The Cheat Sheet provides DraftKings fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
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The field this week is set at 122 players as it resumes its status as an invitational and limited field event on the PGA TOUR . The Charles Schwab is one of the older events on the PGA TOUR (first held in 1946), and the venue is a classic in its own right, which makes it stand out from some of the more modern designs. The event has grown in field strength the last few seasons as elite players look to keep form going into the summer with the short break between the PGA Championship and US Open.
The field this week includes 27 of the top 50 players in the OWGR, making it one of the stronger regular season events in terms of strength of field. Despite a long Sunday that saw him climb back from seven strokes down to start the day, 2022 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas is in the field and will be joined by runner-up Will Zalatoris and Mito Pereira — who held the lead on the 72nd hole but found the water off the tee and had to settle for third. Lots of past winners are in the field, too (Daniel Berger, Kevin Na, Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Jordan Spieth), as is Collin Morikawa, who lost in a playoff at this event in 2020. The event sees us return to normal cut rules, as the top 65 and ties will play the weekend.
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Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas
Par 70, 7209 yards; Greens: Bentgrass, Fairways and rough: Bermuda mix
Colonial Country Club plays as a traditional par 70 that lands right around 7,200 yards in length. The course features tight fairways with several old trees that are very much in play and often block approaches on off-center tee shots. That, along with a couple of doglegs, put a premium on accuracy here off the tee. Driving accuracy numbers here are usually quite below PGA TOUR averages, and players will often club down quite a bit off the tee because of the setup.
To make things even tougher, there’s a plethora of bunkers throughout the course, and play from the sand is something to keep note of this week — there are some great bunker players in the list of past winners (Na, Kisner and Jordan Spieth, to name a few). The bentgrass greens are also smaller than average, and water is surprisingly in play on this parkland course on six holes to keep things interesting. As a result, a pure-power game often doesn’t play that well here — accuracy with mid-irons and strong bentgrass putting has been the key to success for many past winners.
As for layout, the first couple of holes at Colonial play rather easy, with the leadoff par 5 being a near must birdie — it’s the easiest hole players face all week. The other par 5 plays very long at a maximum of 635 yards, but it still played as the third-easiest hole in 2021. The par 3s are a mixed bag but play quite tough in general, mainly due to the small greens and the fact water and sand are in play for wayward tee shots. Only one of the par 3s plays well over 200 yards, but the smaller greens put a big premium on accuracy. The greens are easier to putt for the most part, though, and we often see low three-putt percentages. Winners here gain +5.0 strokes or more on the greens.
As for the par 4s, there’s 12 of them on the course, and seven of them fall in the 400-450 yard range, making that a good distance to target when looking up par-4-efficiency stats. In 2018, Justin Rose blitzed the field to a 20-under winning score and led the field by a mile in SG: Approaches. Last year, Colonial played as the 13th-toughest course on the PGA TOUR, yielding a scoring average around 69.5. Jason Kokrak won at just 14-under par — helped by a strong putter and very accurate ball-striking. It should be noted six of the last seven winners at Colonial gained +5.0 (or more) strokes with their putter in the week of their win.
2022 Weather Outlook: After a few events where poor weather produced some big-time wave splits, it looks like the chaotic weather will finally die down and give us less reasons to refresh our weather apps. Thursday and Friday has highs around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and mostly sunny skies with winds in eight to 12 mph range. It’s possible Thursday morning may get the calmest conditions of the first four waves, but the differences (right now) don’t look big enough to worry about. The weekend may see a touch more wind, with Sunday looking like the toughest day as gusts could approach 20 mph. The warmer weather should also mean fast greens and firm conditions, making Colonial a tough test for players going into the final round.
Last 5 winners
Jason Kokrak—2021 (-14 over Jordan Spieth -12)
Daniel Berger—2020 (-15 over Collin Morikawa playoff)
Kevin Na—2019 (-13 over Tony Finau -9)
Justin Rose—2018 (-20 over Brooks Koepka -17)
Kevin Kisner—2017 (-9 over three golfers)
- Each of the last nine winners of the Charles Schwab Invitational had a T8 finish or better on the PGA TOUR in one of their previous six starts before their respective win.
- Four of the last six winners finished T14 or better at Colonial in the season before their win.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
2020 Winner: Jason Kokrak (14-under par)
2020 lead-in form (T49-T13-T49-T9-T8)
- On a tighter-than-normal course with smaller-than-average greens, good tee-to-green play is always going to be essential. In 2016, each of the week’s top five players finished inside the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and the last four winners here have ranked first, second, second and fourth in SG: TTG for the week of their win.
- Top players here have also tended to rank well in the Strokes Gained: Approach category, with both Justin Rose (2018) and Na (2019) leading the field for the week in SG: APP during their win. Kokrak gained +5.2 strokes on approach last year but lost -2.0 strokes ATG.
- Kokrak also gained +5.5 strokes putting, and five of the last six winners here have gained over +5.0 strokes putting for the week on these greens. It’s hard to predict when players will show up with hot weeks putting, but some of the most elite spike putters in the sport (Spieth, Kisner and Na) have all grabbed wins here the past five years.
- Finally, while players don’t have to be elite bombers off the tee at Colonial — which has plenty of doglegs and tight holes — they do need to stay out of trouble and find some fairways. Each of the past six winners has gained at least a stroke OTT, with a lot of those positive gains coming from accuracy over length.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
Billy Horschel +3500 and $8,500
Troy Merritt +5000 and $7,300
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Jordan Spieth ($10,400; best finishes: win-2016, T2-2015, 2021, win-2017): Colonial has proven to be the perfect setup for Spieth over his pro career. The Texas native is more than used to the climate, and the tighter track doesn’t emphasize power as much off the tee. He’s landed top-10 finishes here in five of the last six seasons and leads the field in SG: Total here, by a wide margin, over that span.
2. Justin Rose ($7,700; best finishes: win-2018, T3-2020): Rose only added Colonial to his schedule a few years ago, but (like many veterans on the PGA TOUR) he’s found immediate success here, grabbing a win in 2018 and a T3 in 2020. He has finished top 20 in three of his last four visits to the course and is coming off a strong T13 last week in Tulsa.
3. Kevin Na ($8,100; best finishes: T4-2018, win-2019): Na is third in SG: Total stats at this venue over the last five years. He has made the cut at Colonial in eight of his last 10 appearances, winning the event in 2019 while also recording a top-five finish in 2018. His putter can get red hot on these pure bentgrass greens, and his ability to navigate tricky bunkers better than most makes him a dangerous player at this event every season.
4. Brian Harman ($7,800; best finishes: T7-2017, T14-2018): Harman has been very consistent at these shorter par-70 setups over his career, and Colonial is no exception. He’s has made the cut at Colonial now in each of the last six seasons and ranks fourth in SG: Total stats here during that span. With his approach game trending way up, don’t be shocked if he’s near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
5. Collin Morikawa ($10,700; best finishes: second-2020, T14-2021): Morikawa will only be making his third career start to Colonial this year, but it’s clear he generally likes these classic-style layouts where precision shot-making is at a premium. He’s gained over +60 strokes on approach at this venue in his first two visits and might be near unstoppable if his putter catches fire this week
1. Justin Thomas ($11,000; win-T5): Winner of last week’s PGA Championship and leader in DraftKings points gained and tee-to-green stats over the past 50 rounds. Thomas is the deserved betting favorite this week.
2. Tommy Fleetwood ($8,800; T5-T59): Fleetwood ended the PGA Championship in a blaze of glory with four straight birdies on the back nine. He’s gained strokes on approach in five straight starts and is starting to look like his old self once again.
3. Davis Riley ($8,400; T13-T9): Riley is ascending into one of the best young prospects on the PGA TOUR. He’s finished T13 or better in four of his last six starts in 2022 and gained a filthy +11.0 strokes ball-striking against an elite field last week.
4. Max Homa ($9,400; T13-win): Homa took a big career step forward by posting a top-15 finish in a major last week. He’s finished top 20 in six of his last seven PGA TOUR starts.
5. Mito Pereira ($8,600; T3-T17): Despite blowing a late lead last week, Pereira showed his pedigree at the PGA Championship by grabbing a T3. He’s ranked top 10 in strokes gained ball-striking and tee-to-green stats over the last 50 rounds.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Trust the course history with Spieth and Na
The fit this week for players like Jordan Spieth ($10,400) and Kevin Na ($8,100) couldn’t be better. Colonial emphasizes great approach and around-the-green play, and both these players can get dialed in fast in both regards when playing well. Na is obviously more of a wild card, but with four good finishes under his belt since Augusta and his approach game trending well, he’s a great value to start with. Adding names like Brian Harman ($7,800), Maverick McNealy ($7,500) and Troy Merritt ($7,300) to your player pool this week isn’t a poor idea either for this format. All have good course history and have posted excellent cut rates in 2022.
Tournaments: Webb and Berger a good way to get contrarian
While Daniel Berger ($9,000) is a winner at Colonial as recently as 2020, the sentiment on him might be lower after blowing up people’s lineups at the PGA Championship with a missed cut. Both Berger and Webb Simpson ($8,700) are par-70 maestros, though, and will likely welcome the switch back to a shorter setup. With the price on both much higher than they were last week, you should get decently low rostership on both, making them good GPP targets. Some other names to consider for this format include Rickie Fowler ($7,400), David Lipsky ($7,000) and Stephan Jaeger ($6,800 - see below).
MY PICK: Abraham Ancer ($9,300)
Ancer was my pick at this event last season, and it’s hard not to give him a chance to deliver a win for us once again in 2022. He dealt with early-season injury issues but has played in three of the last four events and is coming off his best ball-striking week of the season at the PGA Championship. Ancer will be somewhat disappointed that he could only muster a T9 at the PGA Championship (after starting the final round at 4-under par) but should benefit from the setup this week, which plays to straight hitters off the tee.
Ancer not only ranks third in driving accuracy on the year, but he’s putting on his preferred bentgrass surface, where he’s 12th in strokes gained putting stats over the last 50 rounds. He’s got great results on courses that correlate well with Colonial, too, grabbing second-place finishes at Harbour Town and a win at TPC Southwind, another tightly-woven par 70 with smaller greens. Ancer’s price is still relatively affordable, and like last year’s winner, Jason Kokrak, he should feel comfortable in fields like this after grabbing a win last season. He’s a good upper-tier target to build around at just over $9K.
MY SLEEPER: Stephan Jaeger ($6,800)
Last week, we saw a three-time Korn Ferry Tour winner from 2020-21 nearly win the PGA Championship. If anyone will take confidence from Mito Pereira’s ($8,600) performance last week and run with it at Colonial, it should be Jaeger, who won twice himself on the KF Tour last season and also lost to Pereira in a playoff. Jaeger has had a hard time with consistency on the PGA TOUR in two previous stints, but he’s really found his game of late and ranks seventh in strokes gained tee-to-green stats over the last 12 rounds.
That improvement has led to positive results, including T15 and T6 finishes (Mexico and Wells Fargo) in two of his last three starts. Jaeger’s approach game has been the main catalyst for his success, gaining him over +4.0 strokes in each of the past two starts. However, he’s also an around-the-green wizard, ranking fourth in strokes gained around-the-green stats over the last 50 rounds (one place behind former Colonial winner Kevin Na). Jaeger is a six-time winner as a pro and has seen a big-time uptick in his ball-striking of late. He’s well worth including in your GPP pool this week and a live outright bet to consider at a hefty +20000 price on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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