1990: Ben Crenshaw wins the Colonial Invitational by three strokes

Crenshaw

“The Colonial Country Club will always be known as Hogan’s Alley, but after the final round of the Colonial tournament in 1990, no one will argue if it’s occasionally called Crenshaw’s Corner as well.”

Exploding out of the blocks with a five-under-par 30 on the front nine, Ben Crenshaw ran away from his third-round co-leader, Curtis Strange, to coast to victory with a closing 66. His 72-hole total of eight-under 272 was three shots better than Nick Price, Corey Pavin and John Mahaffey, the runners-up.

Strange finished with an even-par 70 to tie for fifth with Mike Hulbert, four shots behind the winner.

This was Crenshaw’s 15th career title – his second victory at Colonial – was particularly satisfying because it came on one of his favorite courses. He also won here in 1977, joined five other golfers who have won the Colonial more than once, the most prominent being Ben Hogan, who won the event five times in 1946-59.

Most important, Crenshaw won for the first time since the 1988 Doral Ryder Open and registered his first top-10 finish since the World Series of Golf last August, when he lost a playoff to David Frost.

”I haven’t performed well in last rounds in a long while,” said the 38-year-old Crenshaw, who came into the event ranked 76th on the money list. He began the tournament with a new driver and a new regular caddie, Carl Jackson, who has carried Crenshaw’s bag at the Masters since 1976.

”This week, I played like a new man,” Crenshaw said. ”I felt like my swing was going to hold up. Sometimes you feel like an old dog with an old bone – you aren’t going to let go.”

Crenshaw’s tenacity was most apparent when he was wielding Li’l Ben, the blade putter he has used since he was 14.

In a display that will further solidify his reputation as the best putter on the PGA Tour, Crenshaw holed birdie putts of 15 feet on the second hole, 16 feet on the fourth, 30 feet on the seventh, 2 feet on the eighth, and 30 feet on the ninth. He also saved par from 12 feet on the 12th hole and 7 feet on the 13th.

Crenshaw hit 15 greens in regulation and took 29 putts, but he never missed a putt inside of 15 feet all day.

”The man’s the best putter ever,” said Strange, who played in the final threesome with Crenshaw and Price.

After taking a four-shot lead into the final nine, Crenshaw’s only anxious moment came on the 17th. Holding a three-shot edge over Price, he pushed his 1-iron tee shot on the 383-yard par-4 into a lateral water hazard. ”That was the worst shot you ever saw,” Crenshaw said. But he recovered to hit a 4-iron over trees to within 15 feet. After Price bogeyed, Crenshaw two-putted to maintain his lead, and closed out the tournament with a routine par on the final hole.

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