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Fantasy Golf Picks — 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge Picks, Predictions, Preview, Sleepers

Pat Mayo breaks down his 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge picks while previewing the course and key stats.

Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge Picks. Plus, Tim Anderson to recap the 2023 PGA Championship.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $800K PITCH + PUTT [$200K TO 1ST]

2023 Charles Schwab — Picks & Preview | Research & Course | Stats/Tools

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2023 Charles Schwab — DraftKings Picks | Own Projections

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2023 Charles Schwab Challenge: Field

120 Players | Top 65 & Ties Make The Cut
First Tee: Thursday, May 25
Defending Champion: Sam Burns

2023 Charles Schwab Challenge: Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Par 4s Gained: 350-400 Yards
  • Fairways Gained
  • Proximity 100-125 Yards

Mayo’s Key Stats powered by

2023 Charles Schwab Challenge: Course

  • Course: Colonial CC
  • Par: 70
  • Yardage: 7,209
  • Greens: Bentgrass

Par 3s (4): Average distance – 207 yards

  • These four holes were responsible for the four highest par rates on the course last season (all over 67% and two north of 70% … take your ‘3’ and move on)
  • The long No. 4 (247 yards) owned the third-highest bogey rate on the course (20.6%, the next hole was the only hole with a higher mark)

Par 4s (12): Average distance – 432 yards

  • The four toughest holes on this course all came from holes 3-9 and three of them are Par 4s that carry a bogey rate over 17%
  • The 407-yard 9th hole could prove to be a hinge hole. It comes with just a 61.7% par rate (third lowest), but that’s not because it plays crazy easy. In fact, players were more likely to make bogey (17.3%) than birdie (15.6%) … and that’s not even including a 5.3% double-or-worse rate (highest on the course)

Par 5s (2): Average distance – 600 yards

  • You have to start the front-nine off on the right foot: 47% of the time did a player record birdie-or-better on the shorter of the two Par 5s
  • The long No. 11 (635 yards) doesn’t give up many eagles (0.6%), but you can’t afford to give shots back to the field (bottom four in both par and bogey rate)

2023 Charles Schwab Challenge: Past Winners

  • 2022: Sam Burns -9
  • 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

Each of these past four winners entered with form on the greens

  • ’22 Burns: Gained over four strokes putting in three of four measured events prior (continued it by gaining five in his win at this event)
  • ’21 Kokrak: Gained strokes putting in each of his three events prior (and in five of six events, a run that included the fourth-best putting week of his career)
  • ’20 Berger: Gained strokes putting in each of his three events prior (a stretch that included the second-best putting week of his career … this trend continued, even through the COVID schedule disruption)
  • ’19 Na: Gained strokes putting in each of his three events prior

2022: Sam Burns (-9, playoff win over Scottie Scheffler)

  • Improved with each round (71-68-67-65), gaining seven strokes on Scheffler on Sunday
  • Nine of the top-11 finishers gained in proximity from 175-200 yards (the two exceptions were among the five best in the field from 200+)

2021: Jason Kokrak (-14, two clear of Jordan Spieth)

  • His best golf came in the first three rounds (65-65-66), but the tournament was won when he picked up three strokes on Spieth on a Sunday that featured firm greens for the only time that week
  • Of the top 11 in Prox: 200+, seven cashed top-20 paychecks with Kokrak leading the field for the week.

2020: Daniel Berger (-15, playoff win over Collin Morikawa)

  • Consistency … both Berger and Morikawa shot 67 or better in all four rounds
  • Three players (including champion Berger) cashed top-10 paychecks despite losing on the field in proximity from … 75-100, 100-125 AND 125-150

2019: Kevin Na (-13, four clear of Tony Finau)

  • His 62 on Friday was the round of the tournament and brought him even with Finau entering the weekend after spotting him six strokes on Thursday.
  • Eight of the top-12 finishers lost distance off the tee
  • The top-four finishers all gained on the field in Proximity from 175-200 AND 200+ yards.

2023 Charles Schwab Challenge: Notes

Playing just a hair over 7,200 yards, strategy from the tee box will prove to be far more important than a standard week. Because, really, that’s a fake 7,200 — the course stacks length in its par 3s (all four at least 190 yards) and a three-shot, 635-yard par 5. It’s like the bizarro Riviera. Take out those five holes, and the field is left with nine par 4s measuring less than 445 yards. Regardless of driving distance numbers, those holes are scoreable for the entire field. Of those nine, seven come in at 430 yards or less, five of which annually play under par.

With its classical design, Colonial is one of the regular PGA TOUR courses where all skill sets appear to have an equal opportunity to win. It’s akin to Harbour Town (Heritage), TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS), Sedgefield (Wyndham), East Lake (TOUR Championship) and Waialae (Sony Open) in that way. Distance will always be an advantage, but its impact is mitigated at Colonial.

Looking at past leaderboards, the top-five finishers almost exclusively share the trait of gaining a little off the tee, slightly less around the greens and a WHOLE LOT on approach and putting.

You’d think with below-average-sized greens, that chipping would play a major factor. That just doesn’t materialize at the top of the leaderboard, though. While a few well-timed up and downs will be critical, a great week from off the green means you’re simply not generating enough birdie tries to actually contend. Pin stalk with short irons, make putts, hoist a novelty check on Sunday.

Additionally, it’s worth noting very few eagles are made at Colonial. Hole No. 1 is really the only plausible eagle hole (outside of random approaches finding the bottom of the cup from 137 yards out). Even though it’s reachable to some in two shots, No. 1 still hovers around a 2% eagle rate historically. General DraftKings strategy points to distance as it typically leads to more eagle opportunities, which are worth eight DKFP as opposed to three, but past results show that isn’t the case at Colonial. That’s why there’s an over-emphasis on the 100-125 proximity range. While it may not be applicable to every player in the field for their approaches, with a good drive, that is the range where the pins will be most accessible on the scoring holes. Ditto at the longer par 5 (No. 11) for most of the field.

So if there aren’t many eagle bonuses to rely on in the DraftKings game, there is an exploitable single-day DraftKings Showdown contest trick to use to your advantage. While it may not always come to fruition, players starting on the back nine for their rounds will have a much greater chance of generating the birdie streak bonus versus their counterparts beginning their rounds on hole No. 1.


Colonial opens with a Par 5 and a short Par 4 which are the two easiest holes on the course. Expect birdies. Over the past five years, the field has made birdie or better on Hole 1 a total of 47% of the time and 27% of the time on Hole 2. Hole 3? Well, that’s where the Horrible Horseshoe begins, home to three of the four tougher holes on the course. That should have been deduced from the nickname — you’d be surprised how little the simple stretches of golf courses earn nicknames. With an 11% birdie rate, No. 3 is just very difficult to keep a birdie streak alive. Doable, just unlikely.

The back-nine starters have far more runway to achieve that birdie streak. If a golfer starts on Hole 10, they get the runway of holes 17 and 18 leading into the simple opening stretch. Holes 17 and 18 have around a 20% birdie or better rate. It doesn’t seem like much, but the three-hole birdie streak points in DraftKings Showdown contests are the likely separator between first and not so much money. Take any tiny edge when you’re dealing in fractional points.

2022: Choose wisely. Three of the top 10 in DraftKings pricing were cut, but three of those players also finished top 10 on the final DraftKings leaderboard

  • Burns won ($9,700), but the next two on the final DraftKings leaderboard cost no more than $7,000.

2021: Each of the top five on the final DraftKings leaderboard was either priced under $7,500 or over $8,600.

  • 13 players were priced over $9,000 and only one (Spieth, $11,200) finished better than 12th on the DraftKings scoring leaderboard

2020: Berger won at $7,700, but the only other three players to reach 110 DKFP all cost you at least $9,000.

  • Getting the top of the board was even more important when you consider that four of the top nine in pricing didn’t hang around for the weekend.

2019: Just a reminder that there are a million ways to build. The top four DraftKings scorers came from four different price ranges ($9K, $8K, $7K and $6K)

  • Six of the 10 most expensive golfers missed the cut and two guys in that price range that did play the weekend were not a DFS factor (Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari finished outside the top 50)

2023 Charles Schwab Challenge: Picks

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Tommy Fleetwood ($9,200)

There’s always a worry Tommy can’t make enough putts to keep up if scoring goes extremely low, however, the Brit enters in fantastic form, gaining across all four primary Strokes Gained metrics in five straight starts.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $800K PITCH + PUTT [$200K TO 1ST]

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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2023 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Podcast of the Year and was a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time.

Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Sports Betting, Daily Fantasy, and Traditional Season Long Fantasy).

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.