Sam Saunders, grandson of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, joins former Texas player Cody Gribble as Champions’ Choice invitees to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, May 18-24 in Fort Worth.
Saunders, 27, is a former Clemson golfer who earned his 2015 PGA Tour card by finishing No. 13 on last year’s Web.com Tour money list. Saunders has cracked the top 25 at two PGA Tour events, including a runner-up finish at the Puerto Rico Open. He has collected $338,799 in his rookie season, making the cut six times in eight attempts.
In addition to finishing second in Puerto Rico, Saunders placed 29th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and was 65th at the Shell Houston Open. Saunders’ grandfather, Palmer, won the 1962 Colonial title.
Gribble, a Dallas native and teammate with Masters champion Jordan Spieth on Texas’ 2012 national championship team, has competed primarily on the Web.com Tour this season. Gribble, 24, ranks 66th on the Web.com earnings list ($23,953), including a season-best finish of 11th at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
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His best showing this season on the PGA Tour came at the Houston Open, where Gribble finished 42nd. In the top performance of his professional career, the Highland Park graduate finished 21st at the 2014 U.S. Open.
Saunders and Gribble were added to the Colonial field in balloting by former champions who award two spots each season to promising young golfers who have yet to compete in Fort Worth. Spieth, who won the 2015 Masters, placed 14th as a Champions’ Choice invitee in last year’s Colonial.
In addition to the Champions’ Choice invitees, other recent additions to the Colonial field include Jimmy Walker, a former Baylor standout who is No. 11 in the world golf rankings, and two players with Tarrant County connections: Fort Worth resident J.J. Henry, a former TCU golfer, and Fort Worth native Martin Flores, who played at Mansfield High School and Oklahoma. Jim Furyk, the No. 5 player in the world rankings, has removed his name from the Colonial commitment list.
Invitational at Colonial
A list of golfers who have committed to compete in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, May 18-24 in Fort Worth. Commitments are not official until Friday, May 15:
Stuart Appleby, Sang-Moon Bae, Daniel Berger, Jason Bohn, Steven Bowditch, Angel Cabrera, Paul Casey, Alex Cejka, Kevin Chappell, Tim Clark, Keith Clearwater, Ben Crane, Brian Davis, Brendon de Jonge, Graham DeLaet, Jason Dufner, Harris English, Matt Every, Tony Finau, Steve Flesch, Martin Flores, Retief Goosen, Cody Gribble, Bill Haas, James Hahn, Brian Harman, David Hearn, J.J. Henry, Tim Herron, Charley Hoffman, Freddie Jacobson, Zach Johnson, Jerry Kelly, Chris Kirk, Russell Knox, Jason Kokrak, Martin Laird, Scott Langley, Danny Lee, Marc Leishman, Thomas Lim, David Lingmerth, Davis Love III, Jarrod Lyle, Will MacKenzie, Hunter Mahan, Ben Martin, Hideki Matsuyama, William McGirt, George McNeill, Kevin Na, Geoff Ogilvy, Sean O’Hair, Louis Oosthuizen, Ryan Palmer, Corey Pavin, Pat Perez, Kenny Perry, Carl Pettersson, Scott Piercy, Patrick Rodgers, Rory Sabbatini, Sam Saunders, Adam Scott, John Senden, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth, Scott Stallings, Richard Sterne, Robert Streb, Kevin Streelman, Chris Stroud, Brian Stuard, Daniel Summerhays, Nick Taylor, Justin Thomas, Michael Thompson, Nicholas Thompson, Brendon Todd, David Toms, Cameron Tringale, Bo Van Pelt, Jimmy Walker, Tom Watson, Boo Weekley, Gunn Yang