hit more punch shots than I have since I’ve been a member here, and you can’t do that out here."

The resident of Colleyville, Texas, nevertheless moved up to a tie for 14th with a final-round 67.

Spieth cracks top 10: In his first shot at what should be many more Crowne Plaza Invitational visits, Dallas’ 19-year-old Jordan Spieth shot 67 and finished 10-under, in a four-way tie for seventh.

"I’m happy with the way I finished off -- two birdies in the last four holes," he said. "I was really, really striving to get a top-10 [finish]. I could have very well won this golf tournament."

Spieth and Corpening, playing this year as Champion’s Choices, earn automatic invitations to the 2014 Colonial because of their top-15 finishes.

Notes: Seven days after shooting a final-round 69 to win the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Sang-Moon Bae soared to a 77 on Sunday at Colonial and landed in a tie for 76th at 6-over. … John Huh of Lewisville, Texas, who tied for eighth last week at the Nelson, fired a final-round 65 and landed in a tie for 11th. … Colleyville, Texas, resident John Rollins closed with a 68 and tied for fourth at 11-under. … Dallas’ Martin Flores, playing again before a large group of hometown supporters, closed with a 71 and finished in a tie for 14th at 8-under.