DraftKings PGA DFS Picks: Charles Schwab Challenge Cash and GPP Strategy

DraftKings PGA DFS Picks: Charles Schwab Challenge Cash and GPP Strategy

This article is part of our DraftKings PGA DFS Picks series.

CHARLES SCHWAB CHALLENGE

Purse: $9.1M
Winner's Share: $1.638M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Course: Colonial Country Club
Yardage: 7,289
Par: 70
2023 champion: Emiliano Grillo

Tournament Preview

Golf is a sport steeped in tradition. Sure, all sports are to some extent. But some more than others and golf more than most. When you think of golf tradition, this week is not a bad place to start. The Tour stop in Fort Worth was first contested in 1946 and it has known only one course ever since: Colonial. The only tournament with a longer lifespan without a course change is the Masters with Augusta National.

Colonial, a 1936 John Bredemus/Perry Maxwell design, harkens to a bygone era, when golf courses were not a thousandy-billion yards long. Under 7,300, the venerable track still has some teeth. The past two years the winning score was in the single digits under par.

So it will be a weird juxtaposition coming the week after a major in which the winning score was 21-under-par.

Colonial has underdone major changes since we last saw it. Many of them will not be noticeable to the naked eye, some of them will be quite noticeable to the golfers and more serious golf fans, but to more casual fans it will still be the same old Colonial. All in all, the most important consideration is that the course will play the same way it always has. So we'll get to that in a minute but first go over the field.

Many tournaments have been hurt being situated the week before or after a major, or by not being a signature event. Not Colonial, not this year. Many big names will be on hand, including the biggest in golf, Scottie Scheffler. The world No. 1 leads a field of 132 that includes Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Max Homa, Tony Finau, Justin Rose, Brian Harman, Sungjae Im and Rickie Fowler.

The Charles Schwab has some unconventional ways of filling out its field. Honorably, it invites members of the most recent Ryder and Presidents Cup teams. It also has two spots reserved for what they call the Champion's Choice invitation. Each year, former Colonial champions pick two young players they deem deserving. This year, those two are Parker Coody, who is a native Texan, and Max Greyserman, who is not a native Texan. There are also a boatload of sponsor invites -- 12 of them across three different categories. Naturally, one of them is Mr. Sponsor Invite himself, Webb Simpson. Another, for the second year in a row, is Michael Block. Last year he was coming off a top-15 at the PGA Championship; this year, he's coming off a missed cut. Block's 15 minutes of fame is now going on Year 2. Another sponsor invite is Pierceson Coody, Parker's twin brother.

Okay, back to the course. Gil Hanse and his design team descended upon Colonial to begin a $25 million makeover right after Emiliano Grillo defeated Adam Schenk in a playoff a year ago, tasked with returning Colonial to its original look. The biggest overhaul will not be visible, as a modernized drainage and cooling system was installed under all the greens. So that means every green surface is new, though they still are bentgrass and average the same small 5,000 square feet. The course did get a bit longer, but only by 80 yards that are spread out across the course.

The biggest changes came at the three of the four par-3s, Nos. 8, 13 and 16, where greens were shifted and moved slightly. Throughout the course, some elevated greens were lowered and barrancas are now more prominently snaking through the course. A lot of bunkers were removed.

Bredemus and Maxwell didn't know how far today's golfers would hit the ball when they designed the track nearly nine decades ago. But Colonial still does a great job choking off the long hitters with narrow fairways, trees, dog legs and 60-something bunkers. That's the big reason why Annika Sorenstam famously chose this track back in 2003 for her one and only venture onto the PGA Tour (she missed the cut). It's also why experience matters at Colonial more than at most tracks. All of this adds up to accuracy off the tee 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. Unlike at other courses that have rugged three-hole sequences that can decide a tournament, it's a bit of a letdown that this one comes so early in the round. Still, Nos. 3-5 are brutal, with two par-4s of about 475 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 581 yards. The other is the mammoth 639-yard 11th. Aside from the Horrible Horseshoe, there are only two par-4s over 450 yards. There are five under 415 yards.

As for the weather, thunderstorms are in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, so we'll get to see how the new drainage system works out! (It'll be fine.) For the final three days of the tournament, high temperatures will hit the 90s and the wind will be blowing in the teens mph.

Fun Colonial factoids: Colonial is the only course that has played host to a U.S. Open (1941), the Tour Championship (1975) and a regular PGA Tour event. The 1991 U.S. Women's Open was also played there. ... 1975 was one of only two years that the regular Tour event was not contested since its first year in 1946. The other was 1949 because, as you'll recall, there was incredible flooding. ... 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
• Bogey Avoidance

Past Champions

2023 - Emiliano Grillo
2022 - Sam Burns
2021 - Jason Kokrak
2020 - Daniel Berger
2019 - Kevin Na
2018 - Justin Rose
2017 - Kevin Kisner
2016 - Jordan Spieth
2015 - Chris Kirk
2014 - Adam Scott

Champion's Profile

Grillo beat Schenk in a playoff last year after they tied at 8-under. The year before, Burns needed extra holes to best good pal Scheffler after they both shot 9-under. Weather played a part in the scores being that low.

Seven times in the preceding 11 years, the winning total was between 12- and 15-under. Neither Grillo or Schenk was very long off the tee, but they both ranked top-12 in SG: Approach and top-10 in SG: Putting, with Grillo an impressive second in the field  on the greens. Burns and Scheffler are much longer hitters, as is Kokrak, but there weren't many bombers winning before them. All three were among the leaders in SG: Approach, as were Berger and playoff loser Morikawa four years ago.

Clearly, Colonial 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 639-yarder that is among the harder par-5s on Tour, par-4 scoring is accentuated. Experience matters at Colonial. 

Only three of the past 22 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 he'll be prepared.

Golfodds.com put the over/under on the winning score at 267.5 -- 12.5 under par.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS

Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap

$10,000+

Scottie Scheffler - $13,300 (Winning odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook: +275) 
The biggest concern was something Scheffler said Sunday after the PGA Championship: that he was tired. It would be an exhausting week even if you didn't get arrested -- boy, how's that for a sentence in a golf story? But if anyone can regroup, it's Scheffler, who's finished third and second here the past two years.

Collin Morikawa - $11,000 (+1200) 
Yes, the SG: Approach ranking of 86th remains a concern. So how is Morikawa ranked 17th on Tour in SG: Tee-to-Green? Because he's excelling in the other two components of Tee-to-Green: He's ranked 22nd in Off-the-Tee and 16th in Around-the-Green. That strong OTT ranking stems in large part to Morikawa ranking first on Tour in driving accuracy. He followed up the Masters with a top-10 at Harbour Town and he could do likewise -- or better -- this week after the PGA.

$9,000-$9,900

Tony Finau - $9,900 (+2500) 
Finau's approach game has been almost as good as ever. In tying for 18th at the PGA, he led the field. His game is starting to come around, with a runner-up, a T12 and the T18 in his past five starts. Finau finished fourth here two years ago and was runner-up in 2019.

Harris English - $9,000 (+3000) 
English was at the very affordable price of $6,500 last week and he delivered a top-20. At $9,000, he'll need to do a lot more. English has been putting better than everyone else in the field over his past 24 rounds except for Denny McCarthy. He tied for 12th here last year.

$8,000-$8.900

Denny McCarthy - $8,700 (+4000) 
If you read the English blurb, you'll see why we like McCarthy. But he's also ranked second in this field over his past 24 rounds in both SG: Around-the-Green and bogey avoidance. His not-so-great driving numbers should be far better this week at a Colonial course that requires accuracy more than distance.

Justin Rose - $8,500 (+4500) 
Rose is coming off a fantastic week at the PGA, where he tied for fifth. Now he arrives at a tournament he won in 2018, finished third at in 2020 and tied for 12th at a year ago. Like McCarthy, Rose is a far more accurate driver than long driver. And, while not putting quite as well as McCarthy, Rose is ranked 41st on Tour.

$7,000-$7,900

Akshay Bhatia - $7,900 (+5000) 
Bhatia ranks very highly in our model -- fifth overall -- thanks to great approach play, strong play on the shorter par-4s and bogey avoidance. Bhatia has made nine cuts this season and seven of them have resulted in top-25s.

Aaron Rai - $7,800 (+5000) 
Indications are that Rai could be highly owned in this price range. And with good reason. He's among the straightest hitters on Tour -- ranked 10th in both driving accuracy and SG: Approach. And his putting, while his weak spot, has not been terrible. He's ranked 114th. Rai tied for 12th here a year ago.

Andrew Putnam - $7,400 (+4500) 
Putnam has finished top-25 here three of the past six years, highlighted by a tie for third in 2019. His putting is very often good and his approach play is better than average. Like a bunch of players we like this week, Putnam is a short, accurate driver whose lack of distance won't be a detriment this week.

Lee Hodges - $7,200 (+6000) 
Hodges has not been great this season, but he's been playing his best golf lately. He tied for 24th at the Wells Fargo and is coming off a T12 at the PGA. Hodges is ranked just outside the top-50 in SG: Approach on the season and is in the top-25 in driving accuracy. He tied for 29th here a year ago and has made the cut in both of his trips to Colonial.

$6,000-6,900

Webb Simpson - $6,800 (+13000) 
On Twitter, we kid Simpson about all his sponsor invites. But he's been playing decently in them and most recently had a top-25 at the Wells Fargo. He hasn't played Colonial much in recent years, but he finished top-5 in both 2016 and '17 (and 27th two years ago). Simpson is not the golfer he was even a few years ago, but he knows how to think his way around a golf course that mandates a lot of thinking.

Andrew Novak - $6,300 (+18000) 
Since missing his first three cuts to start the season, Novak has made nine of 10, including his past six. Frankly, this price seems a bit low for a guy ranked 32nd on Tour in SG: Approach and 18th in Tee-to-Green. Novak tied for 40th last year in his Colonial debut.

$5,000-$5,900

Martin Laird - $5,800 (+30000) 
Laird is among the shorter drivers on Tour, an issue that will be minimized this week. He's really quite good from 100 yards and in, ranking 16th on Tour in SG: Around-the-Green and top-50 in SG: Putting. Laird has made the cut in all three Texas events so far this season. He hasn't played Colonial since 2019.

Troy Merritt - $5,400 (+30000) 
Merritt has made his past three stroke-play cuts, including a top-10 at the Byron Nelson. He's an accurate driver, plays the short par-4s better than many other guys and tied for seventh here three years ago. Merritt falls inside the cutline in our model. 

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The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Len Hochberg plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DK: Bunker Mentality.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for nine years. Len is a three-time winner of the FSWA DFS Writer of the Year Award (2020, '22 and '23) and a five-time nominee (2019-23). He is also a writer and editor for MLB Advanced Media.
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