There isn’t a whole lot of downtime on the PGA Tour circuit. The PGA Championship just wrapped up, but with the next major less than a month away for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, players will try to stay in good form with three events between the majors.
The first is this weekend’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club down in Fort Worth, Texas. A deep field is on hand, but some of golf’s most prominent names are not teeing it up, like Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, and Rory McIlroy, but there are more than enough great players to make for a good weekend of golf.
We’ll use the odds from MyBookie Sportsbook to detail this one and find some picks. Odds will be posted below the body of the article.
The Field & The Odds
Native Texan Jordan Spieth is unsurprisingly priced as the favorite this week at Colonial at +900. Justin Thomas will play for the second straight week for the first time in a while with a price of +1100. Collin Morikawa is +1400, followed by defending champion Daniel Berger at +1600, and then a trio of players at +1800 with Abraham Ancer, Tony Finau, and Patrick Reed.
Will Zalatoris, Scottie Scheffler, and Justin Rose are all +2500 and then Corey Conners is +2800. Sungjae Im is priced at +3000 and everybody else is +4000 and up.
That speaks to the type of field we have. There aren’t many huge names that will take money regardless of price to push some of the other guys down a little bit, but there are enough big names and high-caliber players to depress those prices and bunch everybody up.
This is one of the five Invitational events, so there are some stricter criteria for entry and also the field is generally limited a little bit as a result.
Colonial Country Club Profile
Colonial Country Club marked the return of golf in 2020 after an extended COVID-19 pause. The par 70 course checks in around 7,200 yards with tight fairways and a lot of emphasis on setting up a second shot with a good angle to the green. Those greens are bentgrass when the players do get to them.
The par 70 will generally keep the winning scores down a little bit. Berger won at 15-under in a playoff against Morikawa last year. The winning score for Kevin Na in 2019 was 13-under. The best score here is actually 21-under from Zach Johnson back in 2010, a number that Justin Rose chased at 20-under back in 2018.
Distance isn’t as important here as we would typically see. This course is more about iron and wedge play than anything else, so it makes sense that Morikawa, maybe the best iron player on the PGA Tour, was the runner-up last year.
There are some gettable scores out there on par 5s and some of the longer par 4s. When you look at this event historically, birdie is basically par on the par 5s, so those are places where players can ill-afford to lose shots.
Yay or Neigh?
As we check in with the horse for course section to find guys that have played well here, the deserving favorite is a player that has. Jordan Spieth won back in 2016 and has six top-10 finishes here in eight career starts. He hasn’t finished lower than 32nd and he’s made the cut all eight times. He tied for 10th last year in the return, making up most of his strokes with the putter. He was +2.15 SG: Putting per DataGolf, which ranked first in the field.
Putters have actually done well here in general. Kevin Kisner (+10000) won back in 2017. Kevin Na (+7500) won in 2019. Berger is maybe the best putter of the great ball-striking group and it was actually the putter that let Morikawa down last year to wind up in the Playoff. Justin Rose (+2500) won in 2018 and he’s also a very strong, albeit streaky, putter. He was third here last year along with Jason Kokrak, Bryson DeChambeau, and Xander Schauffele.
Ryan Palmer is +7500 despite missing the cut here two of the last three years. He does have four career top-six finishes here from 2012-19, though. Matt Kuchar at +7000 also missed the cut last year, but has three top-10 finishes and was runner-up back in 2013.
Zach Johnson had two wins and a run of five top-10 finishes from 2009-13, but hasn’t finished in the top 40 in the last four years at Colonial.
Checking In on Recent Form
It would be tough to take Abraham Ancer at just +1800, but he was in the top 10 for the third straight time with his T-8 at the PGA Championship. He was second at the Wells Fargo and fifth at the Valspar. He’s in some outstanding form right now and is a good putter that fits the mold of recent winners.
Berger did not play well last week, but he was T-3 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Texas a couple weeks ago and had another top-15 finish at the RBC Heritage. Corey Conners started well last week, but eventually wound up 17th at even par. He’s had three top-25 finishes in his last three events and four in his last five, including a top-10 finish at The Masters.
Billy Horschel is at +4500 with a couple top-25 finishes in his last two starts. Charley Hoffman has three top-25 finishes in his last three starts and he is +5500 this week. Hoffman was 13th here two years ago and 10th in 2015. Troy Merritt has a couple top-10 finishes to go with two missed cuts in his last four events. He’s a big number at +15000.
Morikawa has three top-20 finishes in his last three events and top-10 finishes in his last two, including a T-8 at the PGA Championship. Will Zalatoris might be finding another form cycle. After coming up short in The Masters, he finished 42nd at the RBC and missed a cut before finishing T-17 at the Byron Nelson and T-8 at the PGA.
Picks & Predictions for the Charles Schwab Challenge
This will be a really interesting handicap and a good tournament. Play off the tee isn’t as important as play with the second and third shots here. That means that you could make a case for any of the four shortest prices and it would be a strong one.
In terms of looking a little down the board, Corey Conners has greatly improved his putting this season and he’s been one of the best SG: Approach guys on Tour. At +2800, he’s going to win one of these strong events at some point and this could be the week. Conners is ninth in Par 4 Efficiency 400-450 yards, which is what he’ll see a lot this week.
Abraham Ancer is actually fourth in that department, so even though that +1800 price is not something you’d like to see, his recent form and his skill set simply play really well here. Ancer already has five top-10 finishes without a win and he fired an excellent bogey-free final round at the PGA Championship with seven birdies.
I wouldn’t get too cheeky this week. Stick with guys that strike it well and putt it well on a tough course.
ODDS FOR THE 2021 CHARLES SCHWAB CHALLENGE
|SI WOO KIM||+8000|
|HAROLD VARNER III||+10000|
|RAFAEL CABRERA BELLO||+25000|
|BYEONG HUN AN||+25000|