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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Charles Schwab Challenge (2024)


As Xander Schauffele finally breaks through and captures his first Major title at last week’s PGA Championship, the Tour returns to the Lonestar State for this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge.


Being in the heart of the more-competitive stretch of the PGA Tour schedule, the stars will continue to come out, which is no exception to this week’s field.


A rather impressive field will compete for the coveted plaid tartan jacket and for the chance of their name being etched on the Wall of Championships that is adjacent to the first tee.


Colonial Country Club is the longest-running host course on the PGA TOUR schedule with The Masters at Augusta National being the only course that has been on the Tour’s schedule longer.


From the Fort Worth Invitational, to the Deal & Deluca, the Crowne Plaza, the Bank of America, the MasterCard, the Southwestern Bell and now the Charles Schwab, we’ve seen Colonial Country Club in each of the last 78 years, dating back to 1946.


Notably, this event and venue was the host of the ‘return of golf’ in 2020 following the pandemic shutdown of the Tour.


Although not one of the Tour’s Signature Events, the long-standing venue and event is one of the more notable and prestigious events the tour has to offer.


Colonial Country Club is also often referred to as ‘Hogan’s Alley’ as Ben Hogan won this event five-times.


The Field

This week continues on as a 133-player invitational that maintains the standard top-65 and ties cut rules.


Texas native Scottie Scheffler headlines this week's field as he looks to put last week’s ‘whoas,’ at least to his standards, behind him. As Scheffler missed the Valero Texas Open and the CJ CUP Byron Nelson while expecting the birth of his first child, he’ll be excited to tee it up this week in his home state.


Along with Scheffler, 20 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) top-40 players will be teeing it up this week.


Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Jordan Spieth round out the list of headliners this week.


Emiliano Grillo comes in as the defending champion after taking down Adam Schenk in a playoff a season ago. Grillo was in control of the tournament late when he put a ball into a stream that ultimately led to the playoff.


Other past champions of this event in this week’s field include Daniel Berger, Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner, Spieth, Chris Kirk, Adam Scott, Zach Johnson and Rory Sabbatini.


The Course

Colonial Country Club is best described as a quintessential tree-lined positional course that does not require distance off the tee to be competitive.


It plays as a par 70 at just over 7,200 yards and offers some of the deepest history of any PGA Tour track.


Immediately following the 2023 playing of the Charles Schwab Challenge, Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner began work on an extensive renovation project with the goal of restoring Colonial Country Club back to its roots.


The goal was to return the course to that of the 1941 playing of the U.S. Open. In doing so, the duo of Hanse and Wagner developed a more sustainable agronomy to withstand North Texas’ harsh climate changes.


The entire course was ripped up in order to route new irrigation systems throughout the property. The course was then re-sodded using the same bentgrass base. 


Through all of this, the layout of the course was largely unchanged with the exception of holes No. 13 and 18 which saw brand new greens constructed. The changes also saw the introduction of new barranca and riveted bunkers - two classic staples of Hanse’s design. 


In all, the renovation was largely put into place to introduce a new irrigation system and the play of the course should not change drastically. 


Colonial Country Club was designed by Perry Maxwell and John Bredemus. It borders the nearby Trinity River and features 12 doglegs and smaller Bentgrass greens.


In years past, the event has offered a diverse cast of winners due to its design but historically speaking, those with strong iron play and a hot putter will be competitive.


We’ve seen the likes of Sam Burns and Jason Kokrak use an aggressive, driver-heavy approach en route to a victory, which is far from the normal here.


There of course will be an added premium on mid-iron play and accuracy off the tee. Being a designed positional course, ball placement off the tee will be key in an effort to work around the course and create the best angles to generate scoring opportunities.


Scoring is often held in check here at Colonial Country Club. The winning score has pushed beyond -15 only twice since 2011.


As previously mentioned, hitting the fairways and setting up a good approach shot is the preferred way to attack this course.


Driving accuracy is lower than the Tour average at just 57-percent of hit fairways. Along with the difficulty of hitting a fairway, average distance off the tee is below the Tour average at just 277 yards.


The lack of distance can be attributed to oftentimes players taking irons off the tees to mitigate any potential miss shots.


Strong approach play too is key this week, specifically from distances of 125-200 and mainly 150-175 yards, which makes up 25-percent of all approach shots.


In a continued line of defenses this course has to offer, Colonial also offers smaller greens on Tour which in turn, offers a below average greens-in-regulation-percentage of 65-percent. Golfers will have to rely heavily on around-the-green work and scrambling to often get up-and-down for par due to this.


These greens too run at around a 12 on the Stimpmeter.


Water is in play on six of the holes and the course is littered with strategically placed fairway bunkers


Of course the infamous Texas winds will also be in play this week, adding another line of defense to an already challenging track.


Most of this track’s yardage is made up from the 635 yard par-five 11th hole and a 247 yard par-three fourth.


Golfers will begin their rounds on the par-five first which annually plays as the easiest hole on the entire course. From there, the second hole, 390 yard par-four, plays as the second easiest hole on the course. That, however, is where the ease ends.


If we’re looking for a trend of holes to focus on this week, it is par-fours measuring 400-450 yards which makes up 40-percent of all of the holes played this week.


Colonial’s ‘Horrible Horseshoe’ features holes three, four and five that played at half-a-stroke over par a year ago.


In all, this is a rather challenging course that favors those who can hit clean and accurate shots off the tee and with their irons.


Colonial Country Club is also one of the courses on Tour that requires course history for success. Of the last nine Charles Schwab Challenge winners, six posted a T10 or better finish within three years prior.


Justin Rose is the only player within the past decade to have won in his debut. 


However, with the changes done to the course, we'll see if this holds true this year.


The Weather

As with the trend of the weather this season on the PGA Tour, we can expect some rain this week. As of the time of writing this, Thursday is currently calling for a 90-percent chance of precipitation with thunderstorms. Friday is calling for a 50-percent chance of precipitation with the chance of scattered thunderstorms. The weekend, at this point, appears to be clear with just a 20-percent chance of precipitation. Wednesday is also calling for a 50-percent chance of precipitation and scattered thunderstorms which could see the course play soft and wet up to the weekend and remove some of the practice for participants this week. As always, the Texas winds will be present this week, ranging from 12 miles-per-hour on Thursday before peaking at 15 miles-per-hour on Sunday. As of right now, it appears Mother Nature will be playing her hand in an eventual winner this week.


Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG)

  • Driving Accuracy Percentage

  • Proximity to the Hole From 125-200 / Proximity to the Hole from 150-175

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Par Four Scoring Average

  • Scrambling

  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG)


DFS Suggestions

$10,000+

With there being just four golfers in this price range, I’m biting the bullet and simply going the only direction I see fit and that’s with Scottie Scheffler ($13,300.) Sure he had a ‘down’ week last week and that was due to him not having caddie Ted Scott on Saturday. Scheffler still finished T8 at the PGA Championship, his worst finish since mid-February in six events. The other five events included four victories and a T2nd. At $13,300 and especially at an event in Texas, you simply can’t go into this week without Scheffler in your DFS lineups. He will also be late getting to Colonial Country Club as he has a hearing for his arrest on Tuesday but let’s not forget he showed up Wednesday to the RBC Heritage, after winning the Masters and flying home to go on and win by three strokes. I’m not going to bore you any further. This is cut and dry.


$9,000-$9,900

I’m constructing my lineups with the thought of having Scheffler in them with a massive ownership number. I could opt for the safe play with the likes of Si Woo Kim here but making the cut alone isn’t going to cut it (pun intended) this week. With that being said, I’m swinging for the fences and leading off with Brian Harman ($9,500.) Of the last nine winners of this event, six of them have posted at least a T10 within three years of their victory. Harman placed T8th here in 2021. On top of that he is currently 18th on Tour in SG: PUTT, 26th in par four average scoring, 43rd in driving accuracy, 52nd in SG: ATG, 55th in scrambling, 59th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 61st in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 65th in SG: TTG and 75th in SG: APP. In other words, he’s top 75 on Tour in each of the ten statistical categories I took into consideration this week. The recent form doesn’t jump off the page at you but he has gone T12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T2nd (to Scheffler) at THE PLAYERS Championship, T12th at the RBC Heritage and T26th at the PGA Championship. Everything lines up perfectly for Harman this week and I’m also playing a unit on him at +4500. Also consider Tom Hoge ($9,300.) These are the types of events Hoge excels at. He’s an elite iron player with a well above average putter. He’s currently second on Tour in SG: APP, 14th in par four average scoring, 15th in both proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards and 150-175 yards, 28th in GIR%, 40th in SG: TTG, 50th in scrambling, 51st in SG: PUTT and 103rd in driving accuracy. Now he is 157th in SG: ATG which isn’t ideal but he’s an above average scrambler. The course history doesn’t suggest success here for Hoge but I’ll look past that. I’m not looking for a winner here, just a strong placement. Hoge has made the cut in 14-of-16 events he’s played this season and is fresh off a T23rd at the PGA Championship. Since the American Express he has missed just one cut in 14 events and the one missed cut was the Zurich Classic, a team event. He also placed T6th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, eighth at The Genesis Invitational, T12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T14th at the Texas Children’s Houston Open. 


$8,000-$8,900

I’ll start by stating this is a price range I’m not in love with this week and would be fine skipping all together. For the sake of this article however, my first suggestion is Chris Kirk ($8,400.) Kirk missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship but prior to that made six consecutive cuts, including a T10th at the RBC Heritage and a T16th at The Masters, two courses that play the same way as Colonial. Kirk missed the cut here a season ago but prior to that placed T15th in 2022 and made the cut in 2021. He also won here in 2015. He’s currently fifth on Tour in par four average scoring, seventh in SG: TTG, 12th in both driving accuracy and proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 28th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 38th in SG: ATG, 44th in SG: APP, 66th in GIR% and 74th in scrambling. How downfall comes on the greens as he ranks 163rd in SG: PUTT. Without a strong putter I don’t see him winning but for the sake of DFS, I think he lines up perfectly. Also consider Keith Mitchell ($8,600.) Mitchell is currently fifth on Tour in SG: TTG, seventh in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, ninth in GIR%, tenth in SG: APP, 13th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 26th in par four average scoring, 80th in scrambling and 114th in driving accuracy. How downfalls include a 135th placement in SG: ATG and 151st in SG: PUTT. Again, not looking for a victory here but with elite tee-to-green and iron play, I like his chances to place well. He has played here just once over the last three seasons where he did miss the cut. He also missed the cut at the PGA Championship last week but prior to that placed T20th at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson, T14th at the Valero Texas Open, T17th at the Valspar Championship, T9th at the Cognizant Classic, T19th at the Mexico Open and T17th at the WM Phoenix Open. 


$7,000-$7,900

I could list probably ten golfers in this price range I like this week. With the trend of swinging for the fences, I’ll start with Akshay Bhatia ($7,900.) Of course, the course history is not there but he did play here last year where he made the cut. It does help the ownership number that he’s come back to earth after rattling off a run of events that included a victory at the Valero Texas Open, T11th at the Texas Children’s Houston Open and T17th at the Valspar Championship. Two of those events were in Texas, including his victory, just as this week is. He is currently 15th on Tour in SG: APP, 18th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 22nd in SG: PUTT, 24th in SG: TTG, 26th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 27th in driving accuracy, 37th in scrambling, 40th in par four average scoring, 87th in SG: ATG and 90th in GIR%. In other words, he’s above average in each of the ten statistical categories I took into consideration this week. Also consider Mark Hubbard ($7,700.) Hubbard has played well at this course over the last five seasons. He placed T9th here a season ago which places him within the course history statistic of six-of-the-past-nine winners having a least one top ten or better within the past three seasons. He also hasn’t missed the cut here dating back to 2020. Hubbard hasn’t missed the cut in 14 events played this season. He’s fresh off a T26th at the PGA Championship as well. He placed T4th earlier this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Hubbard is currently 23rd on Tour in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 26th in par four average scoring, 41st in SG: APP, 43rd in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 45th in driving accuracy, 48th in SG: TTG, 52nd in GIR%, 60th in SG: PUTT, 71st in SG ATG and 102nd in scrambling. I’m also playing a unit on Hubbard at +11000 this week.


$6,000-$6,900

Statistically speaking, I love Greyson Sigg ($6,900) this week. I mean, there’s no form of course history but man has he been playing some good golf as of late. He Placed T13th in his last outing at the Myrtle Beach Classic. He also placed T8th at the Zurich Classic. I know it is a team event but he also placed T9th at the Corales Puntacana Championship. He is also seventh on Tour in scrambling, eighth in SG: APP, 15th in GIR%, 23rd in SG: TTG, 26th in par four average scoring, 28th in both proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards and 125-200 yards, 62nd in driving accuracy and 68th in SG: ATG. His downfall comes on the greens as he ranks 172nd in SG: PUTT. Also consider Nate Lashley ($6,800.) Lashley has made the cut just twice over the past five seasons here but stats wise, he matches up well. He is currently 23rd on Tour in driving accuracy, 35th in scrambling, 36th in both SG: TTG and SG: ATG, 54th in GIR%, 58th in SG: APP, 85th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 90th in SG: PUTT, 94th in par four average scoring and 113th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards. Lashley has made the cut in four-of-his-last six outings, including a T13th at THE PLAYERS Championship. 


$5,900-

This is where things get interesting. My first suggestion is Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson ($5,800.) Although he missed the cut here last here, Johnson made the cut in his three prior starts at this event, including a T23rd in 2022.He also won here in 2012. In his last two outings on Tour he has gone T20th at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson and T19th at the Zurich Classic. Johnson is currently fourth on Tour in par four average scoring, 15th in scrambling, 18th in driving accuracy, 20th in GIR%, 28th in SG: PUTT, 48th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 90th in SG: ATG, 93rd in SG: APP, 94th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards and 125th in SG: TTG. Also consider Ryan Moore ($5,800.) Moore has played here just once over the last five years where he missed the cut. However, he is currently 12th on Tour in SG: APP, 14th in driving accuracy, 17th in SG: TTG, 26th in scrambling, 29th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 34th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 50th in GIR%, 59th in SG: ATG and 127th in par four average scoring. Now, he is one of the worst putters on Tour, ranking 183rd but there is not going to be a polished player in this price range. I’m hanging my hat on his 439 events played and the experience that brings. He has missed back-to-back cuts coming into this week but prior to that rattled off four consecutive cuts made, including a T5th at the Valspar Championship. 


Betting Card

  • Tony Finau (+3000) - 2u

  • Brian Harman (+4500) - 1u

  • Lucas Glover (+8000) - 1u

  • Mark Hubbard (+11000) - 1u


Tony Finau (+3000)

Historically speaking, Finau loves Texas a much as the next person when it comes to golf. He won the Cadence Bank Houston Open in 2022. He’s also played this event each of the last five years. Although he missed the cut here last year, he had four consecutive top 25’s prior. He placed T4th in 2022, T20th in 2021, T23rd in 2020 and solo second in 2019. The T4th in 2022 places him in the aforementioned course history statistic of six-of-the-past-nine winners having at least a T10 within the last three years. He also has multiple top five finishes here within the last five years and is within the top ten of overall course history among this field here at Colonial Country Club. Finau is currently 12th on Tour in SG: TTG, 14th in SG: APP, 16th in GIR%, 28th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 40th in proximity to the hole hole from 125-200 yards, 48th in SG: ATG, 74th in driving accuracy and 77th in par four average scoring. The scrambling number (162nd) and SG: PUTT (160th) aren’t ideal but the overall course history makes up for that.


Lucas Glover (+8000)

Glover didn’t play in this event last year but did place T8th in 2021, placing him into the course history category I’ve listed previously. Glover has made six consecutive cuts coming into this week. In that run of events he has gone 11th at the Valspar Championship, T16th at the Wells Fargo Championship, T20th at The Masters and T25th at the Valero Texas Open. Glover is currently sixth on Tour in both SG: APP and driving accuracy, ninth in both SG: TTG and proximity to the hole from 125-200, 11th in SG: ATG, 16th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 26th in par four average scoring, 68th in GIR% and 92nd in scrambling. We know his problems come on the greens as he ranks 175th in SG: PUTT. However, we saw what he could do late last season when he can get the ball to roll.

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