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2022 Charles Schwab Challenge Round 2 Buys & Fades: Leaderboard Presents Value on Homa, Morikawa

2022 Charles Schwab Challenge Round 2 Buys & Fades: Leaderboard Presents Value on Homa, Morikawa article feature image
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Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Homa.

There was very little separation in the opening round of the Charles Schwab Challenge as eight players are tied for the lead at 4-under through the first 18 holes. Forty-two players got through Thursday under par and will all be within three shots of each other going into Round 2.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler took the opening round storylines as he bounced back from his missed cut at last week’s PGA Championship to fire a bogey-free 66 and claim a share of the lead. He is joined by seven others at the top, including Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson, who transferred their solid play from the PGA Championship into a strong opening round at Colonial Country Club.

The leaderboard is packed tight and with so many players within a handful of shots from the lead, there’s plenty of opportunity to make some buys before the weekend. Let’s take a look at who stands out heading into Friday’s second round.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, SG: Ball-Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 2

I’m value shopping going into the second round as I think this leaderboard is conducive to getting solid odds on players within a few shots of the lead on Friday. Max Homa is the first name on that list for me.

Homa is listed at +4000 going into the second round, but is just three shots back of the lead. He was up and down all day Thursday with his game and really had to rely on his putter to carry him to a 1-under 69. I like that he was able to hold his round together and still post a decent score despite not having the best part of his game, his irons. If he can get the ball striking back to the way he is used to playing and keep the putter going, he could have a late tee time Saturday.

This next buy goes one of two directions. Collin Morikawa either starts to make some putts and puts himself in contention for the weekend or he continues to look lost on the greens and hovers around the cut line. I’ll take my shot at +3200 on FanDuel, nearly double his pre-tournament odds, that Morikawa can figure something out as he goes into Round 2.

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The two-time major winner missed six putts within seven feet on Thursday and it started on his very first hole when he missed a birdie from just over six feet. He never could get it going on the greens, but everything else was working great as he gained 3.77 shots on the field tee-to-green and 2.4 on approach. This is going to be the start of me chasing the putter for Morikawa, but hopefully he can find a quick turnaround on a course where he doesn’t have to be perfect on the greens — he just can’t lose nearly three shots on them.

If I am looking for a player who could go low on Friday from over par and move his way into the mix before the weekend, Aaron Rai sticks out. He struggled to start his round as he lost 1.32 shots to the field with his ball striking during his opening nine. He would fully turn that around on his second nine holes as he gained 1.31 shots ball striking during that back stretch. He seems to have found it a bit across the closing holes and he gets to wake up and get right back at it on Friday. He’s only five shots back, but with so many players between him and the lead he is listed at a crazy +43000 on FanDuel. I’ll sprinkle that, but focus on placement markets and matchups on the man who wears two gloves going into Friday.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2

I am obligated to start this fade column with Beau Hossler, who is tied for the lead at 4-under, but did it with not one, but two eagles. He sunk his second shot from 65 yards on the par 4 6th for his first eagle. Then, on his final hole of the day, the 9th, he sunk another second shot, this time from 135 yards. No one is going to take away those shots or discount their obvious quality, but subtracting the 3.64 strokes he gained with those two swings, you have a player who lost shots on his other sixteen approaches. I’ll take my shot with an early fade of the former Texas Longhorn.

Pat Perez gets my second fade going into Friday as he used his short game to carry him to a 3-under 67 in the opening round. He gained 4.37 shots on and around the greens on Thursday. Perez had one chip in on the par 3 4th and sunk a 36-footer for birdie on the par 4 17th. He did have some nice approaches throughout the day as well, but we have little to lean on that says he will sustain this play into the weekend. Perez hasn’t finished inside of the top 30 since the AT&T Pebble Beach at the start of February, which will have me fading his chances to stay near the top over the next few days.

Martin Trainer has popped up near the top of leaderboards a little more frequently over the past several months. Both of his best finishes came on the coasts of Puntacana and Mexico, but it certainly is a sign of some better form for a guy with some impressive cut streaks to his resume. This week he started with a strong 2-under 68, but he did it while losing strokes in both aspects of his ball striking. This is a course that is going to require players to get around tee-to-green and in a stronger field than where he has competed over the past few months, I expect we see him drop down the leaderboard as the week continues.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 1

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