Charles Schwab Challenge Analysis
11th - 14th June
Measuring just over 7,200 yards, the Colonial Country Club isn’t overly long by modern standards, meaning all types of players can prosper here. Kevin Na won the inaugural Charles Schwab Challenge with a score of –13, while Justin Rose won the previous year’s Fort Worth Invitational with a score of –20.
Other winners in the past decade have included Kevin Kisner, Jordan Spieth, Chris Kirk, Adam Scott, Boo Weekly, David Toms, and Zach Johnson (twice). The list of runners-up in the same period is even more impressive, with Jordan Spieth (twice), Tony Finau, John Rahm, Brandt Snedeker, and Matt Kuchar all going close.
After such a long break, it’s impossible to know how hard the various players will have been practicing before their return to competitive golf. That means there’s no guarantee that the players who were playing well when we last saw them will still be doing so, while those who were out of form may have turned their games around.
One fact worth considering about recent winners at the Colonial Country Club is most had registered at least one top-15 finish at the course prior to their success, while many had posted top-5 finishes.
That stat may count against the market favourite Rory McIlroy this week, as he makes his tournament debut. The world number one could easily feature if he returns in the same form as he was in before the break, but there are too many ifs and buts to be interested in the 8/1 on offer.
Second favourite John Rahm took to this venue like the proverbial duck to water when second on his debut in 2017 and he followed that with another top-5 finish in 2018. A missed cut last year was a shock, but he wasn’t playing his best golf at the time. The Spaniard was in excellent form before the break and looks a good trends-fit this week, but he’s hardly jumping off the page to be backed at 12/1.
Justin Thomas is another big name making his tournament debut, while Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele have yet to crack the top-40 in seven attempts between them. Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson can only boast one top-15 each, and they’ve not played here for three and five years, respectively.
The two players at the top of the market that are interesting at the prices this week are Webb Simpson and Brooks Koepka. Simpson posted top-5s here in 2016 and 2017 and was in great form when last seen, making him the first of our free tips for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Koepka isn’t renowned for playing his best golf outside of the biggest tournaments, but the extended break could see him return with some fire in his belly at a course where he finished second on debut. At what looks a generous price, he’s the second of our Charles Schwab Challenge free tips.
Jordan Spieth wasn’t in the best of form when we last saw him, but his form figures of 7-14-2-1-2-32-8 here at Colonial Country Club make him worthy of inclusion this week. His tee-to-green game remains a concern, but he’s young enough to have found some magic during the break he and looks one of the best bets for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Harris English is another player worthy of being a tip this week, as he’s posted two top-5s here in his last six visits. He’s never quite reached the heights that many pundits predicted, but three top-20s in his last five events before the break suggests he could be ready to post some good numbers at a course he’s performed well at in the past.
Rory Sabbatini strikes me as the kind of player who will be desperate to get back playing competitive golf and the South African has posted two top-10s in his last four visits to Colonial Country Club. He’s a long shot this week but looks worth a small bet at a triple-figure price.
Russell Knox looks another player priced-up at over 100/1 worth having on side. The Scot has been a model of consistency here with finishes of 21-24-20-8, while pre-break form of 32-37-21-16 suggests he’s playing well enough to be among our free tips for the Charles Schwab Challenge 2020.