Charles Schwab Challenge Betting Preview: Which Golfers Have the Best Course History at Colonial?
Photo credit: Christian Petersen/PGA of America/PGA of America via Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth
Yesterday, I wrote about Colonial Country Club, the host of this week’s Charles Schwab Classic in Forth Worth, Texas.
It’s obviously a weird week for golf handicapping as the TOUR has been off for months. There’s no recent data to use, and it’s unclear which golfers have been playing, which players do better off layoffs, etc.
What we do have a ton of data on is Colonial, which is the longest-standing non-major PGA TOUR host. It could be wise to lean heavier on course history (as I wrote in that piece), so on that note, let’s break down which golfers have historically excelled at this track.
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Some quick nitty-gritty notes: I’m using just the past six years of data at Colonial; there are some good studies on anything outside of that time window being less predictive. In terms of measuring performance, I’m using FantasyLabs‘ Adjusted Round Score, which is the average adjusted strokes on a course; adjustments are made to account for the difficulty of Colonial and the strength of the field.
Using that data, combined with the number of tournaments played at Colonial (scoring low once is nice; doing it multiple times is more impressive), I created a “Course History Rating” metric that’s specific to this field. The max possible score is 10; the lowest is 0. If a golfer hasn’t played here in the last six years, I did not give them a score.
Top Golfers in Colonial Course History Rating
Jordan Spieth hasn’t just lost a step — he’s lost miles. The three-time major winner now has a long-term Adjusted Round Score — probably the best catch-all metric in the industry to highlight a golfer’s long-term play — in the range of Russell Knox, Daniel Berger and Lucas Glover.
But, man, does he have awesome history at Colonial. The Dallas native and former University of Texas standout has a win here in 2016, along with two runner-ups in the last five years. He was ‘just’ 32nd in 2018 but rebounded last year with yet another top-10 finish. He has the high-end finishes plus the consistency to have the top overall course history rating.
Another player who really elevates his game when it counts, Brooks Koepka has minimal history here, but it’s good. In his lone appearance in 2018, he finished second. That four-day appearance gives him the best raw Course Adjusted Round Score in the field.
He had been struggling prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, and it’s unclear whether he’s been playing or will be motivated this week, but he clearly is comfortable on this track and is the best golfer anytime he wants to be.
Below Spieth and Brooks in this rating are a bunch of longshots like Brian Harman, Danny Lee, Kevin Kisner, Charley Hoffman and Chris Kirk.
I’ll write about this later today, but this absolutely could be a week to take plus money on bets, including in head-to-heads and longshots to win. Colonial is already a course that has been kind to longshots, and the extended COVID break might act to be an equalizer on the course.
Worst Golfers in Colonial Course History Rating
Most of the golfers with the worst ratings include some of the worst golfers in the field, which isn’t exactly compelling content. Instead, let’s talk about some of the bigger names who have struggled historically at Colonial.
The most important name is Rickie Fowler, who obviously has high-end upside but has really struggled with consistency. I’m not including his data from 2012, in which he finished fifth. Since 2014 — again, the last six years — he’s missed two cuts and finished 14th.
My colleague Josh Perry does like him this week, especially at his low price of 35/1 at DraftKings, and I’ll admit his game should theoretically suit this track. Colonial requires good iron play and especially a great short game, and Rickie definitely fits that bill. He has poor history, but perhaps that’s depressing his number to a point where he’s worth taking.
Sung-jae Im, one of the most exciting younger golfers, has a poor rating, although it’s due to just one appearance. He missed the cut last year and didn’t play particularly well with any of his clubs. Perhaps another year of development and now knowing the course will help him do better this time around.
Take a look below at the full course history ratings. These aren’t designed to identify value bets necessarily — rather they’re just another data point to put in your arsenal as you research this week.
Colonial Course History Ratings
|Player||To Win Odds||Course History Rating (1-10)|
|Si Woo Kim||+27500||5.2|
|Harold Varner III||+20000||2.9|
|Erik Van Rooyen||+17500||N/A|
|Charles Howell III||+17500||N/A|