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It’s Still Colonial To Me



– The Crowne Plaza Invitational Is Upon Us –

No disrespect to the tournament sponsor but rarely will the words – Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial roll off my lips. For myself and millions of others this week’s tournament will always carry a single name – Colonial. 

With it, that moniker brings visions of one man, so revered in golf circles that even neophytes of today are familiar with his name – Ben Hogan.

If you have ever been to Ft. Worth you will understand the significance of Ben Hogan, and golf in general, there.   In a place where people are comfortable to talk about cattle, oil, and just about any other wide-ranging subject golf has a special place in their hearts.  A lot of that has to do with the pride of knowing that two of the world’s greatest golf champions, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, got their starts in “Cowtown.”

Nelson, the quiet and humble man was always respected but it was “The Hawk,” Ben Hogan who was always larger than life.

Take the Colonial National Invitational, as it known when it was founded in 1946.  Hogan went out and won the first two installments of the tournament, eventually becoming a record 5-time champion.  Shady Oaks Golf Club, just a few miles down the road, might have been Hogan’s membership home but he just about “owned” Colonial Country Club .  His name will forever be tied with the place and the statue of him by the clubhouse is testament to it.

Colonial Country Club was a perfect golf course for the talents of Mr. Hogan.  Requiring thoughtful precision at all times it is a test that demands a lot of any professional who has hopes of winning on it.

Last year that honor went to Steve Stricker, who will be in the field this week but will carry six weeks of rust in his bag after a shoulder injury put him on the sidelines.

Being an invitational this week the field is slightly smaller but blessed with plenty of depth in the talent department,

Yes, Phil Mickelson is in the field this week and he did Houdini his way to a Colonial win in 2008 but it would be hard to say he is a great pick to grab another “Crowne”.  The tight thoroughfares at Colonial that bend it places you least expect or desire, require winners to hit it straight when they need it and shape it by request as well.

You don’t have to look much further than one of last year’s playoff participants that lost out to Stricker, Tim Clark as a must watch for the week.   The combination of last year’s finish and his recent The Players victory are certain signs that he could again be in contention.

 Two others to keep an eye on will be Brian Gay, a native of Ft. Worth who has missed just 2 cuts in 11 starts here and has won on layouts like Harbour Town, a place that demands similar shots as Colonial.

You can also never discount Justin Leonard, who has yet to win in 16 starts but has five career top-tens and fired 61 in the final round in 2003 on his way to a runner-up finish.

It’s time for another week to hear all those great Ben Hogan stories again and one player will get the honor of being forever tied to the one of the game’s great artists.

For a true golf professional, that probably means a lot more than what any Fed Ex points or winner’s check can provide.

It is “Colonial” after all.

This report provided to by Flagstick Golf Magazine (

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Tour Rundown: McIlroy returns to the winner’s circle in fashion



Golf fans everywhere had another week of Tiger Woods to spike the enthusiasm meter, and the resurgent cat did not disappoint. We’ll look into him in greater depth below. Four events were contested across the professional golfing globe, and each result earned our attention. As the major season draws ever closer, let’s run down the triumvirate of tournaments that ran past Pi Day and the Ides of March in 2018.

McIlroy returns to winner’s circle at Arnold Palmer Invitational

With Henrik Stenson, Woods and McIlroy all in the mix on Sunday afternoon, a return to the podium by one of the game’s current greats was nearly assured. McIlroy took charge in the middle of the back nine, with birdies on holes 13-16. That magnificent stretch vaulted the 4-time major champion to 17-under par, 3 shots clear of pursuers Stenson, Justin Rose and Bryson DeChambeau. At his heels, however, DeChambeau called out “not so fast!” as he closed within a stroke with an eagle at the 16th. McIlroy answered “I can’t hear you,” with another birdie of his own at the 18th, to reach 18-under. When Bryson failed to birdie 17 or 18, the title was McIlroy’s. The young Californian stood alone in 2nd place, 2 behind the champion and 1 clear of Stenson (70 for a 14-under total) and Rose (67.)

Related: Rory McIlroy’s Winning WITB

It seems like every contender was subjected to the chiding of a certain announcer, all weekend long. In McIlroy’s case, the solo debate centered on his fitness and musculature. No doubt that mid-20s Rors bears little resemblance to the curly-haired, younger version of himself. This assessment is off the mark; what ultimately matters is the putter, and it knows no muscle. McIlroy made putt after putt down the stretch, in addition to his chip-in on the 15th, and that was the difference. 8 birdies, 0 bogeys…that combination is hard to eclipse on a Sunday, in Florida, at the King’s palace.

Tiger Woods inches closer

By the numbers, the 14-time major champion needed to go 11 deep on Sunday to make a run at the title. An opening nine of 34, marred by a bogey at the 9th, made that outcome unlikely. As he stood on the 16th tee, Woods was 5-under on the day, and in the mix. Knowing that he needed eagle, his quest for a long drive ended out of bounds, leading to a bogey 6 on the hole. With his chances gone, Woods bogeyed 17 to finish minus-10 on the week, tied for 5th place with Ryan Moore. Tiger had solid rounds on 3 of 4 days, but his even-par 72 on Friday was too much to overcome. The field did its best to welcome him to the title chase with banal play in round 3, but Woods is still not yet Woods of yore. His Sunday was strong, but it needed to be perfect. His two mistakes (bogeys at 9 and 16) represented miscues that the legendary Tiger would not have allowed. The first bogey, at the 9th hole, was his second of the week there. Woods was 3-under for the day, and could not afford to give back a stroke. On 16, a hole that played like a short par four most of the day, Woods essentially double-bogeyed with his 6. When Woods does win again, both of those mistakes will have been eliminated.

LPGA Founders Cup to Inbee Park

She had the low round of the week on day two, she ran 4 consecutive birdies on Sunday’s back nine to stake her claim, and Inbee Park served notice that she is every bit the 19-event winner. After a slow start (1 birdie and 11 pars) to the final round, Park caught fire and won by 5 strokes over Marina Alex, Laura Davies and Ariya Jutanugarn. Both Alex and Davies had a chance to grab solo second, but each bogeyed the final hole. Park made history in 2016, when she won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Brasil. The Founders Cup was her first tour victory since last spring’s HSBC Women’s Championship. Of the runners-up, Alex stands out by virtue of having never won a professional title. The Vanderbilt alum has been in the mix in 2 of 3 events this season. Two weeks ago, she finished with 77 to drop out of contention. This week’s effort certainly advanced her confidence to close the deal one day soon. As for the only holder of knighthood in the field, the ageless Dame Laura Davies continues to demonstrate that natural gifts will always have their place in professional sport. Until this week, her last top-five finish came in 2014. Does she have one last victory in her? Here’s hoping!

Unheralded Polland claims first PGA Tour Latinoamerica title

Ben Polland completed his schooling in 2013 at North Carolina’s Campbell University, then set out to make a name on the professional tours of the world. He ranked 189th on the 2017 Web money list, compelling him to return to Q-School at season’s end, then beginning 2018 on the PGA Tour’s Latin America circuit. Polland’s only professional victory of note was the 2015 Bermuda Open, and his dossier lists his current affiliation as an assistant professional at Long Island’s Deepdale Club. Given all that, why shouldn’t he shoot consecutive rounds of 65, on his way to victory in the Guatemala Open?

Polland began the final round with a 3-stroke advantage over Bryan Martin, but the challenger sank fast with 73, ending in a tie for 7th. Tyler McCumber was 4 behind at dawn’s first light, but he also had his struggles on the day, dropping a slot to a 4th-place tie. Matt Gilchrest improved 11 strokes from day 1 (74) to day 2 (63) and might have won the event had Thursday been kinder. He closed with weekend rounds of 67-68 to finish tied for 2nd, 4 behind Polland. Tied with Gilchrest was Skyler Finnell, who play solid, upper-60s golf all week long. Had the putter warmed up enough to drop him to the mid or lower 60s on any given day, Finnell would have also given Polland some discomfort.

Jeffrey Kang follows Q-School win with tournament title on PGA Tour China Series

Jeffrey Kang, a Californian of Korean descent, didn’t like his chances after opening with 75 at the Chengdu Championship. After subsequent rounds of 63-66-64, Kang sat atop the field, champion of the season-opening event of the 2018 schedule. Kang’s final round, the low of the day, separated him from the field by 5 strokes. third-round leader Shunyat Hak stumbled out of the gate on day 4, making bogey on the par-5 first hole. The remained of the day was birdie-bogey trade-off, resulting in a 73 for -14, and a tie for 5th. The biggest threat to Kang was William Harold, who signed for a 5-under 31 on the outward half. Harold hit a wall, however, stringing 9 consecutive pars to end his day. Against Kang’s inward 9 of -4 32, 36 was simply not good enough.

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In contention, Tiger blew one OB on the 16th hole at Bay Hill



“For a moment, it looked like it was going to be Tiger Woods’ day,” NBC anchor Dan Hicks intoned late during Sunday’s final-round telecast of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Rory McIlroy, pouring in birdies, winning for the first time on the PGA Tour since the 2016, is the story at Bay Hill this week. That said, when Tiger Woods birdied the 13th hole to get within one stroke of the lead, it looked like we could be party to a very different Sunday story.

The story, that of Woods’ potential 80th PGA Tour went, went off the rails with a pulled tee shot at the 16th hole that sailed out of bounds. After the round, Woods admitted to not fully committing to a shot shape at the 16th hole.

Speaking with Steve Sands, Woods indicated he was deciding between a left-to-right slider off the tee, bombing his driver (presumably right to left), and hitting a 3-wood. He was somewhere between options one and two when he pulled the trigger, and the result was a foul ball left.

Woods limped home after the bogey five at the 16th with a bogey at the par-three 17th. After a poor tee shot at the 18th hole, Woods played short of the green with his second and got up and down for par and a final-round three-under 69 and a tie for fifth at 10 under par.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner was five shots behind Henrik Stenson to begin the day. He birdied both the par-5 fourth and par-5 sixth holes before adding another birdie at the par-4 eighth. Woods rebounded from a bogey at the ninth with a birdie at the 10th.

A sand save at the par-5 12th moved Woods to 11 under, and rolling one in from 13 feet at the par-4 13th got him to one off the lead.

After pars at the 14th and 15th holes, Woods imploded with the already discussed out-of-bounds effort off the tee.

Ultimately, with Rory McIlroy finishing at 17 under par, Woods was never going to win this tournament; he’d have needed a final-round 61 just to tie McIlroy. However, looking ahead to Augusta, fans won’t be encouraged by his stumble down the stretch or his performance off the tee–Woods was 71st in strokes gained: tee-to-green, losing 3.526 strokes to the field.

The other side of the coin, of course, most positively, is Woods played his second tournament in as many weeks and remains unhindered by his surgically repaired back. He was 19th in strokes gained: approach, second in strokes gained: around-the-green, and eight in strokes gained: putting for the week.

Woods isn’t expected to tee it up before the Masters (April 5), where he’ll be seeking his fifth green jacket.

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Rory McIlroy’s Winning WITB: 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational



Driver: TaylorMade M3 460 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange 70TX

3 Wood: TaylorMade M3 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80TX

5 Wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax P95X

Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4), TaylorMade “Rors Proto” P-730 (5-9)
Shafts: Project X 7.0

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (48, 52 and 58 degrees), Taylormade Hi-Toe (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade TP Collection Black Copper Soto (with slant neck)

Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x


Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about McIlroy’s clubs.

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19th Hole