This article is part of our DraftKings PGA DFS Picks series.
CHARLES SCHWAB CHALLENGE
Winner's Share: $1.566M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Course: Colonial Country Club
2022 champion: Sam Burns
There's no rest for the weary. No, we're not talking about the golfers -- though that certainly applies to them -- but golf fans and fantasy players. Perhaps considering a post-major breather and amid all the loaded fields throughout 2023? Well, it's another star-laden field to keep everyone hooked and lured in.
Texans Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth headline the 120-man invitational at Colonial, but there's also a formidable supporting cast: Viktor Hovland, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood,, Sungjae Im and defending champion Burns. To answer your question before you ask it, no, this is not a designated event. Still, nearly half of the top 50 in the world are on hand, just when you thought they'd take a break. After all, the U.S. Open is in a mere three weeks. Okay, everyone, exhale. Things have to slow down eventually, right? Right? Perhaps not.
There are just a mere 60 days separating the end of the PGA Championship and the start of the Open Championship, with the U.S. Open tucked snugly in between. After Colonial, there's the Memorial -- a designated event hosted by Jack Nicklaus, so pretty much everyone will show up -- the Canadian Open and, voila, they're all off to Los Angeles Country Club for a prime-time major.
Oh, there's one more big name in the field we forgot to tell you about. He's the new darling of golf -- Michael Block, the club pro who electrified the PGA Championship with a hole-in-one on Sunday and a tie for 15th, which will earn him a return invite for next year's tournament at Valhalla. But in the aftermath of his Sunday heroics, the 46-year-old from Southern California received a phone call from Charles Schwab tournament organizers, who extended him a sponsor's invite. And then soon after that came a similar call from the Canadian Open. Block is no stranger to the PGA Tour, having played the Amex and the Farmers earlier this year. He missed both cuts.
It will be interesting to see how popular Block will be in this week's contests. And which featured group he is a part of.
A little refresher on this event, one of the most storied in the history of the PGA Tour: It began in 1946 and, while it had undergone a sponsor merry-go-round until Charles Schwab came on board in 2019, one thing has remained constant for all 75 editions: the course. Only the Masters has seen a longer lifespan without a course change than this tournament with venerable Colonial.
It's a 1936 Perry Maxwell design that tries to choke off the long hitters with narrow fairways, trees, dog legs and some seven dozen bunkers, which is a big reason why Annika Sorenstam famously chose this track for her one and only venture onto the PGA Tour 20 years ago. It's also why Colonial experience matters more than at most tracks. The bentgrass greens are small, averaging a mere 5,000 square feet, and there is water on six holes. All of this adds up to accuracy counting more than in most weeks.
Colonial features the three-hole Horrible Horseshoe, a cutesy little nickname that sounds more like a character in children's book than one of the most treacherous stretches on Tour. It's a bit of a letdown that it comes so early in the round. Still, Nos. 3-5 are brutal, with two par-4s that exceed 480 yards sandwiching a nearly 250-yard par-3. There are only two par-5s on the par-70 track, including the must-birdie opening hole at 565 yards. The other is the mammoth 635-yard 11th. Aside from the Horrible Horseshoe, there is only one other par-4 over 450 yards. There are five under 410 yards, though none is drivable.
As for the weather, high temperatures will be in the 80s all week, with the best chance of showers coming on Thursday morning. Right now, it doesn't seem to rise to the level of basing your lineup on tee times. Winds will be in the low double digits but always seem to blow harder in Texas.
Fun CBS/Colonial factoid: CBS announcer Ian Baker-Finch won two PGA tour events in his career: the 1991 Open Championship and the 1989 Southwestern Bell Colonial.
Key Stats to Winning at Colonial
The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key Stats" follow in importance.
• Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee/Driving Accuracy
• Strokes Gained: Approach/Greens in Regulation
• Strokes Gained: Putting
• Par-4 Efficiency 400-450 yards
Seven times in the past 12 years the winner has been between 12- and 15-under. Last year, Burns beat Scheffler in a playoff after both shot 9-under. That low number was a bit of an aberration and the weather indicates it should be in the lower teens. Burns (fourth in driving distance for the week) and Scheffler (first) are both long hitters, and so is Kokrak (also first in distance in 2021), but there weren't many bombers winning before that. Burns and Scheffler weren't among the fairway leaders, though they weren't bad, either, ranking second (Scheffler) and sixth (Burns) in SG: Off-the-Tee. They were both among the leaders in SG: Approach and greens in regulation and, if you were going to focus on just two stats, those would be the two. Three years ago, both Berger and playoff loser Morikawa ranked top-5 in the field in both SG: Approach and Tee-to-Green. All this info confirms that Colonial really is a second-shot golf course. With tiny greens, it will be a challenge to find the putting surface. Historically, you have had to putt well here to win -- either that or hit outstanding iron shots to give yourself shorter putts. With only two par-5s, including that 635-yarder that is among the harder par-5s on Tour, par-4 scoring is accentuated. Experience matters at Colonial. Only three of the past 21 winners -- Burns, Berger and Spieth -- have been under 30 years old. And with the importance of placing the ball in the right spots, the more a golfer has played Colonial, the better. Golfodds.com put the over/under on the winning score at 266.5 -- 13.5 under par.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap
Tier 1 Values
Scottie Scheffler- $11,500 (Winning odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook: +400)
The once-again world No. 1 has not won since THE PLAYERS Championship -- two whole months ago! -- yet he is on or near the first page of the leaderboard every single week. Scheffler has not finished outside the top-12 in his past 14 starts spanning seven months, since October's CJ Cup in South Carolina. He was a playoff loser here last year to good pal Burns.
Tony Finau - $10,700 (+1400)
Finau has had a lot of success at Colonial over the years. He's played it seven times, never missed a cut, was fourth last year and second in 2019. He won the Mexico Open a few weeks back, but that was his only top-10 since January. Through it all, Finau's approach play has remained elite, as he ranks fifth on Tour for the season.
Jordan Spieth - $9,900 (+1200)
Since winning here in 2016, Spieth has two runners-up and three more top-10s. He takes tournaments in his native Texas very seriously -- of course, he takes every tournament very seriously. Spieth ranks T1 this field in par-4 400-450 Efficiency over his past 24 rounds.
Tier 2 Values
Chris Kirk - $9,100 (+3500)
Since winning the Honda three months ago, Kirk has just one top-10. But he did well at the majors, with a top-25 at the Masters and nearly another one last week at the PGA. He won here in 2015 and has three top-15s since, including last year.
Rickie Fowler - $8,900 (+2800)
Fowler is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the PGA. Before that, he had eight top-20s in his previous nine starts. That's a big reason why Fowler lands at No. 9 in our model. He's ranked seventh in this field in SG: Approach over his past 24 rounds.
Denny McCarthy - $8,700 (+5000)
McCarthy has been playing well all year, and he moved to a career-best No. 54 in the world rankings after a T29 at the PGA Championship. He is still one of the best putters, but the rest of the game has been the key to his elevation. McCarthy is ranked seventh in this field in par-4 400-450 efficiency over his past 24 rounds. He tied for 27th here a year ago.
Stephan Jaeger - $8,100 (+5500)
Jaeger ranks 13th in our model in large part because of his superior greens in regulation numbers. He ranked 10th on Tour for the season and second over his past 24 rounds. Jaeger has made eight of his past nine cuts, including last week's PGA, with three top-25s and nearly two others.
Taylor Moore - $8,000 (+5500)
Moore has not regressed since his maiden PGA Tour win at the Valspar in March. He's made four straight cuts, two of them in majors, plus a T11 at the RBC Heritage. Harbour Town has some similarities to Colonial in that both are shorter tracks that demand greater accuracy and shot making than most other PGA Tour courses. The native Texan is ranked 15th on Tour in SG: Putting.
Tier 3 Values
Brendon Todd - $7,800 (+7000)
Todd finished third here last year, eighth the year before and fifth back in 2014. He's coming off a missed cut at the PGA but had made five in a row before that. Todd is one of the shortest drivers on Tour -- something that won't matter this week -- and one of the most accurate, ranked 12th for the season. He's also 10th in SG: Putting and third in Around-the-Green.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout - $7,700 (+7000)
Bezuidenhout popped at a surprising No. 7 in our model. His approach play over his past 24 rounds has been outstanding, ranking fifth in the field. He missed the cut at the PGA -- where his lack of length surely hurt -- but before that he had top-25s at both the Byron Nelson and RBC Heritage, as well as a T13 at THE PLAYERS. Bezuidenhout finished T15 here last year.
Emiliano Grillo - $7,700 (+8000)
Grillo has played here the past seven years and made six cuts, two of which were top-25s and two others were top-10s. A great ball striker, Grillo is ranked 38th on Tour in greens in regulation for the season and is 56th in SG: Approach. But over his past 24 rounds, he's 11th in Approach among golfers in this field. Grillo was T7 at the RBC Heritage, T5 at the Mexico Open and T23 at the Wells Fargo before a missed cut at the PGA.
Andrew Putnam - $7,100 (+8000)
Putnam withdrew from the Wells Fargo with a back injury, then missed the cut at the PGA, so this pick does not come without some hesitation. But he landed at No. 19 in our model for a reason -- excellent approach play over his past 24 rounds. Putnam is ranked 41st in SG: Approach for the season and 25th in greens in regulation despite averaging only 285 yards off the tee. He finished 15th here last year and third in 2019.
Ben Martin - $6,800 (+13000)
Martin is our absolute favorite play in the $6,000s, coming in at No. 11 overall in our model. He is ranked 17th on Tour in SG: Approach this season and 32nd in greens in regulation. Martin missed the cut at the Wells Fargo but before that had made eight in a row, excluding the team event. Curiously, he hasn't played here since 2018, but made five cuts in a row back then with a top-10 and another top-25.
Michael Kim - $6,700 (+18000)
At U.S. Open qualifying in Dallas on Monday, Kim disappointingly lost in a playoff to get one of eight berths. He's now the No. 1 alternate, so there's a good chance he gets in. Those 36 holes continued Kim's fine recent play. He had made six straight cuts with two top-10s before an MC at the Byron Nelson. Kim has played Colonial three times before but not since 2019. His GIR and putting numbers have been quite good over his past 24 rounds.
Jimmy Walker - $6,500 (+25000)
There were other guys who modeled higher than Walker, but the model doesn't take into account Colonial experience. He has played this track many times. Walker had a top-10 and two other top-20s at Colonial from 2014 to '19. He missed the cut at the PGA, ending a five-tournament run in which he had four top-25s.
Tyler Duncan - $6,200 (+30000)
Regular readers will know that Duncan is one of our short-course specialists, even when things aren't going great for him -- which is why he's listed at this price. He's played Colonial three times and made every cut, with a tie for 15th last year. Duncan has missed his past three cuts on tour, but was third at Puntacana, third at the Honda and made the cut at THE PLAYERS. He's 20th in driving accuracy for the season and 54th in GIR -- that's far from terrible.
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