Perry looking for 2003 repeat performance
Kenny Perry knows he will always be remembered as the player who won Annika Sorenstam's tournament.
That's fine with Perry, whose win last year at the Colonial started the best stretch in his 17 years on the PGA Tour. It came after he missed the cut at the Byron Nelson Championship.
``I was kind of coming in here on an all-time low,'' Perry said Wednesday, a day before the Colonial's first round. ``So it's a funny game. I don't know why all of a sudden it broke loose for me.''
Perry followed his record win at Hogan's Alley, his fifth overall victory and first in three years, by winning the Memorial and at 42 becoming the PGA Tour's oldest back-to-back winner since 1990.
``It was just a magical two weeks,'' he said.
But he wasn't finished.
Perry tied for third at the U.S. Open and won at the Greater Milwaukee Open won for the third time in four events. He never had won more than once in a year, and went on to finish sixth on the money list with $4.4 million -- more than double what he had ever earned in a season.
So Perry did a lot more than just win the tournament in which Sorenstam became the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour.
Sorenstam isn't at Colonial this week, so the attention returns to the other players and the 7,054-yard course Tiger Woods won't play.
The world's No. 1 golfer has said Colonial doesn't suit his game and indicated the course is outdated.
``Sure, you can't hit driver every hole, but who says you have to?,'' said Justin Leonard, who closed last year's Colonial with a record 9-under 61. ``There are courses I don't go play because I don't think they suit my game, but I wouldn't say anything bad about those.
``I certainly don't think this golf course is outdated. It's a nice break from a lot of the golf courses that we play.''
Perry calls Colonial a ``great old course'' that has stood the test of time.
``You compare this golf course to any of the new modern golf courses, it doesn't take a back seat to anything,'' Perry said.
The course is actually shorter this year, its length adjusted 26 yards after being remeasured by lasers. But there were no changes in the layout of tree-lined fairways, doglegs and difficult par 3s.
Woods and Vijay Singh, No. 1 on the money list, are skipping the second half of the Dallas-Fort Worth stop. But seven of the top 11 players on the money list stayed after the Byron Nelson Championship.
Phil Mickelson (No. 2) and Mike Weir (No. 11), the past two Masters champions, are at the Colonial. So are Davis Love III (No. 6) and Nelson champion Sergio Garcia (No. 8), whose first PGA win came at the Colonial three years ago.
Last year, Perry and most of the Colonial field went virtually unnoticed the first two days while Sorenstam played. Perry quietly got a share of the 36-hole lead while Sorenstam missed the cut by four strokes at 5 over par.
``Annika was here, and she took all of the pressure off me on Thursday and Friday,'' Perry said. ``She had everybody following her.''
With Sorenstam gone, Perry grabbed the attention with his own 61 to start the weekend. That gave him an eight-stroke lead.
``The magical round on Saturday was probably the greatest round I've ever had in my life, and easiest round,'' Perry said. ``Yet I felt very uneasy Saturday night because I knew if I blew that lead, I was going to be a choker. I didn't have much sleep pondering that and wondering.''
Perry birdied the first hole Sunday, and went on to finish with a Colonial record 19-under 261, six strokes ahead of Leonard after his closing 61.
Perry has three top-10 finishes this year, making seven cuts in 11 tournaments. But he finished 59th at the Nelson, his first tournament since missing the cut at the Masters.
Maybe Colonial will be another good starting spot for the summer.
``The pressure's not really on me because I don't really expect to duplicate what I did last year,'' Perry said. ``What I did was incredible. It was magical.''
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