After watching Brooks Koepka win his fourth major title and his second straight PGA Championship, we make our way to Colonial Country Club (par 70, 7,209 yards) in Fort Worth, Texas, for The 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge. Justin Rose was victorious here last season (-20), winning by three strokes, over who else, but Koepka. After facing the long and daunting Bethpage Black last week at The PGA Championship, these players get a shorter track with Colonial, where distance off the tee is essentially a non-factor. Most of, if not all, of the players will club down in order to help themselves find as many as these tight fairways as possible. Rose ranked T6 in fairways hit last season and Kevin Kisner led his field in fairways found during his win the year prior. The greens at Colonial are also small and hard to stick consistently, and per usual, we must heavily focus on approach stats this week.
Rose was first in GIR here last season and Kisner was 2nd in 2018. One of the only similarities Colonial has to Bethpage Black is that they are both par 70s, meaning that there are 12 par fours and only two par fives. Seven of these par fours fall in between 400-450 yards and each of the last three Charles Schwab winners have ranked T10 or better in par four scoring during their victories. Putting stats should have a slightly heavier weight than usual here and if looking for splits, these greens are Bermuda grass. Following the full 156 player field at The PGA Championship, only 122 players will be teeing it up at Colonial, with the usual top 70 and ties proceeding to the weekend. Roughly 60% of the golfers in Fort Worth will be playing four rounds, barring a WD or DQ, making this an ideal week to go with more stars and scrubs builds. @Hunta512.
John Rahm: (11,200)
Rahm’s 75 in the second round of The PGA Championship cost him the weekend and busted many of my lineups, but I still believe he is the best stud to attack at Colonial. He has shined here in his first two tries at the course, with a T2 and a T5 the past two years. Before the MC at Bethpage Black, Rahm had made 14 consecutive cuts and had finished outside the top ten only once in his last nine starts.
His tee to green has been strong (5th in L24 rounds), helping him to gain 6.7 total strokes per start in his past ten events. Rahm is tied with Rose for the best odds this week (11/1 via Bovada) and is my stud of choice, at a slight discount to the defending champ.
Jordan Spieth: (10,900)
I’ve stayed clear of Spieth for a long time, but he showed some serious signs of life last week at The PGA Championship. In the T3 finish, which is his first top ten since last year’s Open Championship, Spieth’s putter finally got hot (10.6 SGP), helping to avoid the most bogeys of the week. (seven) The Texas native now ranks 3rd in BOB%, 9th in bogeys avoided and 5th in SGP over his last 24 rounds and has made nine of his last ten cuts.
His approach play could be better (69th in SG APP), but Spieth’s confidence is finally coming around and he should ride this T3 into another strong performance in front of his hometown crowd this weekend. At Colonial, he is 6/6, with four top tens, including a win in 2016.
Francesco Molinari: (9,800)
Molinari has never competed at Colonial before, but him and this course are just a match made in heaven. He is a shorter hitter, who consistently finds the fairway and scores very well on par fours (9th in SG on P4s in L24 rounds), specifically on ones the fall between 400-450 yards. (10th in SG on P4s 400-450 yards in L24 rounds)
He has made 18 of his last 20 cuts and Molinari is at his best on Bermuda greens. Regardless of having no course history, Vegas has given him strong odds to win (15/1 via Bovada) and Molinari is a safe option for all formats.
Paul Casey: (9,300)
Casey is just downright underpriced this week. He just finished T29 at The PGA Championship and is six for his last eight, including four top fives and a win at The Valspar Championship just two months ago. He has gained over eight strokes tee to green in his last two events, helping him to rank 1st in SGT2G when comparing all of these players last 24 rounds.
Additionally, Casey is 2nd in BS, 2nd in GIR, 7th in SG APP, 4th in fairways gained, and 15th in SG on P4s during that time. He has only missed one cut at Colonial in five appearances and has posted two top tens at the short par 70. His ball striking is at an elite level right now and I am expecting another top 10 from Casey.
Scott Piercy: (8,600)
Piercy was solid at The PGA Championship (T41) and has been extremely consistent recently. (14 of last 15) Before Bethpage, he went T3 at The Heritage and T2 at The AT&T Byron Nelson Championship. Now, he has five top tens since the start of October and his stats have been solid across the board (20th in SGT2G, 25th in GIR, 27th in BS, 38th in fairways gained, 33rd in BOB%, and 21st in bogeys avoided in L24 rounds), especially on par fours. (11th in SG on P4s and 11th in SG on P4s between 400-450 yards in L24 rounds)
Piercy missed the cut here a year ago, but generated a T7 the previous season and is 4/6 overall, if we don’t include his DQ in 2009. His best putting splits come on Bermuda and Piercy is a fine spend that should produce a top 25.
Charley Hoffman: (7,600)
Hoffman is currently in the midst of a five made cut streak (three top 30s) and loves playing at Colonial Country Club. In the ten career starts at the track, he has yet to miss a cut and has five top 30s to his name.
He has gained strokes with his approaches in each of these last five made cuts and while he may not be the most exciting play, Hoffman is a lock to the make the cut.
Russell Knox: (7,400)
Yes, Knox missed the cut at Bethpage Black, but he still shouldn’t be this cheap. Leading up to the major, he had made 12 of 13 cuts and is 3/3 at Colonial, with a top 25 coming in each appearance.
His irons have been great (11th in SGT2G, 5th in SG APP, 12th in GIR, and 9th in BS in L24 rounds) and Knox has been in the fairway often. (22nd in fairways gained in L24 rounds) He was priced at $7,700 for this event a year ago and Knox is a cash game staple at this discount.
Jim Furyk: (7,300)
Furyk hasn’t made his last two cuts, but his history at Colonial is just too rich to not expect a bounce back showing this week. He has teed it up competitively at this course 21 times, made 16 cuts and has nine top 25s.
His short and safe style is exactly what you want in Fort Worth and despite missing back to back cuts, Furyk’s stat rankings have held strong. (12th in SGT2G, 4th in SG APP, 7th in GIR, 2nd in fairways gained, 1st in bogeys avoided, and 6th in SG on P4s in L24 rounds) At only $7,300, this is a nice time to buy low on the course horse.
Corey Conners: (7,200)
Conners was excellent here a year ago (T8) and is in prime position to make some more noise at Colonial. (four for his last six) This will only be his second career start at the track, but Conners has been lights out with his irons as of late, ranking 1st in SG APP, 3rd in SGT2G, 1st in BS, and 1st in GIR over his last 24 rounds.
During this time, he also ranks 14th in SG on P4s that are 400-450 yards in length. He just picked up his first ever PGA win at The Texas Open last month and while we might not see another victory, Conners should continue to be successful in the lone star state.
Kevin Streelman: (6,900)
Streelman has made three cuts in a row, with a pair of T6s included and it is all thanks to some elite ball striking. During this run, he has gained 8.0 ST2G and 4.8 SG APP per start. Plus, no player in this field has gained more strokes on par fours between 400-450 yards in their last 24 rounds than Streelman.
He is 5/9 at this course for his career, but has had most of his success here the last few years, making three of his last four cuts at Colonial. His 100/1 odds to win are the best of all the players sub $7,000 and Streelman is the strongest play in this price range.
Shawn Stefani: (6,800)
After a really ugly start to the season, Stefani has made seven of his last nine cuts and is fresh off two straight top 20s. (T13 at The Wells Fargo and T20 at The AT&T Byron Nelson) He has been sticking greens at a high rate (11th in GIR and 14th in SG APP in L24 rounds), avoiding bogeys (8th in bogeys avoided in L24 rounds) and also scoring very well on par fours. (7th in SG on P4s in L24 rounds)
Last, but not least, Stefani is originally from Texas and has a spotless 4/4 track record at Colonial. With a higher percentage of golfers making the cut in this innovational style event, I think Stefani is a viable cheap option for both cash games and GPPs.
Nate Lashley: (6,400)
Lashley has made two cuts in a row and is seven for his last nine on the Tour. His stats aren’t eye popping, but Lashley is a fine iron player (16th in SG APP and 29th in GIR in L24 rounds) and putter (19th in SGP in L24 rounds), that rolls it best on Bermuda grass.
He has no experience at Colonial, but if you’re looking for a full punt that at least has a decent shot of making the cut, Lashley fits the bill at $6,400.
*Please note that some of these rankings are from Fantasynational.com