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Preview: PGA Tour’s Crowne Plaza Invitational

Preview – PGA Tour — Crowne Plaza Invitational – Colonial Country Club – Fort Worth, Texas —

The PGA Tour’s Crowne Plaza Invitational tees off Thursday at Colonial Country Club featuring Hogan’s Alley and one of the toughest three-hole stretches in golf at the “Terrible Horseshoe.”

The historic venue and event is home to the legendary Ben Hogan, who won five times here. Stretching to just over 7,000 yards, this par-70 layout features a rich history and a variety of past champions and playing styles including Hogan, Zach Johnson, Boo Weekley, Adam Scott, Kenny Perry, Corey Pavin and Sergio Garcia.

Masters champion Jordan Spieth, a Texas native, is the headliner and overall favorite this week at No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He has two wins this season and a pair of Top 15s at Colonial in his young career. He is rested after a missed cut at THE PLAYERS. He’s the only Top 10 competing. World No. 11 Scott, 12th-ranked Jimmy Walker and late addition Patrick Reed, who is 15th in the world, are playing.

International players are also making a run at Colonial including Ian Poulter, making his first appearance since 2010. He has made 10 of 11 cuts this season on tour and contending at a couple of PGA Tour events for a victory. Paul Casey and former major champions Scott, Geoff Ogilvy and Louis Oosthuizen are also in the field.

Northern winds are expected to throw a curve ball this week. Look for a 8-, 9- or 10-under tally to contend and perhaps win.

2014 Recap:

  • Scott (9-under) won the title on the third playoff hole against Jason Dufner. At one point in the final round, 10 players had a share of the lead at Colonial. Scott shot 66-66 on the weekend. Dufner logged four rounds in the 60s but was turned away. Freddie Jacobson and Nicolas Thompson were T-3 at 8-under, while David Toms, John Senden and Ryan Palmer logged T-5 finishes.

Recent champions have been Americans including Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker. Rory Sabbatini won here in 2007 and Tim Clark has been a runner-up here in 2008 and 2009.

Golf Channel has television coverage Thursday and Friday with CBS Sports taking the reigns on the weekend.

FANTASY: Control players are usually great picks at Colonial as several hybrids and driving irons find their way into players’ bags. Johnson has a pair of wins here and finished in the Top 10 from 2009 to 2013 at this venue. Consider Spieth, the top ranked player in the field at No. 2. His control game is ideally suited for Colonial, but Spieth’s record in his home state of Texas is iffy. Take Kevin Na this week. He has five Top 25s at Colonial and is trending with six straight stroke-play events with a Top 20 on tour. He also have made 13 of 15 cuts this season.

BETTORS:  While Spieth is the favorite at www.ladbrokes.com at 5-to-1 odds to win, but consider taking Palmer at 25-1. Palmer has more than 10 years experience at this venue and finished T-5 here in 2012 and 2014. Zach, at 14-1, is a play with this history at Colonial. Take a flier on Senden, who was T-5 in 2014. Senden was T-5 at Match Play and T-8 at THE PLAYERS. He also has three Top 10s at Colonial. Senden is 50-1 so the payoff is big. Chris Kirk, second in the FedEx Cup a season ago, is a great pick at this venue with three Top 20s. He is 33-1.

The Golf Channel has coverage Thursday and Friday with CBS Sports handling television Saturday and Sunday.

Other Golf News:

  • The European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship tees of Thursday with Rory McIlroy the headliner and betting favorite at 2 1/2-1 odds to win. He has two recent wins including the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and the Wells Fargo Championship. Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald are also playing.
  • Reed is not making friends in Europe. He withdrew Monday from the BMW PGA Championship siting “family reasons” but appeared in the field for the PGA Tour’s Crowne Plaza Invitational in Texas.
  • Bernhard Langer (5 1/2-1 odds) is the favorite this week, according to www.skybet.com, to capture the Champions Tour’s Senior PGA Championship — the second major of the tour’s season. Tom Lehman, Colin Montgomerie and Jeff Maggert — last week’s winner — are also among the favorites.