2021 Charles Schwab Challenge First-Round Leader Odds & Picks: Spieth, Finau Highlight Best Bets
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Spieth.
The PGA TOUR heads to the Lone Star State for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club this week. Over the last decade, the tournament has gone through more name changes than the Korn Ferry Tour (and that’s saying a lot).
Colonial is a course where certain golfers can find their groove. Whether they keep it going all week is another story. Thankfully, I’m just worried about Thursday for this article.
Here’s a look at my favorite first-round leader bets for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Jordan Spieth (+2200)
I know, it’s a shock. Jordan Spieth is once again on my list of FRL bets. But this week is different. His first-round Strokes Gained stats are off the charts at Colonial.
He ranks first in SG: Total, Approach, Short Game, and Putting. He ranks second in the other categories, with the exception of Off the Tee and Around the Green, where he ranks 10th and ninth, respectively.
Spieth has never missed the cut in his eight appearances here. That run includes six top-10 finishes, as well as a three-year stretch (2015-17) in which he finished 2nd-1st-2nd.
Spieth won in Texas at the Valero back in April, he’s been playing well and he loves this place. Of all the courses in Texas, Colonial is where this horse is stabled.
Tony Finau (+3300)
Golf’s favorite bridesmaid comes into this week third in SG:TOT for first-round scoring at Colonial. That statistic aside, Finau has been one of the most consistent players this season.
He’s coming off of a T-8 at the PGA Championship and a T-10 at The Masters. Despite a mediocre first-round scoring average, Finau has the backing of nostalgia and statistics coming into this event. He opened with 68 last year and a 64 in 2019 when he went on to finish second (go figure) to Kevin Na.
Justin Rose (+4000)
Despite recent struggles, Justin Rose is on the brink of some great play. He began working again with former swing coach Sean Foley few months back. Rose looks comfortable with his swing again and is seeing results. He finished T-7 at The Masters in April and T-8 at the PGA last week.
Justin Rose won this event in 2018. The next year, he opened with a 63 and a share of the lead. Lightning struck twice in 2020 when Rose opened with a 63 and — wait for it — a share of the lead. Not surprisingly, he enters the week ninth in Strokes Gained: Total for the first round.
Matt Wallace (+6600)
The Englishman has seemingly found his way into my ice-cold heart and onto my betting sheet as of late.
His recent finishes speak for themselves. Since missing the cut at the Honda in March, Wallace has two top-10 finishes and made the cut at both majors in his subsequent five starts.
Wallace had a good run at the Valero, ultimately finishing solo third. His consistent play and fondness for Texas golf gives me reason to believe this is going to be a good week for him.
Cameron Tringale (+6600)
A fixture on Thursday leaderboards, Cameron Tringale has been more of a “good not, not a long time” guy for betting. Incredibly, though, he ranks third on tour in first-round scoring (69.2).
Tringale’s worst opening-round score this season is a 73, which came at THE PLAYERS Championship in March. He has opened with a round of 70 or better 14 of his 19 starts this year.
The only MC for Tringale at Colonial was in 2012, the first year he played it. Since then, he hasn’t contended but has played well enough to get himself into the weekend.
Harry Higgs (+8000)
Big Beautiful, as he’s known around these parts, is no stranger to the DFW area. The former SMU Mustang makes his home in Dallas and tends to play well here. He made his first start at Colonial last season, posting a top-40 finish.
Higgs made his major championship debut at the PGA last week, finishing in a tie for fourth. Because of that, this could go one of two ways. Harry could go out on Thursday and shoot a 62. Or he could crash and burn after I assume he celebrated his stellar week Sunday night (which would be well-deserved, and I hope he did).
However, I like his chances of doing the former a little bit better than the latter.