2020 Charles Schwab Challenge Preview

You already know he’ a course horse this week. Plenty more evaluated below.

Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club

Fort Worth, Texas

Yards: (per official scorecard): 7,209
Par: 70; (35-35)
Greens: A-4 Bentgrass; 5,000 square feet on average.
Stimpmeter: 12′ max
Rough: Bermuda mix (three inches).
Bunkers/Water Hazards 84/4
Architect(s): John Bredemus, Perry Maxwell (1936).
Purse: $7.5 million; $1.35 million and 500 FedExCup points (winner).
Defending Champion: Kevin Na (-13), 267.
Fact of the Week: Field bumps from 120 to 148; 101 TOUR winners entered.
Fact of the Week II: Top 5 OWGR and 15 of the top 20.

 

2019-2020 Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
   
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier *- Joaquin Niemann
Sanderson Farms Championship *- Sebastian Munoz
Safeway Open Cameron Champ
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Kevin Na
Houston Open *-Lanto Griffin
CJ CUP AT NINE BRIDGES Justin Thomas
ZOZO Championship Tiger Woods
WGC-HSBC Champions Rory McIlroy
Bermuda Championship Brendon Todd
Mayakoba Golf Classic Brendon Todd (2)
The RSM Classic *-Tyler Duncan
Hero World Challenge Henrik Stenson
Sentry Tournament of Champions Justin Thomas (2)
Sony Open Cameron Smith
The American Express Andrew Landry
Farmers Insurance Open Marc Leishman
Waste Management Phoenix Open Webb Simpson
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Nick Taylor
The Genesis Invitational Adam Scott
WGC-Mexico Championship Patrick Reed
The Honda Classic *-Sungjae Im
Arnold Palmer Invitational Tyrrell Hatton
THE PLAYERS Championship Abandoned due to COVID-19; no winner

 

Horses for Courses (The Confidence Factor) publishes at PGATOUR.COM Tuesdays. It’s a look who has played well here recently so I suggest reading it as I won’t replicate all of the information here.

 

Recent Event Winners

Year Player Notes
2019 Kevin Na, -13 Won by four, fired 62 in Round 2; gusty conditions all week.
2018 Justin Rose, -20 Worst round of the week was 66 twice; won by three in benign, hot conditions; first event since 2010.
2017 Kevin Kisner, -10 Came from off the pace to win by one, holding off Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm.
2016 Jordan Spieth, -17 Soft and wet (ball-in-hand) conditions; won by three over Harris English.
2015 Chris Kirk, -12 Na couldn’t hold his 54-hole lead as Kirk fired 66 to defeat Spieth and others by a shot.

 

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record: 259; Zach Johnson, 2010.
Course Record: 61; Six times. Kevin Na (last to do it) 2018; Chad Campbell also 2004. Both in the field this week.
Defending Champion(s): Ben Hogan, twice.
Multiple Winners Entered: Johnson (2010, 2012) and Phil Mickelson (2000, 2008).
First-time – TOUR (this century): Sergio Garcia, 2001.
First-time – Event Garcia, 2001.
Oldest Winner: Tom Watson, 48 (1998).
Youngest Winner: Jordan Spieth, 22 (2016).
Low Rounds 2019: 62; Na (Round 2).

63; Charley Hoffman (Round 3).

64; Tony Finau (Round 1).

Local Winners: Spieth became just the fifth native Texan to win.
Odd Fact: Colonial has hosted an event on since 1946, the longest running streak (non-major) on TOUR.

 

Quick thoughts:

I’m rusty so any errors, I apologize and you will receive a 100% refund!

Glad to be back, as are the players I’m guessing, to having REAL GOLF in our lives again.

This week course history will be an excellent guide because not much changes around Colonial and we don’t have a ton of “form” to dissect. It’s a 13-week sprint to East Lake so don’t be surprised if the rust takes a while to knock off. Guys know they’re in it for the long, HOT, haul as spring ends and summer begins.

Good News, Bad News: BIG field is a new angle this week so that will open up plenty of additional WHAT IFS in fantasy land. I’ll point out this event followed the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black last May so take that with a grain of salt when reviewing last year’s leaderboard and MCs.

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Altitude: Those who aren’t playing this week all have their reasons but the ones who have showed up know exactly what they are getting into so I’m not worried. From everything I’ve read the PGA TOUR has been up front with all of the new rules and regulations and nothing, besides the actual silence on the course during play, should be “surprising” this week.

So What? So Let’s Dance! Hit all the range balls you want. Chip and putt from sun up until sun down. Get in the gym twice a day. Still gotta put the ball in the hole 72 times with temperatures reaching the mid 90s! Nothing replaces or replicates TOUR golf with $1.35 million on the line. Nothing.

Colonial isn’t the hit-and-giggle warm hug (YOU CAN’T HUG ANYMORE, STOP THAT) resort course to get back to it but the first hole is. It’s one of the two Par-5 holes and usually plays the easiest (think Riviera). Then the fun starts with the Horrible Horseshoe (Nos. 3, 4 and 5), which annually are the toughest set on the course. Hold your nerve thru that stretch and away you go.

Grinding out pars and taking advantage of birdie opportunities is what works around here and so does experience, at least for the winners. Elite talent is just that so it’s not surprising that Rahm and Koepka nearly won in their first visits. A hot putter goes a long way this week, and every week, but I wonder how many guys have Bentgrass in their backyards?

 

Superstars:

Rory McIlroy: The last time he played a relatively short track in his first attempt he closed with 61 at the RBC Canadian Open. It shouldn’t take him more than a practice round to figure out the dos and don’ts here and his talent should handle the rest. Ball-striker on a ball-striker’s track.

Jon Rahm: T2 on debut backed by T5 (-19 under total) announced that the young Spaniard was also a quick study here like his countryman Garcia before him (see above). He MC last year after MC at Bethpage but since has 10 podiums from 18 worldwide events. Yeah.

Brooks Koepka: Ice cold beginning to the year should thaw rapidly starting this week. Opened with 70 in his only appearance in 2018 but followed with 63-67-63 to lose to Rose by three. Moustache is trimmed and ready to go and I’ll bet the chip on his shoulder this week was not being invited to play in any made-for-TV reindeer games during the hiatus. He’ll find something if that’s not it.

Justin Thomas: Like a good book, I can’t leave him alone. Last 11 starts worldwide have procured two wins and six other top-10 paydays. Very few holes in his game and should slide nicely into Colonial with his wedge game.

Dustin Johnson: He’s left gamers, like me, in the lurch when he didn’t fire at Pebble or WGC-Mexico on tracks where he’s ran riot over the years. Maybe a change of scenery is what he needs and this week qualifies since he hasn’t teed it since 2014 (T14). Not the “get loose” track for me. Do you have anything in Kapalua then?

Patrick Reed: Backed up his solid win in Mexico City with T15 at API before all hell broke loose. There’s always the Masters angle here (Phil, ZJ, Spieth, Rose, etc) and Reed has gained on it each visit. Living outside Houston the heat, sweat and travel won’t bother him either. Having his short game never hurts.

Webb Simpson: Probably feels like he’s owed one here after not closing the 54-hole lead in 2017 (fifth) and sitting one back after 54 in 2016 (T3). With five top 10s including his win at TPC Scottsdale in his last six worldwide, he should be one of the favorites.

Xander Schauffele: His last finish outside of the top 30, when making the cut on US SOIL, is last year at the RBC Heritage after the Masters. Got it.

Justin Rose: Honma and Rose split in early March after three MC in his first four TOUR starts of 2020. Luckily he’s had 90 days to answer all of the WHY questions and should be focused on golf this week. Then I see he’s sponsoring a buncha tournaments in Europe this summer and get confused again. Focused?

Bryson DeChambeau: As long as he doesn’t show up as Lou Ferrigno, I’m down to clown. He’s top fived it in his last three so the muscle is working. Course historians will immediately OMIT him because he’s only broken par twice here in 10 tries. Excellent contrarian action.

Marc Leishman: Quick, name the last player to win on TOUR? If you said Leishman, you were close, as he was solo second to Tyrrell Hatton (DNS) at Bay Hill. He’ll be disappointed the wind won’t be howling this week. No top 10s and just two top 25s from a perfect 7-7 return. Include him anyhow.

Tony Finau: Remember when he was 2-up with 2 to play at WMPO and Simpson went birdie-birdie-birdie to come back and win in a playoff? The big hitter, who was second here last year to Na, followed TPC Scottsdale with T51 and MC. Hopefully the time off straightened him out but he’s followed by the question of “Why don’t you win more?” each week. Another who I’d prefer in less-than-ideal conditions.

Matt Kuchar: T2 at the other Hogan’s Alley, Riviera, earlier this season. Only MC once from 11 tries as he keeps it between the yellow lines tee-to-green.

Gary Woodland: Not normally on his schedule so I’m passing this week as he busts some rust. Fantasy golf is full of tough choices, I know.

Louis Oosthuizen: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: He WD last time out (shoulder). Last time he was here in 2018 he entered on MC-MC and cashed T5. Sounds about right. Let me know when you get it figured out! I’ll play him at St. Andrews.

Shane Lowry: Not being able to defend his Claret Jug means he gets it for another year, right? I bet it’s blacker than Montgomery Burns’ heart in there from all the Guinness! Anyhow, his last four on TOUR are T29 or better and foreign-born players have won the last two editions.

Sungjae Im: Won at Honda and solo third the following week at Bay Hill. He lives out of a suitcase so this bubble probably won’t bother him. BUT in the last year he’s MC at RBC Heritage (small greens), TPC Sawgrass (small greens), Riviera (other Hogan’s Alley) and Colonial. Fade.

Matthew Fitzpatrick: Rounding out the OWGR top 25 entered this week, the Englishman doesn’t convince me on Bentgrass even if he hits every fairway.

 

Look Closer:

Kevin Na: Ya think?

Jordan Spieth: Yeah, him too. Eats like me at a buffet here. Made 480 feet of putts here last year.

Ryan Palmer: Member with top 10s in four of his last eight.

Harris English: 33 rounds at par or better entering the week and a course horse at Colonial.

Rory Sabbatini: Veterans know how to get it around here and stay in the mix. This is start No. 20 for the 2007 champ. T6 last year.

Brian Harman: T31 or better in his last six visits.

Jim Furyk: Went close last year before a tough Sunday but loves any course where he’s not hitting metals on approach.

Phil Mickelson: The angle is he turns 50 next week and this is his last hurrah. I’ve seen him 125-1 or 150-1 so you’ll get paid if it is.

Emiliano Grillo: Solo third in 2018 on 16-under sandwiched with T19 last year and T24 the year before. He’s the worst putter on TOUR but loves this place for some reason.

Charley Hoffman: 63 each of the last two years and 11-11.

Andrew Putnam: T3-T20 in his first two trips the last two years. Led the field in birdies with 20 last year.

Kevin Tway: Quietly goes about his business and he’s T19-T5-T18 in his last three at CCC. Hush, y’all.

Scottie Scheffler: Had some fun in the “off-season” events in Texas and was cruising along before the break with T30 or better in 10 events.

Collin Morikawa: Elite talent hasn’t taken very long to figure this place out. He qualifies as he’s figured them ALL out up to this point. NO MC as a pro.

Daniel Berger: Can’t keep track of how many consecutive rounds under par he’s currently on. Only his third time at Colonial though.

Joel Dahmen: T20 in his first visit 2018. T5-T5-T14 last three on TOUR. 25th SG: Total.

Brendon Todd: 10 straight on TOUR and T5 here in 2014.

Danny Lee: Local hasn’t MC in seven tries.

Talor Gooch: 12 straight. Closed with 67 in second visit (T29) last year.

Corey Conners: Should be excited about overpowering this place tee-to-green without a gale in his face. Don’t look at his putting numbers though.

Vaughn Taylor: Very solid 2019-2020 plus he’s cashed the last four years and five total in a row. Fits the mold as mid/late 30-something.

Josh Teater: Showed up last year after a four year hiatus and claimed T17, his fifth consecutive payday at CCC.

Jimmy Walker: He’s putting in steel shafts this week in his driver and 3W. Last two here are T19 and T20 for the Texan and six straight overall.

CT Pan: If anyone needed the 90 days off it might have been him. After T3 last year and T20 in 2018, I would think this place and his defense next week at RBC Heritage would have his full attention.

 

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

 

 

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