2021 Charles Schwab Challenge Picks: Our Best Outrights, Longshots & Props at Colonial
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Brendon Todd
The PGA TOUR heads back to Texas this week for the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial. One of the TOUR’s most iconic stops, Colonial is a par 70 that measures around 7,200 yards. If the wind picks up, it can play fairly difficult. If it’s calm, we’ll could see a winner near 20-under par.
Jordan Spieth is the betting favorite at +1000, but he’s got plenty of company at the top of the board with Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Abraham Ancer, Tony Finau and Patrick Reed right behind him.
Here are our favorite outrights, longshots and prop bets for the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge:
Will Zalatoris (+2500)
Admittedly a bit gun-shy after two fave outright plays with longer prices in the past three weeks MC’d (Harold Varner III at the Wells Fargo and Marc Leishman at the PGA), I’m going with a player who has a shorter number this week.
Zalatoris is fresh off his third top-10 in his third career major and I can see him stepping on the gas pedal soon, still trying to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs as a member and with the Ryder Cup firmly in his sights. A win would guarantee the first of those and help the second become more of a reality.
On a course which I’m sure the Dallas native knows well, one which gives an advantage to the game’s best iron players, fresh off a few weeks of stellar iron play, I think it’s time for a momentous first victory from a very obvious up-and-comer.
Collin Morikawa (+1500)
I will be sprinkling some values and long shots on my betting card this week, but I really think there are a handful of names up top positioned to take this field down. Collin Morikawa is actually my top golfer on the board this week, which makes it an easy decision between him and Jordan Spieth who is just +1000.
Morikawa has some rough memories from this tournament last year when he missed a kick in putt to extend the playoff against Daniel Berger. It was the first real sign of his boom-or-bust putting and that will seemingly always be a big piece of the puzzle for Collin. The reality is that his ball-striking is so elite that any week he can simply putt to field average, he will be in contention and in the weeks he gain strokes on the field, he’s got a great shot to win.
Colonial Country Club is a second-shot golf course, with small greens, making his short game woes less magnified and lining him up as a perfect fit at this event every year. He ranked fifth tee to green last week at the PGA, and found his way into a top-10 finish despite losing 2.3 strokes to the field putting.
I’ll play the putting variance angle on a course that is an ideal fit for his game.
Jordan Spieth (+1000)
For me to bet a guy at the very top of the board, he has to check all of the boxes. Jordan Spieth checks all of the boxes.
Course history has proven to be extremely important at Colonial and there is none better (or even close) than Spieth. In his past six trips to Fort Worth, he has five top-10 finishes including a win and two runner-ups.
Do you prefer prioritizing recent form over course history? No problem. The Texan is currently scorching hot, averaging 5.2 strokes on approach per start in his past five starts.
I don’t see too much value on the board this week, which is another strong reason to hit the top of the board. Sometimes you just have to bet the favorite!
Abraham Ancer (+2100)
Ancer is going to break through for his first PGA Tour victory one of these days, and plenty of signs point to that being this week. Driving accuracy will be paramount at Colonial which is right up Ancer’s alley, as he ranks No. 2 in this field over his past 48 rounds in that department. He also ranks fourth in greens in regulation in that same timeframe and has been simply locked in for the majority of the 2021 season.
As Matt alluded to earlier, I do not see a ton of value on the board this week, and while I do love Spieth and think he’s got a great chance to win for the second time in four weeks in his home state, I believe Ancer’s time is coming.
Getting over 20/1 is pretty fair when you consider he’s in by far the best form of anyone near the top of the board this week. On the heels of three consecutive top-eight finishes, Ancer gained 5.65 strokes tee-to-green during his final round at Kiawah and his game is razor sharp right now.
He finished T-14 here last year and you should expect him to seriously contend again this week.
Patrick Reed (+2200)
My course regression model for Colonial Country Club places a heavy emphasis on approach and putting, while significantly downgrading the importance of gaining strokes off the tee. This week the winner will likely be someone who has been hot with both the irons and the putter of late. Nobody fits that mold better than Patrick Reed.
Reed is coming off four straight events with positive SG: Approach numbers, and a scorching hot putter which has gained over nine strokes on the greens in just the last two events. Whenever I see Reed consistently gaining strokes on approach, I take notice. History tells us that when the irons heat up for him, a win is on the horizon.
With studs like Rory, Bryson, D.J., Xander, and Rahm all taking the week off, there is value in this number at +2200. I think Reed improves on his 7th place finish here last year and wins the Charles Schwab Challenge this week.
Scottie Scheffler (+3300)
In a sea of worthy choices, I’ll take a local in his second appearance who has been lighting up leaderboards regularly for three months. It’d mark the first breakthrough victory at Colonial in 20 years, but the value relative to a few others with shorter odds who I wouldn’t consider is too strong to ignore. I believe that this also is the first time that the BetMGM line that I’ve chosen is the most favorable of the three boards that we review weekly.
Talor Gooch (+10000)
Before looking it up, I would’ve guessed that Gooch was top-25 in strokes gained on approach shots this season, but instead he’s a mere 55th. That’s still obviously better than average and while his record at Colonial isn’t anything too special, with a T-29 his best result in three starts, I do think this one should suit his skillset.
If nothing else, his high floor has led to a bevy of made cuts recently, suggesting that even if you don’t want to take a chance on him outright, he’s a solid play for top-10/20 props and as a DFS play. I also like Harry Higgs, Doc Redman, Matthew NeSmith and Maverick McNealy as potential deeper sleepers, too.
Joel Dahmen (+11000)
The odds have dropped a touch on this play since the start of the week, but at triple-digits Joel Dahmen looks like a solid longshot for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
He comes in with solid form with his ball-striking, though his putting failed him to the tune of more than 5 strokes lost on the greens in his final round at the PGA Championship. Dahmen did finish 18th prior to that at the Wells Fargo, but the part that has me excited for him this week is the great iron play he’s shown in back-to-back tournaments.
The man with the bucket hat has gained 9.3 strokes on approach in his last two events, both of which featured high-quality fields. He also gained more than 12.5 strokes tee to green during those tournaments and rolls into Colonial Country Club in good form.
He’s finished inside the top-20 in two of his last three trips to this event, and putted well on these
greens back last year. If he keep his ball-striking going and find a hot putter this weekend, he can be in the mix to win this down the stretch.
Matt Kuchar (+7500)
Kuch is back, baby! Matt Kuchar is another golfer who has flashed some recent form, including a 12th-place finish last month at the Valero Texas Open.
Throughout his excellent career, Kuchar has been one of the best golfers in the state of Texas. Prior to the PGA Championship, Kuch gained more than 3.0 strokes putting in each of his past three starts. Historically, short plotters and great putters have won at Colonial and few fit that mold better than the 42-year-old. Kuchar also had an outstanding showing at the Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.
With nine PGA TOUR wins on his resume, Kuch is a golfer who has extreme upside and win equity. You can be sure he will bring his A-game this week in hopes for another successful trip to the Lone Star State.
Brendon Todd (+12000)
Todd’s price this week is the epitome of why you need to shop around for the best number possible. At the time of writing, Todd is listed as low as +3200 on some overseas sportsbooks, meaning he likely has some sharp people backing him this week. You can still get him at 120/1 on FanDuel which is by far the best number around. He’s 35 points shorter than that on DraftKings this week. Always shop!
Todd was shaking off some rust at the PGA Championship after a positive COVID test forced him to withdraw from the Wells Fargo. Prior to that he had not played since the RBC Heritage which was over a month ago. He’s had somewhat of a career resurgence these past couple seasons and he does have a top-five finish at Colonial back in 2014. His lack of distance off the tee will not penalize him while his elite putting stroke could have him in contention at a very nice price this week.
Patton Kizzire (+12000)
8.6 and 8.1… Those are the number of strokes Kizzire has gained, collectively, over the last two events on approach and putting respectively. Those are outrageous numbers that are admittedly unsustainable, yet deserve serious attention in a week where I’m looking for hot irons and a hot putter.
Throughout his career, Patton has made his money with the irons and flat stick while getting dusted in SG: Off the Tee numbers due to his lack of length and accuracy. At Colonial, losing strokes off the tee won’t hurt nearly as much as it does at other courses given the 7,054 yard par 70 set up with only two par 5s.
If he can continue the recent hot stretch of iron play, he could be the dark horse that finds his way to the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Maverick McNealy (+18000)
Keeping with my theme of first-time experiences (see my outright above), I think that this is my first endorsement of a golfer for GolfBet who I didn’t include in my preview material at PGATOUR.com. I dismissed him as a sleeper in favor of the five cited, but that’s where he’d have landed.
For the longest time, prognosticators have comped Colonial to stages like Harbour Town, Sea Island and Waialae, yours truly included. Well, his last payday was a T4 at Harbour Town. He also finished T12 at El Camaleón in December and second at Pebble Beach (where he’s had his greatest success in his brief career), shorter courses with small to average-sized greens that also can comp to Colonial.
He’s 2-for-2 with a scoring average of 68.75 at Colonial, so I’m all-in on course fit.
Jordan Spieth Top-10 Finish (+125)
Last year, I researched and wrote a piece on how a bettor would’ve done blindly betting the pre-tourney favorite for every PGA TOUR event. (The answer: Not great, other than the years Tiger Woods was in total domination mode.) Maybe one of these days, I’ll write something similar on blindly betting every favorite as a top-10. This is as unsexy a prop as we can find, but as I’ve written before, unsexy plays still pay.
The dirty little secret within Camp Spieth has always been that while it was the AT&T Byron Nelson which gave him his first start and attracted his loyalty, the crosstown Colonial always suited his game much better. That’s evidenced by the fact that he owns a win and six top-10s in eight career starts at this event. That, of course, is a 75% top-10 clip, while his +125 number implies a 44.4% chance of cashing this prop.
Considering he’s in better form than he was entering some of those previous top-10s, I think this could be the smartest play on the board this week.
Emiliano Grillo Top-10 Finish (+450)
It appears I have a thing for elite ball-strikers that can’t putt it in the ocean this week. Grillo fits the same mold of Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen as another top approach player in this field who gets held back each week by his flat stick. One positive I have with the Argentinian is that he’s gained strokes on the greens at this event in three of his five trips, with a peak of more than 10 strokes gained in 2018 when he finished third. If he can avoid disaster on the greens like he had last year when he lost more than six strokes to the field, his approach play will have him in the conversation all weekend.
Grillo has gained more than seven strokes on the field with his irons in three of his last four tournaments, including on the world-class field last week at the PGA Championship. If he can pepper these greens with solid approaches this week, they are small enough to give him good birdie looks every time.
I like his potential to finish high this week and even have a play in for him to win it outright.
Gary Woodland Top-5 Finish (+900)
Gary Woodland has been showing flashes of returning to his peak form of a few years ago, and there is reason to believe he may be all the way back. In his past two starts, he has gained 8.1 and 4.4 strokes tee to green. The strong iron play has led him to contention in three of his past five starts. I also love that he can club down off the tee this week, which is a strategy that has yielded excellent results for him.
Last month, Woodland placed sixth at the Valero Texas Open, showing he has a knack for Texas golf courses and bentgrass greens. Woodland also finished ninth at Colonial last year in his only start at the course.
I have no doubt he can build off of that performance and win the Charles Schwab Challenge this week.
Brian Harman Top-10 Finish (+275)
Harman had been locked in all year before his putter let him down at the PGA Championship a week ago. We should definitely chalk that up to an aberration as we know Harman is one of the better putters on the PGA TOUR. He now heads back to Colonial, where he’s finished inside the top-31 in seven of eight starts since 2011. In that stretch he has two top-10s as well.
Despite actually hitting it really well last week, a shorter 7,200 yard course is way more in his wheelhouse and I really like him to contend this week, but 30/1 is a little too short for me. Instead we can bet him to top 10 at close to 3/1 which is the preferred play.
Charley Hoffman Top-20 Finish (+175)
What an unbelievable stretch of play Charley has been on of late. Eight out of his 11 starts in 2021 have yielded a top-20 finish, four of which have come in his last four starts. He has been absolutely dialed in with the irons, averaging nearly four strokes gained on approach per event since the start of the year.
He has finished inside the top-20 four times in nine tries at Colonial and has only missed one cut. The only aspect of his game that could hold him back is his putter, but that is always a risk with Charley.
I like Charley’s chances of continuing his hot stretch of play this week, and he could be in contention to win this thing come Sunday. Getting nearly 2/1 on a top-20 finish feels too good to pass up here.
NO — at least two holes-in-one in the tournament (-275)
I look at all props every week, and I’ve been waiting for the right time to circle this one. BetMGM has a handful of parlays that suit my fancy, but I didn’t want to wait any longer to turn the spotlight onto the aces.
The last time that there were at least two holes-in-one at Colonial in the same tournament was in 2010 when Ben Crane and Paul Goydos each recorded one. And in the last six editions of the Charles Schwab Challenge, there have been only two overall — Brian Stuard in 2017 and Sung Kang in 2020.