Horses for Courses: Charles Schwab Challenge

Ben Hogan won it five times so hardly a surprise this is also known as “Hogan’s Alley”.

Big names look to add to big history at Colonial Country Club.

Let’s see who runs well next to the Trinity River!

It’s all the same. Only the names have changed.

Since 1946 Colonial Country Club has hosted a PGATOUR event on its hallowed grounds. Over the years the sponsors and event name have varied but it’s the longest running stop at the same course on the PGATOUR. This week is the 75th anniversary of the event at Colonial.

RELATED: Power Rankings | Expert Picks

History is a massive part of the club’s fabric. “Hogan’s Alley” was created by John Bredemus and Perry Maxwell in 1936 and broke on to the national scene in 1941 as host of the US Open. The history lesson continues as the track also hosted THE PLAYERS Championship in 1975 and the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open. Multiple winners here include many greats, but Texan Ben Hogan’s five victories are the most, by three, of any player.

Playing only 7,209 yards and Par-70, artistry trumps power this week as doglegs bend and shape around 84 bunkers and four water hazards. Gripping it and ripping is fine but attacking small A-4 Bentgrass greens (just 5,000 square feet on average) requires control on approach shots. Three inches of Bermuda mix off the fairway, distance control will be at a premium. Of the last seven winners, five have rated inside the top eight in Strokes-Gained: Putting so mastery on Bentgrass won’t hurt.

The signature three-hole “Horrible Horseshoe”, Nos. 3, 4 and 5, will test the patience early in the round on the weekend. It’s notoriously one of the hardest three-hole stretches on TOUR each season and playing it even par won’t lose any shots to the field.

While the names and sponsorships of the event have shifted over the years, Colonial hasn’t. This classic track can be had when the wind DOESN’T blow but that’s not too often in Texas. With only 24 acres of fairway, scrambling to find GIR and two putting isn’t a terrible recipe. It’s the second time to Texas in three weeks and the second time on Bentgrass greens as well.

The winning score in two of the last three years have been two of the three lowest since Zach Johnson’s record of 259 in 2010. Kevin Na fired 61 in the final round in 2018 to become the most recent player to share the course record.

Daniel Berger returns to lead the field of 121 as looks to join Ben Hogan as the only player to defend at Colonial. KH Lee’s WD means that Hogan will continue to be only Byron Nelson/Colonial winner in the same season. For the second time in three years the Charles Schwab Challenge follows the PGA Championship on the calendar. On the line is a purse of $7.5 million with the winner claiming $1.35 million plus 500 FedExCup points and a tartan jacket. The top 65 and ties make the cut.

Recent Event Winners Stats

 Daniel BergerKevin NaJustin Rose
MOVplayoff (Collin Morikawa)43
Disantance – All Drives245519
Driving AccuarcyT17T17T6
Putting: Birdie or Better %5114
SG: Off-the-Tee31184
SG: Approach-the-Green511
SG: Around-the-Green275819
SG: Putting8221
SG: Tee-to-Green421
Bogey AvoidanceT41T1
Par-3 ScoringT1 T1T46
Par-4 ScoringT312
Par-5 ScoringT44T46T2

Recent Winners and Notables

2020: Daniel Berger (-15, 265)

Defeated Collin Morikawa on the first playoff hole. … Fired 66 with a birdie on the last to force playoff. … Began the final round two back. … 67 was his worst round of the week. … Became fifth winner in the last seven to land in the top seven Strokes-Gained: Approach. … First winner in five NOT to lead or co-lead the field in Bogey Avoidance (T4). … T2 birdies (22). … Posted his 28th consecutive sub-par round on TOUR. … Picked up his third win on TOUR, all in the month of June. … Recorded three top 10 finishes before the season was halted in March for COVID-19. … T53, MC previous two starts here.

Notables in the field this week:

Collin Morikawa (P2) looked to join Sergio Garcia (2001) as the only players to win on debut here this century. … Morikawa missed two putts inside five feet to win the tournament and extend the playoff. … Jason Kokrak (T3) closed 65-64 and posted the co-lowest Round 4 score. … 2018 winner Justin Rose (T3) shared the 18-hole lead after firing 63 and led the field in birdies (23). … Spring, Texas resident Patrick Reed (T7) closed 63-67 for his first top 10 in four starts. … Gary Woodland (9th) was one of five who began the final day one back but closed with 70. … Sungjae Im (T10) picked up his first top 10 in his second start. … JT Poston (T10) only made three bogeys and a double on the week for his second top 20 in four starts. … 2016 winner Jordan Spieth (T10) hit the top 10 for the sixth time in eight starts. … Justin Thomas (T10) joined Spieth as the only two players in the top 12 who posted a score above par as they both signed for 71 on Sunday. … Defending champ Kevin Na MC. … Harold Varner III (T19) led after 36 holes (63-66) after sharing the first round lead. … 54-hole leader Xander Schauffele is not entered this week. … First playoff since 2014 when Adam Scott defeated Jason Dufner. … First tournament back after the pandemic delayed the season saw a field of 148, which included 101 winners. … Most rounds under par since 2010 (no wind, expanded field). … Top 18 players 10-under or better. … Cut was 2-under. … 69.493 average.

2019: Kevin Na (-13, 267)

Won by four shots to pick up TOUR win No. 3 at age 35. … Largest winning margin since 2005. … Only player double digits under par. … Led by two after 54 holes. … Posted 62 in Round 2 to trail by one. … Adds 62 to rounds of 61 twice. … Opened with 70 (T38) and was six back. … Third consecutive winner to this point to be first or second GIR. … Quarterfinalist at Match Play and T10 RBC Heritage were his best entering the week. … Backed up solo fourth here in 2018 and T10 in 2015. 

Notables in the field this week:

Tony Finau (2nd) led after 18 holes after posting 64. … CT Pan (T3) followed up his win at RBC Heritage with all four rounds in the 60s. … Andrew Putnam (T3) led the field with 20 birdies. … Colonial member Ryan Palmer (T6) followed up his win at Zurich with Jon Rahm with all four rounds in the 60s. … 2007 champ Rory Sabbatini (T6) circled 17 birdies, T2. … Mackenzie Hughes (T8) posted 65 in Round 3 and was T3 in Putts per GIR. … Russell Knox (T8) closed with 65, best of the bunch in Round 4. … Jordan Spieth (T8) opened with 65, made a career-best 480 feet of putts and didn’t win. … Defending champ Justin Rose (T58) never factored. … Only eight bogey-free rounds as the Texas winds blew all week. … Cut was 2-over. … 70.860 average.

2018: Justin Rose (-20, 260)

Englishman closed with 64 to become the fifth international winner in history. … Total score missed tying Johnson’s tournament record by a shot. … Picks up ninth career victory on TOUR at 37. … Worst round of the week was 66. … Posted two rounds of 64. … Led by four shots after 54 holes. … Led by one shot after 36. … Third consecutive winner in the top three Par-4 Scoring. … First start here since 2010. … Only Spieth has a better stroke average. … Entered the week with six of last eight paychecks T25 or better including T23 THE PLAYERS and T12 Masters as his last two.

Notables in the field this week:

Emiliano Grillo (3rd) opened and closed with 64 for his best finish here. … Kevin Na (4th) opened with 62 and closed with 61 and didn’t win! … Corey Conners (T8) signed for 63 in Round 3. … Joaquin Niemann (T8) was ninth GIR. … Defending champion Kevin Kisner (T52) didn’t scare Hogan’s record. … Jordan Spieth (T32) signed for the only finish outside T14 in his career here. … Charley Hoffman (T52) opened with 63 but faded. … 22 bogey-free rounds as the wind was non-existent. … 2-over played the weekend, 12 behind Rose. … Only seven players 10-under or better. … Top 65 were under par. … 69.83 average.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

Strokes Gained: Approach the Green 
Rank Player
1Collin Morikawa
2Will Zalatoris
3Justin Thomas
4Corey Conners
8Matthew NeSmith
9Charley Hoffman
10Matt Wallace
12Emiliano Grillo
13Doug Ghim
15Tony Finau
20Jordan Spieth
21Daniel Berger
22Russell Knox
24Cameron Percy
27Tom Hoge
29Lanto Griffin
30Kevin Streelman
33Abraham Ancer
34Joaquin Niemann
35Scott Stallings
Bogey Avoidance 
2Emiliano Grillo
3Abraham Ancer
4Chris Kirk
6Cameron Tringale
7James Hahn
8Russell Knox
10Brice Garnett
13Andrew Putnam
13Si Woo Kim
18Charley Hoffman
20Scott Stallings
22Brian Harman
23Daniel Berger
24Will Zalatoris
25Sungjae Im
27Corey Conners
28Kyle Stanley
30Joaquin Niemann
31Doug Ghim
33Matt Jones
Strokes Gained: Putting 
1Louis Oosthuizen
2Patrick Reed
3Brendon Todd
5JT Poston
6Zach Johnson
7Jason Kokrak
14Patton Kizzire
15Brian Harman
17Matt Jones
20Denny McCarthy
21Joaquin Niemann
22Andrew Putnam
24Mackenzie Hughes
26Lanto Griffin
26Daniel Berger
28Peter Malnati
30Justin Rose
Par-4 Scoring 
1James Hahn
1Emiliano Grillo
4Chris Kirk
4Abraham Ancer
6Collin Morikawa
6Scottie Scheffler
11Daniel Berger
11Justin Thomas
11Si Woo Kim
11Doug Ghim
11Cameron Tringale
11Joaquin Niemann
19Russell Knox
19Corey Conners
19Patton Kizzire
19Will Zalatoris
19Anirban Lahiri
19Ryan Palmer
32Charley Hoffman
32Jordan Spieth
32Brian Harman
32Matt Jones
32Kevin Streelman
32Patrick Reed
32Carlos Ortiz
32Sungjae Im
32Doc Redman
32Chase Seiffert

Horses for Courses

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10sTop 25Most RecentRecent Others
Daniel Berger (2/3)11Win (2020)T53 2019; MC 2015 debut
Collin Morikawa (1/1)11P2 (2020)64 and 3x 67; 22 birdies; T3 Total Putts
Justin Rose (7/7)23T3 (2020)T3-MC-WIN last three
Jason Kokrak (3/6)12T3 (2020)Closed 65-64 for his best two ever
Patrick Reed (4/4)12T7 (2020)Closed 63-67; now 14 of 16 par or better
Gary Woodland (2/2)119 (2020)Only 1 round of 8 above 70 
JT Poston (3/4)12T10 (2020)T20 2018
Jordan Spieth (8/8)67T10 (2020)2016 winner; T2 2017, 2015; T14 or better in 7 of 8
Sungjae Im (1/2)11T10 (2020)All 4 rounds in the 60s; 66 best
Justin Thomas (1/1)11T10 (2020)64-68-66-71
Kevin Na (11/14)58Win (2019)4th 2018; T10 2015
Tony Finau (5/5)132 (2019)T23 2020; T19 debut 2015
CT Pan (2/4)12T3 (2019)T20 2018
Andrew Putnam (2/3)12T3 (2019)T20 2018
Ryan Palmer (12/17)46T6 (2019)T3 2016, T5 2014, 2012 ; Member at Colonial
Rory Sabbatini (14/20)58T6 (2019)2007 winner
Russell Knox (4/5)14T8 (2019)All T24 or better
Mackenzie Hughes (2/4)11T8 (2019)T42 before, MC after
Emiliano Grillo (4/5)133 (2018)T23 before, T19 after; MC 2020
Corey Conners (3/3)12T8 (2018)T19, T31 followed; sub-70 average
Joaquin Niemann (3/3)11T8 (2018)T32, T31 last two; 4 rounds of 66 or better
Kevin Kisner (5/7)33Win (2017)T10 2016; T5 2015; T29 best in last 3 visits
Danny Lee (7/8)246 (2017)T10 2015; streak of 7 straight busted 2020
Brian Harman (7/8)25T7 (2017)T10 2015; 7 straight T31 or better
Scott Piercy (6/9)12T7 (2017)T19 2019
Anirbar Lahiri (3/4)11T6 (2016)T53 next best
Jason Dufner (8/12)33T6 (2016)P2 2014; 2nd 2012; T40 best last 4 visits
Matt Kuchar (10/12)35T6 (2016)2nd 2013; T12 2017
OthersTop 10sTop 25Most RecentRecent Others
Zach Johnson (13/15)583 (2013)2012, 2010 winner; nothing better than T43 last 4 visits
Phil Mickelson (12/16)48Win (2008)2000, 2008 winner; 2 trips since 2010, T29 2017, MC 2020
Chris Kirk (10/10)26Win (2015)T11 2018; T15 2016
Sergio Garcia (5/9)14Win (2001)T12 2017 first visit since 2012; MC 2020
Pat Perez (10/15)44T5 (2015)T42 best in last 4 visits
Brandt Snedeker (9/9)14T2 (2015)T19 2020; T17 2016
Charley Hoffman (10/11)15T10 (2015)63 2019 and 2018
Ian Poulter (6/7)23T5 (2015)3 top 15s career
Adam Hadwin (5/5)12T5 (2015)Never MC

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