The PGA Tour makes its long-anticipated return this week after a three-month pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. A field of 148 golfers will tee it up for the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. The field is absolutely stacked this week. With 15 of the top-20 golfers in the world in action, the strength of this field will be similar to that of a major tournament.
Rory McIlroy (+800) is the betting favorite, followed by Jon Rahm (+1100), Justin Thomas (+1600), Bryson DeChambeau (+2500), and Brooks Koepka (+2500). As with any loaded field, there is plenty of betting value down the board this week. We will have to lean on course history and some key stats to find an edge.
Here are the past five winners at the Charles Schwab Challenge:
- 2019 Kevin Na (-13)
- 2018 Justin Rose (-20)
- 2017 Kevin Kisner (-10)
- 2016 Jordan Spieth (-17)
- 2015 Chris Kirk (-12)
Things will look much different this time around. There will be no fans in the grandstands, no venues on the course, and the players will be subject to on-site testing each day. Despite the increased emphasis on player safety, there is very high confidence that things will be able to go smoothly amid the pandemic.
The Charles Schwab Challenge will be played at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Measuring at just over 7,200 yards, Colonial is one of the shortest courses on Tour. This is very important to consider when selecting your golfers. Short/mid irons and accuracy off the tee will be crucial to scoring well here. With just two Par 5s on the scorecard, eagles will be very hard to come by this week. The majority of the scoring will come on Par 4s, and seven of them measure between just 400-450 yards.
When analyzing the past winners at this event, there are some common trends. A lot of the golfers that have success here are shorter hitters off the tee with excellent short irons. “Course generals” who can plot their way around each hole tend to have success. The treelined fairways do not offer easy access for bombers to take advantage of, so the best way to score here is by hitting fairways and relying on your approach game and putting to come through. Make sure to pay special attention to golfers who succeed on Bentgrass greens.
- Par-4 Scoring (400-450 yards)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (emphasis on 100-150 yards)
- Performance on Bentgrass greens
- Course History
Jon Rahm (+1100)
With a runner-up and a fifth-place showing to his name in his last three times out at this event, Rahm is someone to consider taking outright. The powerful Spaniard has climbed to number two in the official world golf rankings thanks to his recent success on Tour. Prior to the stoppage, Rahm already had four top-10s in five events to start the new season. This included his most recent T3 finish at the World Golf Championships in Mexico late February.
According to Data Golf, of all golfers with at least eight measured rounds at Colonial Country Club, Rahm ranks third in true strokes gained. In the last 36 rounds on Bentgrass Greens, he ranks fourth in strokes gained total. He is consistently one of the best putters on Tour, and he can ride a hot putter to victory this week.
Webb Simpson (+2200)
The 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion has the ideal skill set to go low at Colonial. He isn’t impressive off the tee, but that won’t be detrimental here. Simpson can rely on his phenomenal approach and putting game to carry him up the leaderboard. He ranks top-15 in both strokes gained: approach and strokes gained: putting this season.
It’s no wonder that Simpson has found success at Colonial Country Club in the past. With a fifth-place finish here in 2017, a third-place outing the year prior, Simpson will hope to find the winner’s circle this week. As he’s top-10 in par-4 scoring between 400-450 yards and in proximity between 100-150 yards, Simpson should find himself with plenty of birdie opportunities this week.
Best Matchup Bets
Byeong Hun-An (-106) vs. Kevin Na (+100)
Getting Na here in the plus money is a tremendous value. He is the defending champion of this event and had a fourth-place finish here in 2018. Na has not missed a cut at this event in the last five years. He has the ideal skill set to take advantage of Colonial because of his elite short irons. It is a second shot golf course, and Na is one of the best in the game when putting on Bentgrass surfaces.
In comparison, Byeong Hun-An is consistently one of the worst putters in the game. He is an elite tee-to-green golfer, but he cannot ride a hot putter. Hun-An has very limited experience at this event, too, and he posted a mediocre 68th place finish here in 2019.
Abraham Ancer (-110) vs. Ryan Palmer (+105)
Palmer is another underdog I like in this matchup. He is a Texas native and a member of Colonial Country Club. He will be very comfortable in his home confines and should be able to feed off his sixth-place finish at the event last year. According to Fantasy National, in the past 36 rounds played on Bentgrass greens, Palmer ranks 16th in strokes gained total. He is also elite with his short irons, as he ranks second in proximity from 100-125 yards.
In contrast, Ancer has had solid but unspectacular success at Colonial Country Club. He finished 58th here last year and 52nd the year prior. In the last 36 rounds played on Bentgrass greens, Ancer ranks 59th in strokes gained total. The Mexican is a nice up-and-coming golfer who has made great strides in his game, but the stats do not back him up as much as they support Palmer.