The Crowne Plaza Invitational is an annual event on the PGA Tour and was first played in 1946. One of only five invitational events on the PGA Tour, 2015 will see the 67th edition of the tournament and due to it's status, a reduced field will contest for the tartan jacket. As it's always been since it's inception, the 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational will be held at the Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas.
The only course to have hosted the same tournament, for longer than the Colonial Country Club, is the Augusta National, home of The Masters. The Colonial requires a touch more strategy than many of the other courses on the PGA Tour and simply having a powerful tee shot is not enough to guarantee success. A par-70, tree-lined course, there are plenty of opportunities for low scoring but it's not often that you will see the players completely dominate the course. Tight fairways and 12 dog-legged holes, in addition to water on six holes, makes for an interesting weekend of golf.
The real key to being successful at the Colonial Country Club, is from tee to green. Accurate drives, allowing greens to be hit regularly, is essential for players who want to be challenging at the top of the leaderboard. With many of the greens small and tough to hit, players with a good up and down game should do well, in addition to those good with the wedge. An example of this is Zach Johnson, who has won the Crowne Plaza Invitational twice and also has three top tens, all in his last six attempts.
With Rory McIlroy away playing in Europe over the next couple of weeks, it's little surprise to see 2015 Masters champion, Jordan Spieth installed as the favourite here. Winning a tournament in Texas, must have been high on Spieth's list, along with The Masters. Having taken a break last week following a disappointing time at the Players Championship, the young American should be fresh. Having finished T7 and T14 in his previous two starts at the Colonial, the only reason not to back Spieth is the bookmakers price.
Zach Johnson, as mentioned above, has proved he has the game to do well on this course and has hit a bit form recently. This makes it almost impossible not to back the 2007 Masters winner.
Elsewhere, Texan local Ryan Palmer, who finished 5th here in 2012, also has a T2 at the Phoenix Open and T6 at the Texas Open to his name this year. Not always the most accurate off the tee, Palmer's extra advantage comes in the way of his caddy, who is a member at Colonial. That little bit of local knowledge could be enough to make the difference.
Therefore, the names we expect to feature at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon at Colonial are Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson and Ryan Palmer.