Rookie Garnett leads PGA Tours stop, while proven champs lurk

Weekend Update – PGA Tour – Crowne Plaza Invitational – Colonial Country Club – Fort Worth, Texas –

After opening with a 5-under-65, Dustin Johnson finds himself chasing the lead at the PGA Tour’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club.

Brice Garnett, a 29-year-old PGA Tour rookie, leads the way at 7-under. Ranked 293rd in the world, he is a long shot this week to win it. The Tour graduate attended Missouri Western State University making just 13 of 23 cuts last season.

He is 14 of 17 on the PGA Tour for 2014 including one Top 10. But, he has a host of proven champions chasing him as he sleeps on the overnight lead for the first time in his career.

Chris Stroud, who finished T-7 at Colonial last season, fired a 6-under-64 in round two to position himself into the weekend. At 6-under, he is T-2 alongside Robert Streb.

Johnson (5-under through 36 holes) was a 16-to-1 betting selection at heading into the tournament. The World No. 14 last won at the World Golf Championships — HSBC Champions in China last November.

Johnson is part of a 7-way tie at 5-under alongside FedEx Cup leader Jimmy Walker (who is bogey-free this week), Bo Van Pelt, Tim Clark, Chad Campbell, Aaron Baddeley and Brian Davis. All are past champions on the PGA Tour.

Stroud entered the week as a 100-1 long shot, but leads the field in Strokes gained Putting and Total Distance Putts Made this week with more than 335 feet in putts made through 36 holes.

World No. 1 Adam Scott, who was riding a streak of 33 straight cuts made on tour, earned a weekend tee time after grinding out a 68 on Friday. He could still lose his top ranking if Henrik Stenson finishes well across the globe in England at the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship.

Look for a changing leader board at Colonial Saturday during Moving Day. The course is always demanding. Competitors with experience at Colonial and control of their game will have the advantage.

Watch for a group at 4-under to make a move which includes Jordan Spieth (16-1 betting pick), Harris English and former PGA champion Jason Dufner. Playing out in front of the lead groups, one of these players can easily post a number and find themselves in the final pairing Sunday.

Kevin Chappell is already making a big move Saturday. He is 8-under through 13 holes and now tied for the lead with Garnett. Chappell has jumped 59 places with his round, which is approaching a 59 watch.

Garnett was a 200-1 super long shot to win heading into the week. Scott has moved into T-18 position with a couple of early birdies. The lead groups will need to continue to make birdie or tumble down the leader board.

Other Golf News:

  • LPGA Tour veteran Catriona matthew (13-under) holds a one-shot advantage over England’s Charley Hull heading into the weekend at the Airbus LPGA Classic at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Hull, an 18-year-old second-year pro and Solheim Cup hero, finished 7th at the KRAFT Nabisco Championship earlier this season.
  • Ireland’s Shane Lowry (9-under overall during round three) leads the BMW PGA Championship in the weather delayed flagship European Tour event. Overnight co-leader Thomas Bjorn is 3-over on the front nine Saturday, while Luke Donald — a two-time champion at Wentworth – is making a move.
  • Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie headline a group of six players are 4-under and co-leading through two rounds at the Champions Tour’s Senior PGA Championship.
  • Stacy Lewis (T-8) enters the third round just five back at the Airbus LPGA Classic. She has a shot to regain the Rolex Ranking No. 1 spot with a strong finish. Current No. 1 Inbee Park struggled and missed the cut.