The Confidence Factor: 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge Preview

I’ve always called it Colonial and always will.

Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club

Fort Worth, Texas

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,209
Par: 70 (35-35)
Greens: 5,000 square feet; A-4 Bentgrass
Stimpmeter: 12′
Rough:  Bermuda
Bunkers: 84
Water Hazards: 4
Architect(s): John Bredemus, Perry Maxwell (1936).
Purse: $7.3 million; $1.314 winner plus 500 FedExCup Points.
Defending Champion: Justin Rose (-20).
Notes: Field of 122; top 70 and ties after 36 holes advance.

Previous Winners:

Year Winner   Comment
       
2018 Justin Rose -20 Cruised to a three-shot victory over Brooks Koepka.
2017 Kevin Kisner -10 Beat the weather and made up a three-shot deficit in the final round.
2016 Jordan Spieth -17 Ball-in-hand in the closely-mown areas due to heavy weather.
2015 Chris Kirk -12 Held off Spieth and Brandt Snedeker to win by one.
2014 Adam Scott -9 Defeated Jason Dufner in a playoff after both closed with 66.
2013 Boo Weekley -14 One better than Matt Kuchar, who held the 54-hole lead.
2012 Zach Johnson -12 Not even a final-hole penalty could stop him as he caught and passed Jason Dufner.
2011 David Toms -15 Opened 62-62 but didn’t hold the 54-hole lead!
2010 Zach Johnson -21 Set the tournament record from one shot off the lead in the final round.

2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
   
Safeway Open Kevin Tway**
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Championship Cameron Champ**
WGC-HSBC Champions Xander Schauffele
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau
Mayakoba Golf Classic Matt Kuchar
The RSM Classic Charles Howell III
Hero World Challenge* Jon Rahm
Sentry TOC Xander Schauffele (2)
Sony Open in Hawaii Matt Kuchar (2)
60th Desert Classic Adam Long**
Farmers Insurance Open Justin Rose
Waste Management Rickie Fowler
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phil Mickelson
Genesis Open J.B. Holmes
WGC-Mexico Championship Dustin Johnson
The Honda Classic Keith Mitchell**
Arnold Palmer Invitational Francesco Molinari
THE PLAYERS Rory McIlroy
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
WGC-Match Play Kevin Kisner
Corales Punta Cana Graeme McDowell
Valero Texas Open Corey Conners**
83rd Masters Tournament Tiger Woods
RBC Heritage C.T. Pan**
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Ryan Palmer & Jon Rahm (2)
Wells Fargo Championship Max Homa**
AT&T Byron Nelson Sung Kang**
PGA Championship Brooks Koepka (2)

(* unofficial event; **First-time winner)

Facts and Figures:

Colonial almost fell out of the rotation before last year’s event but this timeless classic was saved by the community of Fort Worth. The classics never die and moving the ball both directions off the tees and fairways will never grow old.

You history buffs will know it was the first course south of the Mason-Dixon Line to host the U.S. Open and it has also hosted the TOUR Championship.

Tournament Record: 259 (-21); Johnson, 2010.
Course Record (last): 61; Kevin Na (Round 4, 2018).
Defending Champions: Ben Hogan, twice.
Multiple Winners (entered) Johnson and Kenny Perry.
First TOUR win (recent): Sergio Garcia (2001).
First Appearance: Garcia (2001).
Margin of Victory (recent): 3 shots (Rose, Spieth)
Low Rounds 2018: 61; Na. 62; Na. 63; Corey Conners, Brooks Koepka and Charley Hoffman.
Odd Fact: Only Augusta has hosted a TOUR event in more consecutive seasons.
Odd Fact II: Only Adam Scott has won the Texas Grand Slam. Ever.
Odd Fact III: Just five Texans have won this event and just two (Spieth, Ben Crenshaw) since 1989.

 

The Confidence Factor was the weekly column I wrote for PGATOUR.COM. It has evolved into Horses for Courses. I’ve included the link here for you.

Trend or Not a Trend?

Stats 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
  Justin Rose Kevin Kisner Jordan Spieth Chris Kirk Adam Scott
Score 260 270 263 268 271
           
All Drives 19 49 11 T44 49
Accuracy T6 T1 T64 T60 T8
GIR 1 2 T42 T62 T10
Ball-Striking T1 1 24 68 13
Proximity 2 22 10 T57 T13
Putting: Birdie or Better % 4 32 1 1 T10
SG: Off-the-Tee 4 30 42 56 31
SG: Approach-the-Green 1 23 7 25 3
SG: Around-the-Green 19 2 18 17 61
SG: Putting 21 3 7 2 26
SG: Tee-to-Green 1 5 8 30 9
Scrambling T30 2 T30 39 16
Bogey Avoidance T1 1 1 45 T5
Par-3 Scoring T46 T26 T12 T1 T1
Par-4 Scoring 2 2 T3 T11 T25
Par-5 Scoring T2 T7 T17 T21 T27

Horses for Courses

Each week I’ll put the major players in here. There are always exceptions to rules and “new” players every year so use this as a guide or tiebreaker.

Player Cuts Top Top Most
  Made 10s 25s Recent
         
Justin Rose 5/5 1 2 Win (2018)
Emiliano Grillo 3/3 1 2 3 (2018)
Kevin Na 10/12 4 7 4 (2018)
Jon Rahm 2/2 2 2 T5 (2018)
Louis Oosthuizen 4/5 1 2 T5 (2018)
Kevin Tway 2/3 1 2 T5 (2018)
Ben Crane 9/12 5 6 T8 (2018)
Joaquin Niemann 1/1 1 1 T8 (2018)
Corey Conners 1/1 1 1 T8 (2018)
         
Kevin Kisner 4/5 3 3 Win (2017)
Jordan Spieth 6/6 4 5 T2 (2017)
Danny Lee 6/6 2 4 6 (2017)
Brian Harman 5/6 2 4 T7 (2017)
Scott Piercy 4/7 1 1 T7 (2017)
Paul Casey 4/5 2 3 T10 (2017)
         
Ryan Palmer 11/15 3 5 T3 (2016)
Anirban Lahiri 2/3 1 1 T6 (2016)
Jason Dufner 6/10 3 3 T6 (2016)
         
Brandt Snedeker 8/8 1 3 T2 (2015)
Ian Poulter 4/5 2 3 T5 (2015)
Pat Perez 9/13 4 4 T5 (2015)
Rory Sabbatini 12/18 4 6 T10 (2015)
Charley Hoffman 10/10 1 4 T10 (2015)
Colt Knost 2/6 1 1 T10 (2015)
         
David Toms 14/19 6 9 T5 (2014)
Jimmy Walker 5/5 1 2 T10 (2014)
Michael Thompson 5/6 1 1 T10 (2014)
         
         
Player Cuts Top Top Most
  Made 10s 25s Recent
         
Boo Weekley 6/9 1 2 Win (2013)
Zach Johnson 12/13 5 8 3 (2013)
Scott Stallings 2/7 1 1 T4 (2013)
Matt Every 2/5 1 1 T4 (2013)
Chris Stroud 5/8 1 4 T7 (2013)
         
Jim Furyk 16/21 7 9 4 (2012)
Rickie Fowler 5/6 1 3 T5 (2012)
Jonas Blixt 4/5 1 3 T10 (2012)
         
Chez Reavie 5/8 1 2 T5 (2011)
Bill Haas 8/9 1 5 T8 (2011)
Rod Pampling 8/14 4 5 T10 (2011)
Martin Laird 5/8 2 2 T10 (2011)
Kevin Streelman 5/9 1 2 T10 (2011)

Thoughts

Course history and experience will matter to most this week except the savagely talented youth. I’m looking at you, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka. Both finished second in their debuts.

Two rookies, Joaquin Niemann and Corey Conners both hit the top 10 this year and both of them are known for their tee-to-green prowess.

Turning the golf ball both directions isn’t for everyone. There’s just enough trouble out here to get guys off track to lose ground.

Without two extra Par-5 scoring chances it’s imperative to keep the card relatively clean and to score on Par-4 and Par-3 holes.

The weather looks benign for Texas standards and the rough is way down so I’d expect another week of birdies in the Lone Star state.

As Rob Bolton pointed out in his Power Rankings, the average winner here is mid 30’s and has played a handful of times.

After a rough ride last week at Bethpage the “tight” fairways at Colonial won’t feel that confining and the “fast” greens won’t seem so fast.

The Chalk

Jon Rahm: Bludgeoned CCC to the tune of 67.63 over eight rounds with nothing outside T5. It’s obvious this track fits his eye.

Jordan Spieth: Now THIS WEEK is the home game that fantasy fans should be encouraged about. Spieth’s record here is magnificent and his game is rounding into shape (T3 PGA) to give the hometown fans something to cheer about. He gained over 10 shots on Bentgrass putting last week and he knows these greens even better.

Paul Casey: The only time he’s struggled this year has been the majors and THE PLAYERS. Playing out of the final group here in 2017 he was caught up in the jet wash and crashed to T10. Moving the golf ball is his specialty. NOW MAKE A PUTT ALREADY.

Justin Rose: It’s not happening at the moment either for this Englishman in the majors but a title defense might be the perfect tonic to snap him to attention. Similarly to Casey, most of the other events have been excellent. Only Hogan has defended so that’s some history to overcome. A top 10 is certainly not out of the question.

Xander Schauffele: He played so well last week at Bethpage that a final round 76 (+6) only saw him drop to T16. Rahm-like power can shorten this track and he’s a better putter.

Rickie Fowler: My dawg Jay asked me if he’s going to be this generation’s Lee Westwood. I can’t get that thought out of my head. He should be in the mix again this week just like he usually is.

Bryson DeChambeau: I’m not waiting around until after he figures it out to tell you that I think he’s figured it out. He opened 67-68 last year before cashing T42. This is the fourth time running and he should have the solution by now. Why he’s gotten a free pass on a VERY quiet spring is beyond me though. Time for the bounce-back before he defends next week at Memorial.

Scott Piercy: Last time he was required to work it around a short course he was T3 at Harbour Town and before that T10 at Pebble Beach. #SaddleSores.

Rory Sabbatini: The 2007 champ has rattled off nine straight on TOUR with three of the last four painting the top 10. This will be event No. 19 at Colonial for him (T20, MC and T10 last three).

Louis Oosthuizen: I hope everyone runs away because of his 79 on Sunday at Bethpage. Of 17 rounds here eight are in the red and that’s hardly a surprise given the way he works it.

Ian Poulter: Making his first visit since MC in 2016, Poults had cashed in his other four trips with two coming in the top 10. Missing the cut last week just gave him two extra days to prepare for this week.

Brandt Snedeker: Anyone who broke 70 on Sunday at Bethpage should be noticed. Sneds fired 69 and has never MC in eight trips. Something is clicking with Todd Anderson because you cannot fake it around that track. His 67 on Friday helped him secure T16.

Kevin Kisner: It’s not Bermuda but it’s also not 7,500 yards. It’s not hard to connect the dots here based on his past history.

Kevin Na: Making his 13th trip, his two best rounds were posted last year with 61 and 62.

Tony Finau: I have Finau Fatigue. I’m not sure if it’s contagious but whatever. With six rounds in the 60’s from 12 at CCC, there’s optimism. With five others 71 or worse, there’s pessimism. In a light field I’ll lean on him. SOMEBODY TELL HIM THIS IS THE MASTERS OF TEXAS OK.

Next Tier

Chez Reavie: Five in a row, all moving in the proper direction, including T14 at Bethpage.

Danny Lee: Irving resident’s worse finish here in the last four years is T22. Probably should move him up.

Russell Knox: Always on the weekend (13 of 16) and has T25 or better in all three attempts here.

Ryan Palmer: Quiet after his team win with Rahm but it’s a home game this week. It hasn’t translated enough over the years to it might be more distraction than fun. Careful.

Matt Jones: 10 straight on TOUR but his record here is hot garbage. Heat trumps course form for me. He’s 32nd SG:Total.

Charley Hoffman: He’s never missed in 10 tries and has rattled off six straight on TOUR. Never misses at Valero either. Honorary Texan.

Abraham Ancer: Played his final 54 holes at Bethpage in EVEN par.

Zach Johnson: Two-time champ used to be AUTOMATIC here but that might not be the case anymore. He’s worth a flier to round out a lineup after T16 at RBC and opening 71-69 last week:

Pat Perez: 20% of his rounds are 66 or better but is wonderfully all-or-nothing here.

Graeme McDowell: The Open is in Northern Ireland. He’s not qualified yet. I can’t say it any plainer than that. Not a big building this week either and that should help.

Jimmy Walker: His favorite course is Riviera, the other “Hogan’s Alley”. He’s never missed here and rolls in hot after his 2019 best of T23 at Bethpage.

I Have No Idea

Francesco Molinari: I get the theory on form and class but I’m not sure how not being able to close at the Masters has affected his play. He played the following week at RBC (MC) before returning last week to Bethpage Black (T48). I would THINK this would be the week he turns it back around but I’d be more interested if he’s playing Memorial next week.

Matthew Fitzpatrick/Si Woo Kim: I literally get the sweats every time they’re in the field because I have no idea. Someday I’ll get it figured out. I hope.

Form/Long Shots/Course Horse/DFS

J.T. Poston: Half of his eight rounds here are in the 60’s. Half of those are 65. Quick study.

Jason Dufner: Two seconds and a sixth. Found something at Quail Hollow with T4.

Joel Dahmen: If Sung Kang wins in Dallas it’s only fitting that Dahmen, who’s cashed in eight straight, wins this week in Fort Worth.

Kevin Tway: T5 and T18 in his last two visits but nothing on his own ball since Sony way back when.

Brian Stuard: Forth Worth resident has closed with 65 in his last two events on TOUR.

Jonas Blixt: T18 or better in three of five here.

Tom Hoge: TCU alum T42 and T17 in his last two and has cashed three straight.

Shawn Stefani: Never MC in four tries plus three straight on TOUR in the top 30.

Corey Conners: Big ball-striking week (T7 fairways, T20 GIR) at Bethpage.

Scott Brown: MC, T5, MC and T7 in his last four. Streaks gotta continue, right?

Kramer Hickok: Dallas native enters on seven of eight.

Anirban Lahiri: Of his 10 rounds here six are in the 60s.

Vaughn Taylor: Cashed his last four trips and T17 or better his last two on TOUR.

K.H. Lee: Top 45 in fairways and GIR = cuts made in nine of 10.

Emiliano Grillo: He doesn’t MC very often and he’s cashed T3 and T24 in his last two here. Also has a round of 73 or worse in eight straight back to the Sony Open.

Jim Furyk: When accuracy is required it’s tough to omit him in a skinny field.

Ben Crane: This is his bowl game.

David Toms: Lit on the Champions Tour and has won here before.

Bud Cauley Section

Up to three straight paydays for our hero!

He’s also cashed (T41, T21 and T14) in his last three visits to Colonial. He leads the TOUR in SG: Around the Green.

Fades

Peter Uihlein: Did the business on a course with no rough and fairways a mile wide. I’ll need some more information.

Ben An: Not sure where he is after his neck deal at Quail Hollow. He was in the playoff at Memorial last year so I’ll wait a week.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter (@MikeGlasscott) or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

 

 

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