For those who missed it, please check out the Charles Schwab Challenge Preview and Betting Strategies column for the types of golfers you should look to target for your bets.
With that in mind, here’s who I like this week for the Charles Schwab Challenge (with odds courtesy of MyBookie.ag).
Pre-Tournament Futures (with Top 10 Prop Odds)
Webb Simpson – 20/1 (+240): Webb will probably be a trendy pick but Colonial Country Club sets up so well for the type of player he is. The golf course does not require players to hit driver a lot this week, as positional golf off the tee is more the name of the game. These are the types of golf courses Webb excels at, as he has the accuracy to hit the correct side of the fairway and let his strengths in his irons, short game and putting do the rest. In 14 career rounds at Colonial he’s gained 1.44 strokes per round on the field, and if he can rediscover his strong form before the COVID break he should be in contention for the win.
Sungjae Im – 28/1 (+300): Sungjae Im was on an absolute tear before the COVID break, and I expect him to pick right where he left off at a golf course that suits his strengths. Sungjae isn’t elite at one particular thing, but he’s very good in almost all facets of the game. Players with good all-around games tend to excel on classic golf courses like Colonial Country Club, and I love his chances to pick up his second win of the season.
Patrick Reed – 28/1 (+300): I’m not hearing a lot of buzz on Patrick Reed this week, but he absolutely fits the profile of a player who should fare well at Colonial Country Club. He has a magnificent short game and putts well on bentgrass surfaces, and his ball striking before the COVID break was much improved over last year. There’s a ton of unknowns in this tournament as far as what the form of anyone is, but given his solid play early in the year and the type of player he is he should be in the mix this weekend.
Gary Woodland – 50/1 (+500): For a guy largely considered a “bomber”, Gary Woodland is one of the more accurate drivers on the PGA Tour. He also has vastly improved his ball striking with his irons and his scrambling at this stage of his career. That’s the perfect recipe for success at Colonial Country Club, and he comes with a very tasty 50/1 price to win the tournament.
Others to Consider (with Top 20 Prop Odds)
Abraham Ancer – 66/1 (+300): Ancer is similar to Sungjae in that he’s not elite in one skill but he’s pretty good in almost all of them. While he doesn’t have great history at Colonial, his game has improved to the level needed to breakthrough for his first PGA Tour win.
Byeong Hun An – 70/1 (+500): Colonial is a ball strikers haven and there’s very few players in the field better than him tee-to-green. His odds to contend rely solely on his putting, but at 70/1 it’s worth the risk to see if he can find some magic with it at Colonial.
Graeme McDowell – 150/1 (+600): There aren’t many golf courses on the PGA Tour where a short hitter like Graeme McDowell can contend anymore. Colonial happens to be one of them, however, as less-than-driver golf courses that put a premium on accuracy and short game tend to be ones he shows well at. He’s shown he still has the ability to win on the PGA Tour, and given all the unknowns of this tournament he’s a decent dart throw for a long shot victory.
Other Props and Matchups
Jordan Spieth 1st Round Leader (45/1): I need Jordan Spieth to prove himself before I’m willing to throw capital on him to win a golf tournament. But we have absolutely no idea what either the state of his swing or his mind is after the COVID break. It’s also very possible the break could have been exactly what he needed to right the ship. His record at Colonial Country Club is sterling and when he’s firing on all cylinders his strengths match perfectly for what’s needed to play well there. While I don’t think he’ll keep it together for four rounds, I like his long odds to get out to a fast start and end the first day on top of the leaderboard.
Daniel Berger Top 20 (+300): It remains to be seen if Daniel Berger can continue the hot form he showed before the COVID break. But given what we’ve seen from him in 2020 he appears both healthy and ready to jump back into the conversation as one of the best young American golfers on the PGA Tour. Berger’s ball striking was greatly improved and his short game was on point before the COVID break. He doesn’t have a great track record at Colonial, but I expect a much better one in 2020.
Maverick McNealy Top 20 (+550): McNealy quietly has enjoyed a pretty good rookie season on the PGA Tour with Top 20’s in three of his last 5 tournaments before the COVID break. He didn’t have many weaknesses in his game before the COVID break, posting respectable strokes gained numbers in every category. He also finished T42 at Colonial on a sponsors invite in 2018, including firing a final round 65 to vault him up the leaderboard. A much higher finish inside the Top 20 is a reasonable result at +550.
Kevin Na +1.5 Strokes over Viktor Hovland (-125): Like Graeme McDowell, Colonial is one of the last remaining golf courses where Kevin Na’s game can excel. As for Viktor Hovland, while his ball striking was coming around before the COVID break his deficiencies both putting and with his scrambling should put a cap on his ceiling this week. I like Na getting 1.5 strokes on Hovland.
Matt Kuchar over Matthew Fitzpatrick (-115): Matt Kuchar is a horse for the course both at Colonial and similar less-than-driver classic golf courses. It’s a little concerning how much his putting was carrying him to good results before the COVID break, but after a long break his ball striking could come in improved. As for Fitzpatrick, while I like the idea of a player like him to do well at a place like Colonial, he always seems to fall short of those expectations, especially in the United States. Kuchar should best him one on one at Colonial.
Shane Lowry +2.5 Strokes over Collin Morikawa (-115): I love Collin Morikawa’s game, but him getting 2.5 strokes over Shane Lowry is a little ridiculous. While Morikawa doesn’t miss many greens, his below average short game tends to get him in trouble. Colonial’s small greens should force him to scramble more than he’s used to, and that may cap his ceiling on the leaderboard. Meanwhile, Lowry excels on classic less-than-driver golf courses that put a premium on accuracy and short game and he should be able to keep it within 2.5 strokes on Morikawa on the leaderboard.
Sungjae Im over Dustin Johnson (-105): My thoughts on Sungjae Im are above. As for Dustin Johnson, not only is Colonial not a great golf course for him but I expect him to be more rusty than most heading in. He also was really struggling with his ball striking on approach shots and with his short game before the COVID break, and that should keep him below Sungjae Im on the leaderboard.