Can Browne emulate Hogan?

Olin Browne looks to defend the Colonial, only Ben Hogan has done so previously....

Wed, 17 May 2000
Can Browne emulate Hogan?

In the 52 years that MasterCard Colonial has been played, only Ben Hogan has defended successfully. And Hogan did so twice. Hogan captured the inaugural event at Colonial Country Club in 1946, then followed up in 1947. He again won consecutively in 1952- 53. For good measure, Hogan added a fifth Colonial title in 1959.

Can Olin Browne match Hogan by becoming the second successful defender?

Entering this week’s play in Ft. Worth, TX, Browne owns two PGA TOUR victories. The first, at the 1998 Canon Greater Hartford Open, came in a playoff with Stewart Cink and Larry Mize. Last year’s win came in the face of a 6- man rush, resulting in a one-stroke victory over Fred Funk, Paul Goydos, Tim Herron, Greg Kraft and Jeff Sluman.

A final-round 66 brought Browne from three strokes off Kraft’s 54-hole lead, fashioned by a course-record-tying, 9-under-par 61 in the third round.

The last player to repeat on TOUR was Carlos Franco, the 1999 COMPAQ Classic of New Orleans champion, who defended that title two weeks ago.

NO. 53: This week’s tournament is the 53rd playing of the MasterCard Colonial, all of which have been held at Colonial CC. The tournament, which began in 1946 as the Colonial National Invitation Tournament, has been played in all but two years since its inception. The 1949 tournament was canceled due to inclement weather, and in 1975 Colonial served as host to the Tournament Players Championship (now THE PLAYERS Championship). In 1989, the name changed to the Southwestern Bell Colonial and stayed that way until 1995, when it became the Colonial National Invitation. The following year it switched to its current title, the MasterCard Colonial.

MULTIPLE WINNERS: Seven players, led by Ben Hogan’s five titles, have won the MasterCard Colonial more than once. The others, all of whom have won two each, are Julius Boros, Ben Crenshaw, Lee Trevino, Corey Pavin, Bruce Lietzke and Billy Casper. Al Geiberger also has won twice at Colonial, the second victory coming at the 1975 Tournament Players Championship (now THE PLAYERS CHampionship).

PAVIN IS NO. 1: Corey Pavin, who tied for 11th last year, retained his spot at the top of the all-time MasterCard Colonial money list. Pavin has earned $737,833 in 16 starts. He is followed by Tom Watson ($637,857, 22 starts), Jeff Sluman ($606,498, 12), David Frost ($510,316, 15) and Olin Browne, last year’s champion ($504,000, 2).

MEN OF THE ‘90S: Although neither has ever won a MasterCard Colonial, Fred Funk and Kirk Triplett liked something about Colonial CC during the ‘90s. Both players made nine consecutive cuts at the tournament from 1991-99. Funk’s best finish was a tie for second last year, while Triplett has finished no higher than a tie for 15th. Over that period, Funk has earned $257,944.50 – slightly more than double Triplett’s $126,386.62. Tom Kite, the only other golfer to make nine cuts during the ‘90s (1990-93, 1995-99), has made 26 of 26 cuts over the years, making him the leader in that category at the MasterCard Colonial.

FIRST TIME IS THE CHARM: Five players have captured their first PGA TOUR victory at Colonial CC: Roberto De Vicenzo (1957), Dave Stockton (1967), Rod Curl (1974), Keith Clearwater (1987) and Ian Baker-Finch (1989).

CHAMPIONS’ CHOICES: Two players are selected to play each year based upon a decision by the former champions of the MasterCard Colonial. Since 1953, 90 golfers have been selected as Champions’ Choices, and last year Olin Browne became the sixth former selection to win. The others: Dan Pohl, Dave Stockton, Tom Weiskopf, Al Geiberger and Mike Souchak. Of the six, only Dave Stockton won during his actual selection year – 1967.

EAGLES HAVE LANDED: Olin Browne joined exclusive company by making his third eagle of the tournament during last year’s final round of the MasterCard Colonial. Browne tied the event record of three eagles set by Fuzzy Zoeller in 1978. Additionally, in 52 previous Colonials, only five men had scored two or more eagles in the same year. That number doubled last year as Stuart Appleby, David Frost, Tom Lehman and Scott Verplank joined Browne. Browne was the only member of that group who recorded two eagles during the same round.

EXTRA TIME: There have been seven playoffs in MasterCard Colonial history, including two in the ‘90s. The last two were in 1994, when Nick Price defeated Scott Simpson with a birdie on the first extra hole, and in 1992, when Bruce Lietzke defeated Corey Pavin with a birdie on the first extra hole.