May 23, 2023, 11:24 am
The PGA Tour returns after a wonderful second major of the season that produced tons of great moments throughout the week. Brooks Koepka was able to return to glory and add his 5th major championship (3rd PGA Championship) to his resume and appears to being back to the Brooks Koepka we have grown accustomed to seeing at majors over the years. Koepka was able to hold off an excellent performance from Viktor Hovland who continues to impress at majors and appears on the brink of becoming a major champion himself. Scottie Scheffler also made a strong charge up the leaderboard on Sunday, but what done in by a mediocre Saturday round that left him a little too far back of Koepka heading into the final round.
This week the Tour heads back for the conclusion of the Texas swing with the Charles Schwab Challenge played at historic Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. This week kicks off a great stretch of golf between majors (especially compared to the lackluster events we get between the Masters and PGA Championship). After this week we head to an elevated event with The Memorial, followed up by the Canadian Open which seems poised for another great field this year and will lead us right into the U.S. Open. Time to lock in and focus on the week ahead.
Colonial Country Club will once again be the home of the Charles Schwab Challenge. Colonial CC has been a staple on tour and has produced some exciting finishes over the years including last year’s edition that saw Sam Burns take down Scottie Scheffler in a playoff.
Quite the contrast to last week’s course in terms of length, Colonial plays as a par 70 and just a touch over 7,200 yards. The fairways are tree-lined and small in width with plenty of doglegs to contend with. This forces strategic shots from tee to green that require plenty of “club down” tee shots. The greens are Bentgrass that play fast and are smaller than the average tour green size.
Typically, one of the more difficult courses played on the calendar, Colonial has only two par-5s on the card with hole 1 being an “easy” start for players with a birdie rate near 50%. Hole 2 is also quite gettable, yielding a birdie over 25% of the time. Scoring quickly becomes an issue when players are faced with the “Horrible Horseshoe” which is comprised of holes 3-5 and play as three of the four toughest holes on the course. These holes combine to play a half stroke over par on average, so getting out of that stretch par, par, par is never a bad thing.
Here is a link to a flyover of the course:
The field this week is somewhat reduced compared to a normal tour stop as this is an invitational event. Only 120 golfers will tee it up this week with the traditional T65 and ties advancing to the weekend. Similar to last week (albeit for different reasons) we can expect an increased 6/6 percentage in DFS contest this week with over half of the field making the cut.
For being a non-elevated event the week after a major, the Charles Schwab Challenge has managed to draw a pretty strong field with a lot of top end talent. Texas staples Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth headline the field with other top players such as Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa and Max Homa are making the trip from Rochester to Forth Worth. Other notables include Sungjae Im, defending champion Sam Burns, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and the darling of the golf world from last week Michael Block getting in on a sponsor’s exception.
In addition to the stats listed below this week, I will look at course history as well as performance at comparable courses such as Sedgefield CC, Waialae CC, Innisbrook, and Harbour Town.
Here are the key stats I am considering when building my lineups this week.
- SG: Approach– Iron play is always on this list and forever will be. It is the most correlated long-term stat with success. With the course on the shorter side of things and players unable to overpower the course due to tight, tree lined fairways, an extra emphasis will be put on iron play.
- Par 4 Scoring– Being a par 70 with only two par-5s, the par-4s make up 2/3rds of the holes this week. In particular I will be looking at those who perform well on par-4s in the 400–450-yard range, as there are seven holes that fit that bucket this week.
- SG:P (Bentgrass)– Looking at previous top finishers here, putting was the second highest correlated stat to success at Colonial. Previous winners gained over a stroke per round compared to the field (compared to only .5 strokes off the tee and .14 strokes around the green). A mix of overall putting numbers and a focus on Bentgrass putting numbers would be optimal.
- Good Drives Gained/ Driving Accuracy- Much like the comp courses listed above, Colonial demands precision off the tee to contend. Those who are not accurate with the driver this week will more than likely not have the result they are looking for this week.
- Bogey Avoidance- I am expecting the winning score to fall in the 10 to 15 under range as Colonial is traditionally one of the more difficult non-major venues on the schedule. Limiting bogeys and grinding out pars will be a helpful skill this week.
Follow me on Twitter @mlafem10 for additional thoughts as the week goes on and I’d be happy to help out with any lineup questions you have. Let’s make some money!
Round 1 Props
Thrive Contest Plays for Thursday’s Round 1 Action
Scottie Scheffler 68.5 Stokes: LESS (110 PTS)- I have been attacking these lines for the past few weeks to good results. Thrive typically gives us the top guy on the board to shoot two under and I see no reason why Scheffler won’t this Thursday. He had one poor Saturday to put him too far back to catch Koepka last week, but the runner up here last year is a scoring machine that will look to get off to a strong start this week.
Viktor Hovland 3.5 Birdies: MORE (80 PTS)- Hovland is coming off a tremedous effort at the PGA Championship where if it wasn’t for the unfortunate events at the 16th hole, very well could have won his first major championship. Overall, he still had a fantastic Sunday and I expect him to continue to ride that momentum into this week. Hovland ranks 4th in birdie or better percentage in the field as well as excellent on the key par-4 scoring that will be crucial this week.
Justin Rose 3.5 Birdies + Eagles: MORE (85 PTS)- the 2018 champion of this event comes in with excellent form that I am betting on continuing this week. Rose has excellent course history at Colonial and should be able to ride the hot putter he’s flashed lately on his best green surface of Bentgrass. Rose also comes in on fire with his irons where he hasn’t lost strokes to the field in that department since the AMEX in mid-January.
Props Record YTD
DFS Top Tier Play
At this point I don’t need to sell you on Scottie Scheffler being a good play, that is obvious. To Scottie or not to Scottie really comes down to how your want to build your lineups. I think there is enough plays in the lower $7K/ upper $6K to comfortably fit in Scheffler, and there is enough of a variety of options in that range to make sure my Scheffler lineups will be different than the rest of the field. I assume Scheffler will be one of the highest owned players of the week, that comes with the territory of being the most expensive golfer on the board. I do think his ownership will be kept in check however, because of the strength of golfers behind him as options this week between Finau, Spieth, Hovland and Morikawa. I don’t mind going with a balanced approach if you’re are building multiple lineups, but I will be sure to be overweight to the field in my Scheffler shares.
Others Considered: Justin Rose ($9,300), Collin Morikawa ($10,400)
DFS Mid Tier Play
Colonial Country Club screams Denny McCarthy to me, so I was a little surprised to see his middling history at this course. I am going to override the course history with current form from McCarthy, who has been playing exceptional golf as of late. Since the end of January, he has only two missed cuts (with the last one being at the Honda in February) and hasn’t been outside of the top 30 of the final leaderboards during that span. He is deadly accurate off the tee and is an elite putter. His approach play has been a lot more consistent as of late and if he can give himself enough opportunities this week, I expect to see Denny near the top of the board this week.
Others Considered: Chris Kirk ($9,100), Stephan Jaeger ($8,100)
DFS Value Play
Full disclosure, I would probably roster Eric Cole for cash games, and I will probably sprinkle him into GPP lineups as well. I think Putnam is a great tournament play as well. Putnam missed the cut on the number last week, but Colonial should fit his eye much better than Oak Hill. His iron play had been heating up heading into last week, gaining at least four stokes in each of his previous three events. Putnam is also strong with the putter and his boom potential course history at Colonial with three made cuts in five attempts that include a 20th, 3rd, and a 15th.
Others Considered: Eric Cole ($7,200), Austin Eckroat ($6,700)
Collin Morikawa +1600
Justin Rose +3300
Harris English +9000
Andrew Putnam +12000
Position Player Name DK Salary G Scottie Scheffler $11,500 G Denny McCarthy $8,700 G Stephan Jaeger $8,100 G Andrew Putnam $7,100 G G REMAINING BUDGET $14,600 for 2 golfers
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