Golf: Jim Furyk

W2W4: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial

May, 22, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's time for the second half of the North Texas PGA Tour golf swing and that means a trip to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. It's a classic course that requires smart play off the tee and an ability to move the ball around.

Here are some golfers to watch as the tournament gets set to begin:

Zach Johnson: He's the defending champion and has won this event twice in the last three years, so you have to put him on a list of contenders. He took the lead with a first-round 64 on Thursday and ended up in a fight to the finish with Jason Dufner, who had won two of the previous four events, including the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Dufner had a triple bogey on the 15th hole, helping Johnson hang on for the victory.

Johnson has made the cut in all seven Colonials he has played and though he doesn't come in particularly hot, he's always a threat in Fort Worth. Johnson finished tied for 19th at The Players Championship a few weeks ago.

Henrik Stenson: At Colonial, it's especially important to keep the ball in the fairway and hit greens in regulation. So Stenson is a safe bet since he leads the PGA Tour in both categories. He has played in three Colonials and his best finish is tied for 27th. But his swing is solid these days and he has been playing at a high level. He was tied for fifth at The Players Championship.

Kevin Streelman: Playing the hot hand here. He won in Tampa and has three top-6 or better finishes in this four cuts made since then. Streelman finished tied for 10th in 2011, posting three straight rounds in the 60s after opening with 72. He's in the top 25 in most of the major statistical categories and is clearly feeling confident about his game.

Matt Kuchar: He has been nearly automatic when it comes to making the cut with 16 straight and counting. The question is whether he can back it up with a strong weekend to get a win. He certainly has proven he can get into contention. And he likes Colonial. Kuchar has made six straight cuts in Fort Worth. He was tied for 33rd in the HP Byron Nelson Championship last week. He was tied for eighth at the Masters in April.

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Another Colonial top 10 for Jim Furyk

May, 27, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jim Furyk finished fourth Sunday, his seventh top 10 in 17 appearances at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Furyk broke par 70 on all four rounds: 69, 69, 68 and 68 to finish 6-under.

“I’m a little disappointed with the finish,’ Furyk said. “I had some really good birdie looks on three of the last four holes and wasn’t able to convert one of the putts. I played well and solid all week. I just wished down the stretch, under the gun, I would have hit a few more good putts.’’

Is Zach Johnson's course record in jeopardy?

May, 26, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- In 2010, Zach Johnson came out of a 90-minute lightning delay and thundered to a 21-under 259 to break the 72-hole scoring record at Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial by two strokes.

Johnson and Jason Dufner, who are tied at 12-under through five holes on Saturday, are both in contention to make a run at the mark.

In 2010, almost no wind to speak of throughout the tournament served up plenty low scores. Brian Davis shot 262 and Ben Crane and Jeff Overton each shot 263. Scott Verplank and Bryce Molder each shot 264, giving 2010 six of the best 11 four-day totals in Colonial history.

This time around, players have had to deal with steady 20-mph winds and gusts better than 30 mph. Winds have seemed to die down some Saturday and the forecast for Sunday calls for lighter winds, as well.

Among players that have appeared in six to 10 Colonial tournaments, no one has navigated the track better than Johnson, who is working on 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s entering Saturday's third round. Johnson's average score in his previous six stops at Colonial is 67.79.

And nobody is playing better overall golf than Dufner, who has won two of his last three Tour starts, including last week's one-stroke win at the HP Byron Nelson.

Jim Furyk, after his round on Friday, suggested that if the fairways remain lush and the greens stay "soft and receptive," he would expect to see low scores.

W2W4: Round 3 at Colonial

May, 26, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Now things start to get serious as the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial moves to Round 3. Here's some key things to watch:

* Jim Furyk, tied for 17th place at 2-under, said the greens have been extremely "soft and receptive" in the first two rounds and that the fairways are "lush and greener" than in some years past, which is why the leaderboard is stacked with low scores. He said the grounds crew has had to keep the greens soft because of the gusty winds the first two days and he wonders if the wind dies down and the greens brown out some if scores will reflect the faster surface and go up. The forecast calls for winds to be steady at 20 mph - 30 mph today, but to be fairly calm Sunday at about 15 mph and with gusts up to 25 mph.

* Tournament leader Jason Dufner (11-under) continues his quest to become the first player since Ben Hogan in 1946 to win both Dallas-Fort Worth tournaments in the same season. Dufner won the HP Byron Nelson last week. He is also trying to become only the 15th golfer to win both tournaments at any time. Dufner tees off at 12:50 p.m. and will be paired with Zach Johnson (9-under).

* Speaking of Johnson, not only is he targeting the lead today, he will also look to extend his consecutive rounds in the 60s at Colonial. After Thursday's 64 and Friday's 67, he's up to 14 in a row.

* John Daly somewhat surprisingly made the cut for only the second time in the last seven tries, so he sticks around Fort Worth for another two days and there's nothing wrong with that. On Friday, Daly (T21st at 1-under) wore a crazy pair of orange-and-black swirl pants with a bright orange shirt (you can identify his girlfriend because she's the one wearing the matching shorts). No telling what he'll (they'll) have on today. Daly was looking pretty good until he bogeyed No. 14 and No. 15, part of a three-bogey, four-birdie Round 2. He tees off at 10:44 a.m., paired with Sergio Garcia.

* If you don't mind a pack of wildly dressed teenage boys (a bit of an exaggeration) joining the gallery, check out 23-year-old phenom Rickie Fowler (4-under). He's in contention, just seven shots back. If you're navigating the course, he's the one wearing the electric Puma ensemble. He tees off at 12:20 P.M.

* An interesting story is Tommy Gainey, who is tied for third at seven-under. The South Carolina native appeared in 2005 on the Golf Channel's "Big Break vs. Europe" and "The Reunion," sort of the golf reality TV equivalent to Dallas Cowboys receiver Jesse Holley getting a training-camp invite off of Michael Irvin's reality TV show a few years back. Gainey, 36, is the first Big Break alumnus to earn a PGA Tour card. He is looking for his first career win. He tees off at 12:40 p.m. in the second-to-last pairing, playing alongside Bo Van Pelt.

Putting practice pays for Jim Furyk

May, 25, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jim Furyk spent a tedious 20 minutes on the putting green Friday fine-tuning his stroke prior to his second-round tee time at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Furyk first putted along a line formed by a string tied to two tees. After about 10 minutes, Furyk got rid of the string and continued to putt the same right-to-left 5-footer between the tees for another several minutes.

The work appeared to pay dividends. After taking 33 putts with only three 1-putt greens in shooting a first-round 69, Furyk had five 1-putts while making an eagle and five birdies for a second 69. He’s 2-under for the tournament.

"The string is a drill I've been doing about a year,'' Furyk said after his round. "It's got me hitting the ball more solid again. ''

W2W4: Groups, holes to see at Colonial

May, 24, 2012

FORT WORTH, Texas -- It's time for the opening round of the 2012 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and there's plenty to see. Some things to keep an eye on:

* The Horseshoe (or Horrible Horsehoe, if you prefer). That's hole Nos. 3-5, which includes a long par-3. Players that get through there at even par will be happy. If you're under par, you're really gaining on the field.

* If you want to see some former Colonial winners, you can watch three of them together Thursday and Friday. David Toms, Zach Johnson and Sergio Garcia will play in a threesome at 7:43 a.m. off No. 10 tee Thursday. That should be fun.

* Rickie Fowler is worth catching a glimpse of, even if it's to see what kind of fashion statement he's making. The bonus is that you can also see Jason Dufner, the HP Byron Nelson Championship winner, and Matt Kuchar with him. For those coming Thursday afternoon, they tee off at 12:18 p.m. off the first tee.

* Three guys that like Colonial and should have chances to win this week -- Jim Furyk, Ben Crane, Sean O'Hair -- will tee off at 7:43 a.m. off the first tee.

* No. 9 is a good place to watch. Players must shoot at a pin guarded by water in front and then fans can turn and watch the tee shots off No. 10.

* Kevin Na. The man with the waggles has apparently quit doing it with a new pre-shot routine he's unveiling at Colonial. That's worth seeing. He tees off at 12:29 p.m

Player to watch: Jim Furyk

May, 23, 2012
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods aren't here, but there are some familiar names that will be taking swings at Hogan's Alley.

Player: Jim Furyk
Why he can win: Furyk has six top-10s at Colonial in his career and he's missed just one cut all year with five top-15s.
Why he might not: Furyk has missed the cut at Colonial the past two even years.
Best career finish at Colonial: Runner-up in 1998
Best 2012 finish on PGA Tour: Finished second at Transitions Championship

Hole-in-one a surprise to Jim Furyk

May, 22, 2011
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jim Furyk’s not quite sure how he aced the 204-yard eighth hole.

“If you’re going to make a hole-in-one you wouldn’t think it would be on a back right pin placement on eight,” Furyk said. “I was just trying to land something in the middle tier and if it scooted back there great. If it didn’t, I’d take a putt at it. ... I took a 3-iron and choked it up and hit a draw and held it into the wind. It came out perfect, landed right where we wanted on the second plateau and scooted up the hill. I saw the fans standing up and the ball must’ve been eight feet short and kept rolling and rolling. I figured it might go by the hole and I was like, ‘Oh, no don’t go down the back,’ and it disappeared. So it must’ve looked good to them for a long time because they stood up quick.”

Furyk also eagled the par-5 first hole and was 4-under at the turn, but he made three straight bogeys and a double-bogey to give it all back.

“I was able to birdie 16 and 18 to make it a pretty good day out here,” said Furyk, “but it leaves me believing what could have been.”