This article is part of our FanDuel PGA DFS Picks series.
Charles Schwab Challenge
Course: Colonial Country Club (7,209 yards, par 70)
Winner: $1,566,000 and 500 FedExCup points
After an entertaining week of golf at the PGA Championship, many of those players will head back to Texas to compete in one of the most historic events and courses on the golf calendar. The Charles Schwab Challenge dates back to 1946 where Ben Hogan won the first event. Colonial Country Club was nicknamed "Hogan's Alley" after the early success of one of golf's all-time greats winning four of the first seven and five in total. 10 other players have won this event exactly twice with the most recent being Zach Johnson (2010, 2012). Sam Burns could join that list this week and become the only player besides Hogan to defend a title at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
There's a really strong field that will be gunning for the title in Fort Worth led by Scottie Scheffler, who ascended back to World No. 1 following his strong T2 finish at the PGA Championship. Scheffler fell in a playoff to his good friend Burns last year at Colonial. Viktor Hovland will also be among the challengers this week after sharing runner-up honors with Scheffler at Oak Hill. Hovland has seven worldwide victories, but is still looking for his first in the continental United States. The crowd favorite will be Jordan Spieth, who returns to his home state following a T29 at the PGA Championship while battling a wrist injury that caused him to withdraw from the AT&T Byron Nelson. Spieth was the 2016 champion at Colonial and is also a three-time runner-up. Max Homa (No. 7), Tony Finau (No. 12), Collin Morikawa (No. 17), Sungjae Im (No. 19), Kurt Kitayama (No. 20), and Tommy Fleetwood (No. 23) round out the other Top 25 players in the field at Colonial. Many of the other top players not in the field this week will return for the Memorial Tournament next week, which is another designated event.
Colonial Country Club is definitely one of those courses that has stood the test of time and is still able to offer a challenge to the best players in the world. We typically see winning scores in the 12-to-15-under range here, but last year the playoff was at just nine-under due to some windy conditions on Sunday. It doesn't appear we will get those traditional Texas breezes this week and players should be able to attack. Temperatures will be in the mid-80's and we could see a storm pop up at some point, but it looks like really good weather for the most part. Johnson holds the 72-hole scoring record at Colonial, finishing at 21-under-par in 2010.
2022 - Sam Burns (-9)
2021 - Jason Kokrak (-14)
2020 - Daniel Berger (-15)
2019 - Kevin Na (-13)
2018 - Justin Rose (-20)
2017 - Kevin Kisner (-10)
2016 - Jordan Spieth (-17)
2015 - Chris Kirk (-12)
2014 - Adam Scott (-9)
2013 - Boo Weekley (-14)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- Driving Accuracy
- SG: Around-the-Green
Colonial Country Club is your ultimate throwback course that puts an emphasis on shot making. You aren't going to be able to overpower this course and you need to hit the proper shot the hole requires to give yourself a good chance for birdies. As a result, we've seen so many different types of players have success at this course over the years. Most of the holes feature doglegs to narrow landing areas. The rough isn't near as bad as players faced last week at Oak Hill, but it is just long enough to lead to some uncertainty on how the ball will react. I think driving accuracy deserves more of a look this week than usual PGA Tour setups.
The approach shots are still going to be the biggest key to success this week. The greens are the sixth-smallest on Tour and they feature some large slopes, which will make it important to be in control of your distances to set up good birdie looks. The bentgrass greens typically run upwards of 13 on the Stimpmeter, so any putts above the hole will cause players to have to be really defensive. Colonial has a nice variety of shots around the greens from closely mown areas, bunkers, and rough. Combine that with the small greens and there has to be some emphasis on scrambling numbers.
FanDuel Value Picks
Collin Morikawa ($11,300)
Morikawa had a really strong start to 2023 with a runner-up at Kapalua, third a Torrey Pines, and T6 at Riviera, but lately he has kind of struggled to find his game. Fortunately he is going to a place in Colonial which should suit his game quite well. Morikawa lost in a playoff in his first attempt here back in 2020 and then was T14 the following year. The Cal product ranks sixth in driving accuracy, first in Strokes Gained: Approach, seventh in GIR percentage and fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Sungjae Im ($11,000)
Im had a disappointing performance last week at Oak Hill, but I'm confident going back to him considering prior to that he went T6-T17-T16-T7-6th-T8. Im has been an elite level ball striker since coming out on Tour and this season he ranks 19th in driving accuracy, 13th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 14th in SG: Tee-to-Green. The 25-year-old has a pair of top-15 finishes at Colonial and has a complete game all the way through the bag.
Rickie Fowler ($10,700)
Much like Im, I'm not really making too much out of Fowler missing the cut by one at Oak Hill. Prior to that he had gone five straight events finishing inside the top-20. Fowler's numbers this season have been really impressive ranking 10th in SG: Approach, 26th in GIR percentage, 17th in SG: Tee-to-Green, and 13th in putts per GIR. That improved iron play is a big reason why Fowler is second on Tour in par-3 scoring. That could be a key stat at Colonial where he has three previous top-16 finishes.
Justin Rose ($10,600)
Rose brings a lot of experience to this old school course in Colonial where he has gone 8-for-9 with a win in 2018 among four top-20 finishes. Rose is coming off a solid stretch of golf with top-25 finishes in four of his last five starts, including last week at Oak HIll when he posted a T9. I don't think many people would be able to guess that Rose is 14th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained per round. The Englishman hits it straight, controls his irons, has a masterful short game, and can get red hot with the putter.
Longer Shots with Value
Hayden Buckley ($9,500)
Buckley was one of my favorite DFS plays early in the season, but then he really struggled and missed five of six cuts. He has quietly started to turn things around, going T10-T5-T26-T43-T26 over his last five starts. Buckley is an elite driver, ranking fourth in SG: Off-the-Tee and eighth in total driving this season. He is also 11th in GIR percentage, 27th in proximity to the hole, and has improved his putting over this latest stretch.
Taylor Moore ($9,300)
Moore seems way too cheap in this field considering he did not miss a cut in his last eight starts. That stretch includes a trio of top-11 finishes, including his win at Innisbrook, a course that calls for a lot of similar skills as Colonial. Moore is a solid player across the board, but especially off the tee and on the greens. I think his upside this week is far beyond anyone else in the low $9K range.
Eric Cole ($8,700)
There's no reason to get off the Cole train. He was impressive at the PGA Championship, holding the lead after play completed on Thursday before falling back to a T15 finish and locking up a spot in the same event next year. These last 11 starts for Cole have yielded six top-27 finishes. He ranks 31st on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gined: Total and is 49th in proximity, 12th in scrambling and fourth in putts per hole.
Sepp Straka ($8,600)
Straka has all kinds of momentum coming into Fort Worth after a final-round 65 at Oak Hill to finish T7. After being a poor ball-striker last season, the 30-year-old has turned that around this season ranking 13th in SG: Approach and 36th in GIR percentage. At the PGA Championship he was second and first in those categories, respectively. Don't be surprised to see his name on the leaderboard Sunday afternoon at Colonial.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
The Charles Schwab Challenge is an invitational event and has just 120 players, so this field is actually really deep from top to bottom. I think you can pretty easily get away with not dipping below $8,500, but if you want to add a couple high $11K players then there are plenty of options. Jimmy Walker ($8,300), Ben Martin ($8,200), Dylan Wu ($8,100), Kevin Streelman ($7,800), and Carson Young ($7,400) are all bargain bin options I would consider. Hovland ($11,500) is a great course fit, but I worry about an emotional let down after coming up just short at the PGA Championship. Oak Hill was such a unique course for typical PGA Tour setups that I wouldn't sweat a poor finish there too much from a player you like this week.
Looking into online wagering? Check out the FanDuel Promo Code!