The Charles Schwab Challenge has a tough act to follow one week after an unforgettable PGA Championship.
The show must go on, though, and after Justin Thomas’ thrilling win in the season’s second major last week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, the PGA Tour resumes its schedule with a return to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
Thomas, somewhat surprisingly, is in the field and has yet to withdraw after winning last week in a three-hole playoff over Will Zalatoris. In fact, it’s a very strong field, especially considering it’s a week following a major and the U.S. Open is just three weeks away.
That might have something to do with the incredible history of the event that dates back to the 1940s. Additionally, there’s no “type” when it comes to winning this tournament. We’ve seen longer players win here, sure, but when the list of past champions includes the likes of Kevin Na, Kevin Kisner and Zach Johnson (twice), it’s clear you don’t have to bomb it to take home the plaid jacket.
With all of that in mind, here are some quick picks for this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge with betting odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Favorite to back: Jordan Spieth (+1200)
He’s going to be a popular pick for bettors and DFS players alike this week, and for good reason. Course history has been an indicator of success here in the past, and few if any have been better here than the Dallas native himself. Spieth has six top-10 finishes in nine starts at Colonial dating back to 2014, including a win in 2016. His game is in a very good spot, especially tee-to-green where he’s gaining 8.4 strokes on the field in his last five measured tournaments. The irons are dialed in, too. The putter is the big question mark, but he has rolled it sensationally in each of his last three stops at Colonial.
Favorite to fade: Scottie Scheffler (+1000)
Maybe grasping at straws here, but it’s certainly a bold play given Scheffler’s run this year. That said, he didn’t look very sharp at all last week missing the cut in Tulsa. He’s not overly accurate off the tee, which does help at Colonial, and a lot (though not all) of his success this year has come on longer courses (Bay Hill, Augusta to name a couple). And for whatever reason, it looks like he’s gone a little cold on the greens, losing a 1.1 strokes last week and 1.6 the week before at the Byron Nelson.
First-round leader: Chris Kirk (+5000)
He has the track record here, winning the whole thing a few years back, so that’s a nice place to start. Dating back to 2012, he has shot a 68 or better four times in the first round, too. Kirk comes in ranked 33rd on Tour in first-round scoring, and his game is well-suited for the course. The forecast also calls for some wind Thursday, and if it blows, Kirk’s strokes-gained numbers are among the best in the field in windy conditions.
Long shot to watch: Adam Long (+10000)
Long, coincidentally, is not one of the longer hitters on Tour, so he’s the sort of player who benefits from a course like this. He’s among the most accurate drivers in the field, though, so he’ll be playing from the fairway all week. Before missing the cut at Wells Fargo, he had gained nearly seven strokes total in each of his previous two appearances. He also has played well at the RSM Classic on the Plantation Course at Sea Island, a course DataGolf considers a solid comp when comparing the stats needed to succeed. Looking at strictly strokes gained data, Long is playing at a level nearing a 2020 run when he finished 13th or better at five of 13 tournaments, including the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. He’s also intriguing as a top-10 bet at 8-1.