Charles Schwab Challenge Round 3 Buys & Fades: Collin Morikawa Highlights 3 Buys Entering Weekend
Tom Pennington/Getty Images. Pictured: Collin Morikawa.
We expected there to be some low scores available at Colonial Country Club on Friday with the winds being much quieter than the opening round, and it certainly played out that way.
The scores were close to a full stroke better on average in the second round, as the course played to more than one-half stroke under par. Both waves benefited equally as we saw low rounds from both the morning and afternoon tee times.
No one took advantage more than Charley Hoffman, who posted the new low round of the tournament with an 8-under 62. He wiped away his over-par start to the tournament with nine birdies on Friday and moved into a tie for sixth heading into the weekend. Maverick McNealy will also start Saturday at 7-under par after he shot a 63 in the second round.
It was another 5-under 65 for Jason Kokrak that moved him into the lead before the afternoon wave teed it up. His 10-under for the week led the rest of the field by two shots until Jordan Spieth started to make his move following a weather delay. Spieth will join Kokrak in the final pairing as the solo leader at 11-under, with a one-shot lead heading into Moving Day.
There are nine players within just five shots of Spieth's lead, and the potential for more overnight rain means players will find a soft golf course on Saturday that could create more scoring opportunities. I expect to see some players make big moves on Saturday as they look to chase down Spieth and Kokrak.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly playing 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, ball-striking and 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 just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 3
I don't give much of a chance to anyone outside of the 4-unders to truly contend for the win, so that will be my mark for the buys going into Saturday. I'll start my buys a little closer to the top before working my way down.
Maverick McNealy really impressed me with his play on Friday as he found a groove in his ball striking and got the most out of it. He got in a 7-under on the day, and for the tournament with a second round 63.
McNealy was second in the field tee to green on the day, gaining nearly three and a half strokes with his ball striking. He paired that with his typical sharp putter, to post one of the rounds of the day.
McNealy has shown an ability to come from behind and get his name in the mix on the weekend, as he did a couple months ago at the AT&T Pebble Beach. He also noted following the round that he just loves Colonial and the fit for his game.
All of these things make +4000 a bit too long on BetMGM, just four shots back of the lead.
If I am looking for a player that can get in position to go really low on Saturday to put their name in the mix, it's Collin Morikawa. We know he has it in him to put some good putting rounds together, and it's really the only thing holding him back once again this week.
The Cal product has gained nearly six shots on approach through two rounds at Colonial Country Club. He was able to find his off the tee game a bit on Friday, which paired for more than four shots gained ball striking in the round. I expect more of the same throughout the weekend and if he can just get the putter going enough to gain strokes on the field, a really low round could be in store.
The books are on his potential to go low, holding him at just +2000 on FanDuel despite a six-shot deficit, so I will mostly look to target him in matchups and DFS on Saturday.
Another player at 5-under on the week that has been known to string birdies together is Kevin Streelman. He is one really bad hole to close his round on Thursday from being much closer to the lead heading to the weekend. Streelman got bit by an ugly triple bogey on the par-4 ninth in his opening round after he put his third shot in the water. He was cruising along at that time at 4-under before dropping three shots.
Streelman bounced back to close out a 4-under 66 on Friday and gained strokes in all categories during his round. All of the lost shots from his final hole on Thursday really skew the solid work he's done with his ball striking this week.
It makes Streelman a really intriguing option to take a flyer on this weekend at +6600 on PointsBet, but certainly for DFS and in finish position markets.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 3
I'm not going to officially fade on Sebastian Munoz for Saturday since we got invested at a good number yesterday and are in a great position going into the weekend. I do get it if you want to target him in matchups since he made every putt he looked at in the second round on his way to 5.31 strokes gained putting for the round. He's definitely the player that stands out the most from a numbers perspective of the guys at the top of the leaderboard.
My first fade is going to come with Adam Hadwin. He lost strokes to the field with his ball striking on Friday and was only able to hold things together with a strong short game.
The Canadian gained more than three shots on the field on and around the greens as he holed out twice from off the green. He had just three birdies on the day, one from the greenside bunker on the 14th and another from the edge of the water on 16. Hadwin hit just 12 of his greens in regulation on Friday and with the struggles he has had this season, I just don't trust him to sustain his position on the first page of the leaderboard.
Kramer Hickok sticks out as the next fade going into Saturday. He's five shots back of the lead after two solid rounds to open his week and really his strokes gained numbers look pretty good.
My concern for Hickok is that he hasn't finished inside of the top 50 in any event since the middle of January. He just hasn't been able to put it together for four rounds and until I see him do it, I will pretty comfortably fade.
It may seem like Kevin Kisner is starting to turn things around through two days in Texas, but a closer look at the numbers tells a different story.
Kiz shot a 3-under 67 on Friday to get well inside the cut line and position himself inside of the top 20 going into the weekend. The biggest concern is how he did it, relying almost entirely on his short game.
The Georgia Bulldog has lost more than three strokes on approach through 36 holes, hitting just over half of his greens in regulation. He's a player that has to be dialed in for fairways and greens, even on a shorter course like Colonial, or he will fall behind. While it's nice to see him make the weekend for the first time in several events, I expect him to tumble down the leaderboard over the next two rounds.