Charles Schwab Round 2 Betting Picks: Schauffele, Leishman Trending Up at Colonial
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele
The PGA TOUR returned on Thursday – and yes, it was glorious.
Whether you’re a diehard golf fan who’s been counting down the days until this return or a casual observer who just wanted a sport on TV to help stay sane, the opening round of the Charles Schwab Challenge offered a welcome respite from the dearth of major sporting events on the calendar over the past three months.
Of course, it also gave us plenty of welcomed betting opportunities, as well.
If you were smart – and not all of us have this type of will power, myself included – you might have waited a day to see which players were fully prepped for the second half of this season and which ones were planning to ease their way into the summer months.
A tip of the hat to those who had some combination of Justin Rose and/or Harold Varner III, each of whom posted a 7-under 63 to grab a share of the lead at Colonial CC. Or Jhonattan Vegas, Collin Morikawa, Abraham Ancer and Justin Thomas, all part of a quartet who are currently one stroke off the lead.
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Due to the lack of other sports being contested, there are undoubtedly some golf neophytes who witnessed the first round, digested these scores and presumed that these are the only players who are in the hunt for a victory come Sunday afternoon.
More experienced fans – and gamblers – understand, however, that this thing is far from over. We’ll see plenty of turnover rate on the leaderboard over the next 54 holes.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few players I like for the second round and beyond before getting into a few R2 matchup bets.
Xander Schauffele: Second-round leader (+1400)
Prior to the opening round, I’d heard some murmurs from fellow pros that Schauffele, who about halfway through the shutdown said publicly that he hadn’t even touched his clubs, quickly found his game while preparing for the PGA TOUR’s return event.
On Thursday, he opened with a solid 5-under 65 to remain just two strokes off the lead.
Looking at the stats, Schauffele gained 1.43 strokes tee to green during the opening round, which suggests he’s hitting the ball very well. He also happened to rank ninth in strokes gained putting at just over 3 for the day, which is often reason to expect a bit of regression, but I’m banking on it only being a slight setback while his ball-striking continues to improve.
X-man is well within striking distance to get into the lead and with an early-morning tee time – even though there’s not much disparity between the morning and afternoon wave – should have an opportunity to putt on smoother greens with just a little less wind.
At 14-1, I like this number to back Schauffele for another 65 or better, then let him ride out the late draw and remain in front until the end.
Marc Leishman: Outright winner +9000
With one round in the books, Justin Thomas (+550) is now the favorite, trailed by Justin Rose (+800), Bryson DeChambeau (+1200), Jordan Spieth (!!) (+1200), Collin Morikawa (+1200) and Xander Schauffele (+1200).
Those are all big names and big talents, each with a chance of winning this golf tournament when it’s all said and done.
If you really want a name out of left field, though, let’s go with Leishman.
The bulky Aussie opened with a double-bogey on the 10th hole Thursday, followed by a bogey. If you bet on him or played him in DFS, you were immediately thinking disaster, as he quickly fell to the bottom of the leaderboard.
Leishman just as swiftly turned things around, though, playing his next 16 holes in 4-under for a final score of 1-under 69. At T-57 on the leaderboard, he’s hardly one of the favorites right now, but a half-dozen strokes back isn’t nearly the death knell that some might think.
In fact, Leishman struck the ball really well in the opening frame, gaining 3.43 strokes on his approach shots alone. If he continues on this pace, he can easily get himself back into the mix – and you’ll be getting a bargain at this inflated price.
R2 Matchup: Webb Simpson (-114) over Tony Finau
Outside of the Simpson household, there was nobody more disappointed with Webb’s opening round 3-over 73 total than myself. Trust me on this one.
I’ve found, though, that a decent rule of thumb is to stick with the guy who brought ya here.
I loved Simpson entering this event; I bet him and played him in a bunch of DFS lineups. (So, too, did everyone else apparently, as he was the highest-owned player in DraftKings’ milly-maker tournament.) That was a severely disappointing total on a getable day, but Webb isn’t the type of guy to pack it in and take L on his way to an MC.
In fact, in each of his three previous starts, Simpson opened with a score of 71 or worse. At the WGC-Mexico Championship, he followed a 72 with a 73 the next day. But at the Sony Open, he went from 71 to 66 and at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (which he wound up winning, oh by the way), he went from 71 to 63.
There’s reason to believe Simpson will turn around this number and post a low one on Friday morning to take a run at still making the cut.
R2 Matchup: Scottie Scheffler (-120) over Harold Varner III
I love HV3. I mean, not only is he a player on the rise, he’s a player we can all root for, speaking so eloquently about social justice and injustice in the world while simultaneously being so frank about not witnessing much prejudice within the game.
It was great to Varner climb into a share of the lead on Thursday, but we have reason to believe it might not last.
The first and only other time he owned a share of the R1 lead was at last year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, when he shot a 64, only to follow with a 71 the next day.
Varner’s stats suggest some regression might be coming on Friday, while Scheffler, who opened with a 2-under 68, might just be ready to post a low one.
I usually like listing plus-money offerings in these situations, but this one feels like the tables should turn in the rookie’s direction, so Scheffler should be the smart play.