Whom you should bet on and roster for this week's Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club.
The week after a major championship is always a challenge for PGA Tour pros—a challenge to hit the reset button, to different playing conditions as well as an atmosphere and golf course that are often the polar opposite of the week before. After attempting to bomb and gauge the beast known as Bethpage Black, the tour heads to Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Justin Rose returns to Hogan’s alley to defend his title after defeating Brooks Koepka (yes, Koepka actually lost a tournament) a year ago. Rose heads to Colonial after a disappointing T29 at the PGA Championship, capped off by a 73-75 weekend.
Along with Rose, seven of the top 15 players in the world will compete including fellow European Francesco Molinari, who makes his Colonial debut. Texas resident Jordan Spieth returns to Fort Worth back in the top 30 in the OWGR after a strong showing (T3) at the PGA, as does Rickie Fowler, who’s missed just one cut in just one of six tries at Colonial.
Colonial has hosted this event since 1946 and is a stark contrast to Bethpage Black, and frankly most other courses on the PGA Tour schedule. The tight tree-lined fairways feature a ton of doglegs requiring players to shape many of their shots into the course’s smaller greens. Greens in Regulation strokes gained Putting should be key factors this week at Colonial.
Nuts and bolts
Course: Colonial Country Club (7,209 yards, par 70)
Defending champion: Justin Rose (-20, 260)
Weather forecast: Mostly sunny temperatures in the mid 80s. Chance of showers Thursday.
Jon Rahm (10/1, $12,000)
This will mark the thirdd consecutive year the big Spaniard visits Colonial, and why wouldn’t he go back given his record?. After a T2 finish in his debut in 2017, he returned last year and finished T5. Rahm is rested after missing the cut by a stroke at Bethpage and ranks 17th in birdie average, 18th in scoring average and is 41st in greens in regulation.
Jordan Spieth (14/1, $11,400)
Coming into the PGA, Spieth hadn’t notched a top 20 since the 2018 FedEx Cup playoffs, but he was not bullied by Bethpage Black. Though he was unable to complete the career Grand Slam Spieth put together opening rounds of 69 and 66 and ultimately took T3, which marked his best finish since the 2018 Masters.
The Dallas native won at Colonial in 2016 and is a perfect six for six in cuts made, with two runner-up finishes in the mix. The biggest positive for Spieth is that his putter is returning to form. He led the field in strokes gained putting at the PGA Championship, gaining close to 11 shots on the field with the blade—statistically his best week ever.
Ryan Palmer (45/1, $9,700)
After a win a couple of weeks ago at the Zurich, Palmer returns to Colonial, where he is a member. The Texan has made the cut 11 out of 15 tries in the event and has three top fives over his last seven appearances. He currently ranks 10th in greens in regulation, ninth in birdie average and 35th in strokes gained approach. If his putter is on, Palmer is a consistent threat at his home course.
Danny Lee (100/1, $8,700)
Lee lit up the leaderboard on Thursday at the PGA Championship with an opening-round 64. He proceeded to fade over the next three days, with three consecutive rounds in the 70’s, but the round 1 performance shows he can go very low on any given day. Lee is a perfect six for six in his hometown event and has logged three top 15s over his last five trips to Colonial. He ranks in the top 50 in strokes gained approach.
Justin Rose (10/1, $12,200)
After weekend rounds of 73 and 75 at Bethpage Black, Rose appears to be a man in search of his game. The defending champ is nowhere near the form he was a year ago, when he went 66-64 on the weekend to win by three. Accuracy is the main problem Rose is dealing with right now. He ranks 170th in Driving Accuracy and 136t in GIR %. Comparatively, in 2018 Rose ranked 33rd and 23r in those statistical categories.