2021 Charles Schwab Challenge Betting Picks: Phil Mickelson Highlights 3 Best Bets at Colonial
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Phil Mickelson.
What an incredible PGA Championship we just witnessed! It was a historic win for Phil Mickelson, who captured his sixth major championship and became the oldest player to ever win a major at just a month short of 51 years old.
It was a bit of a reversal this week as Phil was the one steady on the course and holding strong with his game, while everyone else was crumbling around him. Mickelson didn’t start that way on Sunday, though, as he went bogey-birdie-bogey to start his round, and lost his one-shot advantage over Brooks Koepka.
Then, on the par-3 fifth hole, he appeared to be battling for par again when he made an improbable hole out from the greenside bunker for birdie, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Lefty stretched his lead to three shots through nine holes, and it became five shots the 11th. It seemed he was destined for the title.
In typical Phil fashion, though, he put one in the drink on 12 and brought the doubt back in. He ultimately hung onto a two-shot advantage going to the 18th tee. Following his tee shot into the left rough, the ropes were brought down behind him and the entire gallery followed Mickelson and Koepka up the 18th fairway to their approach shots.
Mickelson shut the door on any hopes for Koepka with an approach that was pin high and 16 feet to the right of the hole. The chaos ensued from there as the crowd swallowed both players and their caddies in an effort to get a greenside view of impending history. It was a scene reminiscent of Tiger’s first TOUR win since back surgery at the TOUR Championship back in 2018.
Phil took two putts to finish a two-shot victory at the 2021 PGA Championship, once again etching his name on the Wanamaker Trophy. It was a victory for all, young and old, and a reminder of just how transcendent he continues to be for the game of golf.
One of the more shocking notes from Mickelson in his press conferences following the final round was that he plans to play this week at Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge. He makes for an easy, if not ceremonial, first buy heading into the week in Texas, where are a number of top finishers from the PGA Championship will look to build on their great results.
3 Buys for the Charles Schwab Challenge
It should come as no surprise that the best player tee to green on the week was Mickelson. He averaged more than three strokes gained per round in that category on the week, besting Koepka by nearly half a stroke. Phil was dialed into his game throughout the entire bag as he gained strokes in every metric during the tournament.
While this is all fantastic work by Lefty, it was far from a predictable outcome as noted by his +25000 and greater odds to open the week. Mickelson ranked 167th on TOUR in Strokes Gained Tee to Green on the season and, as noted, he won the tournament as the top-ranked player in the category at The Ocean Course.
I don’t usually buy players off of a win, especially one as big as what Mickelson pulled off this week, but he deserves a ceremonial spot in this column and frankly, I’m afraid to doubt him. It was nothing short of a remarkable performance with every club in the bag last week, and he will look to keep riding that positive momentum this week in Texas.
You can still get Mickelson at +8500 on DraftKings as of early Monday afternoon.
Another player that put together a solid round on Sunday was Collin Morikawa. He was able to climb his way into tie for eighth, closing the week with a 4-under 68. As is often the case for Morikawa, it wasn’t the tee-to-green play that held him back from a bigger week, but simply the short game.
The 2020 PGA champion finished the week ranked fifth in strokes gained tee to green, gaining nearly three strokes on the field per round with his ball striking. His one lackluster day was on Saturday, when he couldn’t get much going in any aspect of his game, leaving him with an early tee time in the final round.
Morikawa will tee it up this week at the Charles Schwab Challenge on a course that he lost to Daniel Berger last year when he lipped out a short putt to extend the playoff.
It appears we will always be talking about the putter for Morikawa, since he’s in contention to win whenever he’s just field average, although he will have weeks when the putter takes him out of play entirely. This week, he will come in as one of the top players on the oddsboard (+1500, DraftKings) and with the ball striking he displayed at the PGA, he should be a name to watch throughout the event.
I’d really like to include Will Zalatoris here, and he deserves mention since he ranked second in the field of cut-makers on approach at the PGA Championship. He continues to put himself in the mix and it’s just a matter of time before he breaks through, but since I seemingly write him up in this article every week so I’ll look in another direction today.
Anytime the TOUR is in Texas, Charley Hoffman comes to mind for me. He’s a player that seems to always do well in his home state, confirmed most recently by his second place finish at the Valero.
Hoffman continued his great stretch of golf this week with a 17th-place finish at the PGA Championship. He averaged more than two strokes gained tee to green per round and if it wasn’t for a balky putter on Saturday, he could’ve been in the mix on Sunday. Instead, he putted his way out of the tournament, losing 3.52 strokes to the field on the greens and just couldn’t recover.
I will happily go back to Hoffman this week, as everything points to another strong finish for him at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
PGA Championship Final Strokes Gained Data (avg/rd)
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