After the very eventful PGA Championship that concluded with Justin Thomas walking away with the second major title of his career, the PGA TOUR heads south to Colonial CC (par 70, 7,209 yards, bentgrass greens) in Fort Worth, Texas, for the Charles Schwab Challenge. Since this tournament’s birth in 1946, Colonial has been the only venue to host a Charles Schwab Challenge. At this event last year, Jason Kokrak secured the top prize at 14-under par, edging out Jordan Spieth by two shots.
At this old-school par 70, everything comes down to your iron play, your efficiency on the par fours and your work on these bentgrass greens. With most of the field electing to keep their drivers in the bag to find the fairway more often, distance off the tee is totally irrelevant and any length of player can contend at Colonial. Conversely, being dialed in with your irons is a necessity, with each of the last four Charles Schwab champions ranking T8 or better in SG: Approach, with two of these golfers leading the field in the category. Just like Southern Hills Country Club this past week, Colonial is a par 70, meaning there are 12 par fours and only two par fives. As always, this makes the par fours the most important holes for success and over the last six years, we have seen every winner at Colonial finish the week top-three in Strokes Gained on the par fours. Specifically, seven of these 12 par fours fall between 400-450 yards, and of the past five Charles Schwab victors, three have either led the field or ranked runner up in Strokes Gained on these holes. Finally, for the second consecutive week, the PGA TOUR will be hosting an event at a track that features bentgrass greens, so targeting players who have positive splits on this surface has a ton of merit. Since 2015, six of seven golfers to claim a victory at Colonial have ranked inside the top-seven in SGP on these bentgrass putting surfaces.
Usually, coming off a major, we see a major drop off in talent the following the week, but this year’s Charles Schwab presents a rather compelling field. On top of world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, both Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris are listed in this field after their playoff at the PGA Championship. Overall, this field of 120 players consists of eight of the top-30 ranked golfers in the world. Plus, after the slightly expanded cut at the PGA Championship, we return to a traditional cut of the top-65 and ties moving onto the weekend at the Charles Schwab. Given this is a smaller field than your standard PGA TOUR event with a normal cut, a higher percentage of the field than usual will advance to the weekend. As always, this makes stars and scrubs lineups extremely viable, and below I break down four of my top value plays for the Charles Schwab that cost less than $7.5K on DraftKings.
Patrick Reed ($7,400) – Reed has had a relatively quiet season by his standards but flashed some serious signs of life this past week at the PGA Championship. During his T34th finish at Southern Hills – which is Reed’s fourth made cut in his last five starts – the 2018 Masters champion gained five strokes from tee-to-green and 5.2 strokes on approach, setting new season highs in both metrics. If Reed can in anyway carry over this momentum as a ball striker to Colonial, the seasoned veteran could easily produce his best finish of the season at this venue he knows very well. Including a T15 in 2016 and a T7 in 2020, Reed owns a 4/5 record at this par 70. To put the icing on the cake, the 31-year-old is at his best on bentgrass, ranking seventh in total strokes gained when we analyze this field’s last 50 rounds at courses that are home to this green type.
Troy Merritt ($7,300) – Merritt just posted a solid T41 in the tough conditions at Southern Hills this past weekend, marking his 13th made cut in 16 solo starts this season. Eight of these finishes have come inside the top-30, and Merritt’s flat stick has been on fire as of late, ranking second in SG: Putting across his last 24 rounds. The 36-year-old has also advanced to the weekend in eight of his last 10 attempts at tracks that present bentgrass greens and has been terrific at Colonial, making two-of-three cuts, with a T16 in 2016 and a solo seventh place last year. On the DraftKings Sportsbook, Mito Pereira and Merritt both carry +5000 odds to win the Charles Schwab, but the latter is $1,300 cheaper for DFS purposes, showing you how underpriced Merritt is for his upside.
Stewart Cink ($7,100) – Cink is a true course horse at Colonial, making 16-of-18 cuts at the par 70 with 12 top-30 finishes. The 49-year-old now returns to Fort Worth riding a three made cut streak. Cink gained strokes on approach in all three of these starts, with the latter two finishes of this stretch being a T9 at the Wells Fargo Championship and a T23 at the PGA Championship. In this type of form, Cink should add another quality finish to his Colonial resume and is a tough value to overlook at this low price point.
Adam Schenk ($6,000) – With a larger portion of the field advancing through the cut this week, I love rolling the dice on Schenk at this bare minimum price tag. In his major debut at the PGA Championship last week, Schenk gained 2.7 strokes with his irons and 4.6 strokes on the bentgrass greens at Southern Hills, lifting him to a very respectable T41 finish. The Purdue grad has now made three straight cuts, kicking this run off with a T9 at the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this month. Last, but not least, Schenk has impressively made 15 consecutive cuts at venues that sport bentgrass putting surfaces and has been competing on the weekend at the last two Charles Schwab Challenges.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) 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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit OPGR.org (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), ConnexOntario 1-866-531-2600 (ONT), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).
21+ (18+ NH/WY; 19+ ONT). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/ONT/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions. DraftKings operates pursuant to an Operating Agreement with iGaming Ontario. Please play responsibly.