Spieth, Corpening join Colonial field as Champions’ Choice exemptions

Posted Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Dallas teen phenom Jordan Spieth, one of the hottest rookies on the PGA Tour, joined former TCU golfer Franklin Corpening as Champions’ Choice exemptions to compete at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, May 20-26 in Fort Worth.

Michael Tothe, Colonial tournament director, announced the latest additions to the field Thursday. Both players were added through a vote of past Colonial champions, who select two promising newcomers each year to compete for the first time in Fort Worth as sponsor’s exemptions.

Spieth, 19, was a finalist for the 2012 Ben Hogan Award and has earned $662,398 in seven PGA Tour events this season, including a tie for second at the Puerto Rico Open. Spieth has posted three top-10 finishes at tour events since March 10 while competing under a special temporary membership.

Corpening, 28, is a Colonial member and Fort Worth Paschal High School graduate who played college golf at TCU. Corpening, who competes on the Web.com Tour, will be making his PGA Tour debut at Colonial. He has made the cut in all four events he has entered this season on the Web.com Tour, with his best finish a tie for 22nd at the Chile Classic on March 10. Corpening has earned $11,873 on the Web.com Tour this season.

Spieth, who helped lead Texas to the 2012 national championship in his lone college season, tied for ninth in Sunday’s final round at the RBC Heritage and also is committed to play in the HP Byron Nelson Championship, May 13-19 in Irving. Spieth made his PGA Tour debut as an amateur at the 2010 Nelson, where he finished in a tie for 16th while competing as a 16-year-old.

— Jimmy Burch

Barnes starts fast

Ricky Barnes birdied six of the last eight holes Thursday at rain-softened TPC Louisiana to take a one-stroke lead in the Zurich Classic in Avondale.

Barnes finished the opening round with an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey for an 8-under 64. Boo Weekley and Lucas Glover were a stroke back, and D.A. Points and Morgan Hoffmann shot 66. Former TCU standout J.J. Henry was in a large group four strokes about at 4 under.

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese amateur playing on a sponsor exemption, opened with an even-par 72, highlighted by a 5-wood that he hit to a foot on the par-3 17th.

Rookie leads Web.com

Rookie Ryan Spears fired a bogey-free, 6-under 66 and moved into the lead after the first round of the South Georgia Classic in Valdosta, Ga. The former Wichita State star has a one-stroke lead over Tennessee’s Philip Pettitt Jr., Troy Merritt and California rookie Bhavik Patel.

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