The second major championship of the year is officially in the books as Justin Thomas captured his second Wanamaker Trophy at Southern Hills.
Completing a dramatic and historic comeback in the final round, the 15-time winner on the PGA Tour will look to add to his win total at this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club.
One of the longest-running events on the PGA Tour, the Charles Schwab Challenge is sandwiched between the PGA Championship and the Memorial Tournament.
Despite this crowded spot on the calendar, a strong field will make the short trip from Oklahoma and Texas. Those big names include not only Thomas, but also Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler.
Scheffler, the world No. 1, is coming off a surprising missed cut at the PGA Championship last week, but he remains the top name on the oddsboard at Bodog.
The Texan is listed at +1100 and narrowly edges out Spieth and Thomas, who both sit at +1200. Behind the trio of major champions, Morikawa is listed at +1600. He lost in a playoff here in 2020 to Daniel Berger.
According to our odds calculator, Scheffler has an 8.33 percent chance to capture his fifth title on the PGA Tour this season. Having experienced a red-hot spring, he will look to get back to his winning ways after a disappointing week at Southern Hills.
Scheffler is a Dallas-area resident, but despite playing close to home, he has never found a comfort level around Colonial. In two trips to Fort Worth, the 25-year-old has failed to capture a top-20 finish and has even missed out on the weekend on one occasion.
Charles Schwab Challenge Odds
Odds as of May 24 at Bovada
2022 Charles Schwab Challenge Picks
Collin Morikawa To Win +1600
With Thomas’ victory at the PGA Championship, Collin Morikawa remains the lone elite player on the PGA Tour to be without a win this year. It may be a bit harsh to point this out, but the two-time major champion has inexplicably been held without a victory during the 2021-22 PGA Tour season.
This week at the Charles Schwab Challenge should be a fantastic opportunity for the 25-year-old to break his dry spell. In 2020, Morikawa nearly won this tournament but a missed putt in a playoff gave the title to Daniel Berger instead.
Colonial has proven to be in his wheelhouse and the current form he currently holds should allow him to produce a similar result.
He has seven top-10 finishes this season, including a solo fifth place at the Masters and a runner-up at the Genesis Invitational. Both Augusta National and Riviera are considered by many to be second-shot golf courses. Colonial certainly falls under the same category and with the need for accuracy off the tee, Morikawa’s stock only goes up in Texas.
He has employed a new putting style over the last month and while it has yet to come to fruition, the last time we saw him do something similar was last February. He struggled on the greens at Riviera and the change only took one week to kick in as he won the WGC-Workday Championship the following week at the Concession Club, so perhaps history will repeat itself.
Abraham Ancer To Win +3300
Ancer began the final day at the PGA Championship at 4 under and had he shot just 1 under, he would have found himself at the eventual winning score and in the playoff between Thomas and Zalatoris. While that did not transpire, it does prove how close the Mexican is to playing some of his very best golf.
Before last week at Southern Hills, Ancer was experiencing a disappointing 2021-22 season. When there have been bright spots, he has contended, which I expect from him at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He has three top-10 finishes on the season on courses that possess features similar to Colonial.
Those results came at El Camaleon, Austin Country Club and Southern Hills. With the exception of last week, the other two courses require little to no skill from around the green.
They are ball-strikers’ paradises, which Colonial would be considered as well. This will be his fifth Charles Schwab Challenge appearance and he comes in having connected on top-15 finishes in his previous two.
Daniel Berger To Win +3300
The 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge champion won the first event on the PGA Tour out of the COVID-19 break. Berger is an elite iron player and his victory at Colonial two years ago proved he is capable of playing his best golf around this venue.
While he has not won this season, he did win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last season on a course where precise iron play is required, much like Colonial.
Berger was the 54-hole leader at the Honda Classic at PGA National and if not for an abysmal final round, he would have won in Florida.
He tends to play his best golf on difficult golf courses where the winning score reaches somewhere close to 15 under. While he has disappointed at the Masters and the PGA Championship, the big ballparks of Augusta National and Southern Hills are not conducive to his style of game play.
Webb Simpson To Win +4000
Daniel Berger and Webb Simpson have a tendency to play the same golf courses well, which leads me to believe the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon could be in for a strong showing at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Simpson posted the round of the day on Saturday at the PGA Championship as he signed for a 5-under 65 and catapulted from a tie for 64th to inside the top 10.
He eventually finished in a tie for 20th, but gained strokes in each statistical category and looks to be finally healthy after suffering a neck injury. The 36-year-old is set to make his seventh appearance at Colonial and while he does have four missed cuts, he did finish inside the top five in both 2016 and 2017.
Simpson arrives this season with middling form but he is beginning to pop up on leaderboards on a consistent basis. This feels like a good spot for the seven-time PGA Tour winner to claim some hardware for the first time in nearly two years.
Kevin Na To Win +5000
Na has historically been a very volatile golfer but the American has now connected on five straight cuts. During this span, the 38-year-old has notched top-25 finishes in both major championships and made a deep run into the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
The thing about Na is that he has only a few courses each year on which his skill set of accurate driving and pinpoint iron play can propel him to the top of the leaderboard. He has dominated at Colonial throughout his career, with a victory in 2019 as well as six top-20 finishes, four of which could double as top-10 results, among his 14 appearances.
His tee-to-green play has been terrific for the past month and if the putter is at least average, Na will contend for his second Charles Schwab Challenge title.
Course and Tournament Information
The Charles Schwab Challenge and Colonial have been featured on the PGA Tour for nearly 100 years. A difficult course by the tour’s standards, the Perry Maxwell design plays to a par 70 and stretches just over 7,200 yards.
Colonial boasts difficult fairways to hit and smaller-than-average greens as ball-strikers have found this property to be a playground of sorts in the past. Because of this, around-the-green prowess is typically mitigated and we only need to look back to last year to prove this.
Jason Kokrak was the eventual champion in 2021 but he ranked outside the top 50 in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. In fact, the three-time PGA Tour winner lost strokes to the field in said category and won in spite of this glaring deficiency because his ball-striking and putting were so good.
What Happened in Last Year’s Charles Schwab Challenge?
Last year’s Charles Schwab Challenge turned into a two-man battle as Jordan Spieth entered the final round at 14 under with a one-stroke lead over Jason Kokrak. Ian Poulter was in third place at 8 under and never had a chance to chase down the final pair.
Spieth was the clear favorite as the darling of Texas and a previous Charles Schwab Challenge champion. However, the Texan carded a 3-over 73 on Sunday while Kokrak remained steady despite difficulties with his short game.
Kokrak ended up firing an even-par 70 and won by two strokes over Spieth in what many considered to be an upset.
He ranked first in SG: Off-the-Tee, eighth in SG: Approach, 61st in SG: Around-the-Green and seventh in SG: Putting. Meanwhile, Spieth came in at 13th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 36th in SG: Approach, 22nd in SG: Around-the-Green and fourth in SG: Putting.
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