Off the Record – Charles Schwab Challenge

Charles Schwab Challenge

The PGA Tour will make its final stop in Texas as we head to Fort Worth for the Charles Schwab Challenge. Colonial CC is a positional course that holds the record for the longest-running course on Tour. This week is an invitational field that will be limited to 120 players, which will result in a higher percentage of 6/6 lineups. Colonial is a classical, positional golf course that is a par 70 and it will measure over 7200 yards. It is a shorter venue for PGA Tour’s standards, the main defense comes in the form of narrow fairways, tight tree-lined corridors, and dogleg-shaped holes. This course has stood the test of time and it still can challenge the field. One of the biggest tests of the entire week is the difficulty off the tee. The fairways are the third-most narrow on the Tour, measuring just 27 yards on average. This has resulted in making Colonial the second most difficult course on tour to gain strokes off the tee. The cut line has ranged from anywhere from -1 to +5.

 

Past Winners

2021 – Jason Kokrak (-14)

2020 – Daniel Berger (-15)

2019 – Kevin Na (-13)

2018 – Justin Rose (-20)

2017 – Kevin Kisner (-10)

2016 – Jordan Spieth (-17)

2015 – Chris Kirk (-12)

2014 – Adam Scott (-9)

2013 – Boo Weekley (-14)

2012 – Zach Johnson (-12)

 

Key Stats

  • SG: APP
  • Fairways Gained/Good Drives
  • Putting (Bentgrass)
  • P4: 400-450
  • SG: OTT
  • GIRs Gained
  • Course History
  • Recent Form

 

Top 10 SG: APP Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Will Zalatoris
  2. Viktor Hovland
  3. Max Homa
  4. Jordan Spieth
  5. Justin Thomas
  6. Collin Morikawa
  7. Luke Donald
  8. Scottie Scheffler
  9. Kevin Na
  10. Gary Woodland

 

Top 10 Fairways Gained Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Brendon Todd
  2. Adam Long
  3. Russell Knox
  4. Chez Reavie
  5. Kevin Streelman
  6. Richard Bland
  7. Brian Harman
  8. Brian Stuard
  9. Billy Horschel
  10. Joel Dahmen

 

Top 10 P4: 400-450 Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Justin Rose
  2. Scottie Scheffler
  3. Tommy Fleetwood
  4. Sungjae Im
  5. Justin Thomas
  6. Will Zalatoris
  7. Jordan Spieth
  8. Mito Pereira
  9. T. Poston
  10. Adam Long

 

Top 10 GIRs Gained Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Alex Smalley
  2. Scottie Scheffler
  3. J. Spaun
  4. Tommy Fleetwood
  5. Mito Pereira
  6. Tony Finau
  7. Will Zalatoris
  8. Collin Morikawa
  9. Sebastian Munoz
  10. Matthew NeSmith

 

Top 10 Putting (Bentgrass) Past 50 Rounds:

  1. Beau Hossler
  2. Cameron Tringale
  3. Justin Rose
  4. Kevin Na
  5. Brendon Todd
  6. Denny McCarthy
  7. Jason Kokrak
  8. Troy Merritt
  9. Abraham Ancer
  10. Sam Ryder

 

Top 10 Course History:

  1. Jordan Spieth
  2. Kevin Na
  3. Justin Rose
  4. Kevin Kisner
  5. Tony Finau
  6. Charley Hoffman
  7. Webb Simpson
  8. Brian Harman
  9. Collin Morikawa
  10. Danny Lee

 

My Thoughts

Scottie Scheffler proved he was human last week after his missed cut at the PGA Championship. He was on an incredible run of form and you knew it had to come to an end at some point. I won’t look too much into the missed cut because his approach play still looked good from a stats perspective. The one worry I do have is his course history because his best finish is a 55th and he also has a missed cut but he isn’t the same player as he was then. The one struggle that Scottie does have is off the tee and I’m just not quite sure if he can get away with it here at his price. I can see his ownership dropping more as the week goes on and it wouldn’t shock me if he came in under 10% by the time lock got here. He is a great way to start some of your tournament lineups.

Justin Thomas claimed his second PGA Championship after beating Zalatoris in a 3 hole playoff. JT gained over 6.3 strokes putting which was the most strokes he has gained on the greens since he won his last major championship. He has decent course history at Colonial with a 40th and 10th place finish. Thomas doesn’t expect to be that highly owned which is the norm for the winner of the previous week. JT put a new putter in the bag and won a major championship so maybe that switch can be enough to where he won’t hemorrhage strokes on the green. That’s been the only thing that has kept him from winning more golf tournaments. At first, I liked the idea of fading Thomas but if he’s still in the field by lock then I think he makes for a great tournament play. It’s just hard for me to see him missing the cut and if he’s around for the weekend, we know JT will score. I’m not sure the last time I saw him projected to be less than 10% owned in this type of field.

Collin Morikawa made the cut last week at the PGA but couldn’t get anything going over the weekend as he finished 55th. He looked awful on the greens and lost over 2.5 strokes putting. He has shown great course history here with a 14th and 2nd place finish. This is a perfect course for Morikawa’s game because it will put a premium on ball striking. If his typical ball-striking shows up and he can somehow figure something out with the flat stick, then he is live to be the one holding the trophy on Sunday. He does project to be one of the more popular players in this range but it makes sense given the course history and his upside. I love the play in tournaments.

Jordan Spieth once again put on a ball-striking display of epic proportions at the PGA Championship on his way to a 34th place finish. It again was the putter that let Spieth down as he lost over 3.2 strokes putting. If we got the luck box Spieth we are so accustomed to, I think he wins his last 3 tournaments. His worst ball-striking week is gaining over 6 strokes. His worst T2G week over the past 3 tournaments is gaining over 8 strokes at the PGA Championship. I don’t think there is someone in this field that is playing better golf than Spieth T2G lately. He has found something with his game and it wouldn’t shock me if we see the putter regress back to normal and he wins this week. Over his last six events, he has lost over 14.7 strokes putting. Over his last six events at Colonial CC he is gaining over 33 strokes putting. He projects to be one of the most popular players in this range but it makes sense with his form and amazing course history.

Will Zalatoris lost in a playoff to JT at the PGA Championship this past week but he proved once again he has what it takes in these major championship golf tournaments. He put on another impressive ball-striking performance as he gained over 7 strokes total. The biggest improvement he had between the PGA and his missed cut the week prior at the Byron Nelson was the putting. He actually gained strokes putting for the first time since the Sanderson Farms back in October of last year. He played in this tournament last year and finished 59th. Will is a Texas guy and he’s still searching for his first career win after last week and I’m just not quite sure how invested I want to be. I can just see the emotional playoff loss carrying over into him missing the cut this week. He won’t be that popular though and will make for a good tournament play.

Viktor Hovland is making his return back to Colonial CC for the first time since 2020 where he finished 23rd. He also had a decent finish last week at the PGA with a 41st. Hovland is an elite ball-striker that has the ability to shoot the lowest round of the day any time he tees it up. When his approach play is on point, he is one of the best in the entire world. The only thing that can get Hovland into trouble can be his around-the-green play. Good thing for him this week because around the green play won’t be as important unless your just flat-out missing greens and if that’s the case then you’re not scoring well enough to win anyway. I don’t quite understand his ownership because he projects to be one of the more popular plays in this entire range. It could be because he is grading out so well in stat models. I like the idea of a fade just purely based on ownership.

 

9k+

Sam Burns was on the right side of the weather draw at the PGA Championship and he made the most of it with a 20th place finish. This was encouraging to see especially coming off back-to-back missed cuts at the Masters and Byron Nelson. He has played in this tournament two times previously and finished 31st and also missed a cut. The only worry I have with a guy like Burns is he can spray his driver at times and I’m just not quite sure if you’ll be able to attack these flags from the rough and be able to score well. He is an elite putter that has the upside to hold the trophy on Sunday.

Max Homa backed up his win at the Wells Fargo with a very impressive 13th place finish at the PGA Championship. Max has played in this tournament two times previously and he has finished 27th and also missed a cut. Max has the perfect game you could want for this course. He has the ability to find fairways and get extremely hot with his irons. We know he has the upside to win and that’s reason enough to make him the most popular player in this entire range. I don’t hate the play but I do find myself gravitating towards other players in this range just simply for leverage.

Abraham Ancer finally showed us that upside we have been looking for with a 9th place finish at the PGA Championship last week. I failed everyone with my research last week and didn’t realize Ancer went to school at Oklahoma University. I think that was enough for him to have his best finish of the entire year. I’m hoping he can carry it into this week, especially at a place where he has had recent success. He has made four trips to this tournament and has made the cut every time. He had back-to-back 14th place finishes in his last two appearances at this course. Ancer has the perfect game for this course and it’s shown with his results. I really like his chances of getting a win this week.

Sungjae Im wasn’t allowed to compete in the PGA Championship over Covid issues. The last time we saw Sungjae was at the RBC Heritage where he finished 21st. He also played really well at the Masters with an 8th-place finish. He has really spotty course history with two missed cuts and one 10th-place finish. He doesn’t appear to be that popular on DraftKings and I love the idea of going overweight in tournaments because he has the perfect type of game for this course and he has the upside to win.

Tony Finau has some of the best course history out of anyone in the entire field with no missed cuts in four appearances and his worst finish being a 29th. Finau had a decent finish at the PGA Championship with a 30th. He gained strokes in every category last week which is encouraging to see because that means he’s playing well-rounded golf. The biggest issue he has is putting but Bentgrass is his best surface and that’s what we’re on this week. I can see him being decently popular but he makes for an excellent play. I wouldn’t even mind playing him in cash games just based on his previous course history.

Daniel Berger lost over 7 strokes putting on his way to missing the cut last week at the PGA Championship. Not only did he lose strokes putting but he also lost over 3 strokes with his approach shots. Berger does have excellent course history with a win back in 2020. I can never get Berger right and I don’t expect this week to be any different. I will more than likely fade just because of the recent form. He doesn’t project to be too popular so he makes for a good tournament play. He does have a pattern of gaining a significant amount of strokes with his approach after a week of losing strokes and he also plays well after a missed cut. All signs point to Berger this week but I still can’t convince myself to add him to the pool.

 

8k+

Talor Gooch is coming off a very impressive 20th place showing at the PGA Championship after his missed cut at the Byron Nelson. He has decent course history with three straight-made cuts and his worst finish being a 43rd. Gooch is the perfect type of play on DraftKings because when he makes the cut he typically finishes very well. His worst finish in the past calendar year where he has made the cut is a 27th. Those are the type of guys I like to play in this price range because he has proven upside. His game also suits the course and he has shown us the upside to win a golf tournament.

Tommy Fleetwood is riding a stretch of some of the best recent form out of anyone in the entire field. He had an extremely impressive 5th place finish last week at the PGA Championship where he gained strokes in every single category. Tommy hasn’t missed a cut in the states this calendar year. I think the biggest surprise has just been the fact that we haven’t seen him win on Tour yet. I am a huge fan of Tommy’s and I don’t think anyone would be happier to see him win this week. He is a good enough ball-striker to win this tournament. The problem is, I am not the only one that thinks this and he projects to be the most popular play in this entire range. As someone who has watched Tommy play a lot of golf, anytime he Is chalk I love the fade because he is such a bad putter, especially on Bentgrass.

Webb Simpson figured out how to play golf again and flashed his upside with a 20th place finish at the PGA Championship which is his best finish this entire year. He has played in this tournament before with his two most recent finishes being missed cuts. He did have a top 5 finish back in 2017. Webb looked good last week don’t get me wrong but I just can’t fall back into the trap this week. Webb has the upside to win this tournament by 3 shots if he shows up but I just can’t get over how he looked earlier in the year. I wrote him off after his RBC Heritage performance and said I would never play him in PGA DFS ever again and I meant it. He won’t be popular at all this week so if you think he has found something in his game then this is the perfect buy-low opportunity.

Mito Pereira was one hole away from winning a major championship but we all know how that ended. It’s hard not to feel for Mito but that’s what we love so much about the game of golf. The tournament is never over until someone is holding the trophy. I have a hard time not thinking he comes into this tournament still a little emotional after last week. From a stats perspective he graded out extremely well on my model and he will be very low owned. If you want to take a shot in tournaments I don’t hate the play and how fitting would it be if he picked up his first career win this week.

Billy Horschel made the cut at the PGA Championship and that was about it as he finished 68th. It’s been over a year since he has missed a cut. He also hasn’t missed a cut here in his last five appearances with his worst finish being a 40th place. Billy has the game you would want for this course and he has the ability to get scorching hot with his irons and putter. I just can’t stand watching the guy play and rarely ever play him in DFS. He makes for an excellent cash game play this week.

Davis Riley might be a rookie on tour but he sure hasn’t been playing like it with his most recent 13th place finish at the PGA Championship. His two previous tournaments were top 10 finishes. He has some incredible recent form. The only thing I’m worried about is the price. I get some sticker shock seeing him up in this range but his recent form makes the price justified.

Jason Kokrak had a 60th place finish at the PGA Championship where he lost over 4 strokes with his approach shots. He is the defending champion at this event so we know he has the game for this course. He hasn’t missed a cut since the Valspar and the last time he was in Texas he had a 17th place finish at the Byron Nelson. I don’t expect him to get too popular and I love the idea of getting overweight in tournaments.

Kevin Na finished 23rd last week at the PGA Championship. Na has some of the best course history out of anyone in the field not named Spieth. He won back in 2019 and finished 4th in 2018. I love that type of upside for his price. The only worry I have is ownership. As of now, he is projected to be one of the more popular plays in this entire range and I love fading Na anytime he is chalk. What if he does a classic Kevin Na and W/D’s before he hits a single shot and he’s 15%+ owned?

7k+

Chris Kirk earned his first career top 5 at a major championship last week at the PGA. If you don’t know Kirk’s story, he is an inspiration to many with his current fight against alcohol addiction and mental health issues. His last win came in 2015 at this tournament. As someone who battles mental health issues myself, I’m not quite sure there is a better narrative story this week. How fitting would it be for him to raise the trophy during Mental Health Awareness month?

Brian Harman had a very respectable 34th place finish at the PGA Championship. Aside from his missed cut at the Masters he has had a run of some decent form including two top 10 finishes. He also has some of the best course history you could have with his worst finish being a 31st. His only missed cut at this event came back in his first appearance in 2012. I love when I can get Harman on these shorter tracks where his accuracy off the tee becomes a premium. He will be a popular play in this range but for good reason.

Sebastian Munoz had a decent 55th place showing at the PGA Championship. His last missed cut came all the way back in January at the AMEX. He has been on a string of some impressive form with his worst finish being a 39th aside from last week. He also finished 3rd here last year so we know he has the game for this course. He does project to be popular but I like the play and plan to get above the field.

Maverick McNealy made the cut last week but ended up finished 75th. He hasn’t missed a cut since October of 2021. He has played in this tournament three times previously and his worst finish was 42nd. I love taking Mav on these smaller tracks with smaller greens that are similar to Pebble Beach because that’s where he thrives. He also has the upside for this price range.

Stewart Cink had a very impressive 23rd-place finish at the PGA Championship. What if I told you that Cink’s first 5 wins came the week after he played well in a major championship? Cink was a runner-up in 2000 and his last appearance came in 2018 where he finished 58th. The year prior in 2017 he popped for a top 10. I don’t expect him to be that popular but I love the idea of getting to him in tournaments.

 

6K+

Adam Long last appearance came at the Wells Fargo where he missed the cut by 1 shot. Prior to the missed cut, he was on a run of some pretty impressive form with two top 15s. He rarely misses fairways and has the perfect type of game for this course. He has three appearances at this tournament with one missed cut and two top 20s. I love the idea of going to him as a safe value play with upside.

Rory Sabbatini had a top 25 his last time out at the Byron Nelson where he gained over 4.4 strokes with his approach. He has also had three top 20’s in his past four trips to Colonial. He also has good recent form with five straight-made cuts.

Core Plays

Jordan Spieth

Abraham Ancer

Chris Kirk

 

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