Wind the clock back and the Charles Schwab Challenge was the first post-lockdown event of 2020 on the PGA Tour. Here’s a full preview of this year’s action…
Charles Schwab Challenge: The Tournament
It’s been around since 1946 but the Charles Schwab Challenge (as the event is currently known after spending recent years as both the Fort Worth Invitational and the Dean & Deluca Invitational) has undergone several name changes along the way, with the “Colonial” being its most popular modern version. As one of the five invitational events on the PGA Tour it’s made up of a smaller field then usual (around 125 players compared to the usual 156) but the quality tends to remain constant with a number of “name” players lifting the trophy in recent years.
Charles Schwab Challenge: The Course
The Colonial Country Club is a par 70 laid out over 7,209 yards. It was originally designed by John Bredemus, situated just outside Fort Worth in Texas, and the facility has a rich history dating back to its opening in 1936. It’s a tree-lined course, with narrow fairways, many dogleg holes (turning left and right from tee-to-green) and testing putting surfaces. No pushover for the players with average winning scores in recent years being around 12-under to 15-under-par.
259, Zach Johnson (2010)
61, Zach Johnson (2010)
Charles Schwab Challenge: Past Winners
2020: Daniel Berger
2019: Kevin Na
2018: Justin Rose
2017: Kevin Kisner
2016: Jordan Spieth
Charles Schwab Challenge: The Field
An invitational field of 125 golfers are in the Lone Star state this week. Jordan Spieth is the $11 favourite with TopSport.
Charles Schwab Challenge: The Weather
A mixed bag. Thursday looks the best day but is followed by rain, and maybe some thunderstorms, during the middle two days. Sunday then sees calmer, if overcast, conditions prevail. Temperatures will hover in the mid-to-high 70s, wind speeds will generally be modest at 10-12mph. Friday tee-times could be crucial.
Charles Schwab Challenge: Value Bets
These are two value bets from the Golf Insider. Members receive all of his best bets for all markets – win and each-way, Top 10, Top 20, Round 1 Leader and 3-Ball groups. He covers every tournament on the PGA and European Tours.
Colin Morikawa – each-way ($16 with TopSport)
Morikawa is clear top rated on my figures this week, and it’s easy to see why. The young American is right up there on the key stats this week, ranking 6th for Driving Accuracy and 1st for Greens-In-Regulation. He’s also come back into form, posting back-to-back Top 10 finishes in the Heritage and last week’s USPGA Championship. Add to the mix his runner-up finish here in 2020, and there’s a strong case to be made for this multiple PGA Tour winner (Morikawa has amazingly won 4 times in just 47 starts, including a Major). It will be interesting to see how last week’s challengers at Kiawah Island go this week, but the fact that Morikawa came late, closing with a 68, he should still be fresh. Everything is in his favour this week, and I’m expecting a big effort from the Californian in what is a perfectly winnable tournament.
Matthew NeSmith – each-way ($141 with TopSport)
A solid tee-to-green operator, NeSmith has gone slightly off the boil after a superb start to the year – where he finished seventh in Phoenix, 16th at the AT&T Pebble Beach, and 20th at the Genesis, three weeks in a row. He’s made his last five cuts on the spin, and continues to impress from tee-to-green, which will be crucial this week. He ranks highly in Driving Accuracy and Greens-In-Regulation, which are vital to success here, and although these performance metrics are pretty outdated, they are actually quite relevant at Colonial. He finished 49th here on debut last year and is well-equipped to go much better this time around. This is a price I’m happy to take, albeit to small stakes.
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