Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Charles Schwab Challenge
Sunday finally generated some drama at the PGA Championship, but ultimately the chalk held as Brooks Koepka hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy as the betting favorite and wire-to-wire winner. With only Dustin Johnson pushing Koepka over the weekend, those without the champ on their betting cards or DFS lineups got a head start on their research for this week. The rest of the Tour licks their wounds and heads to Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Prior event data won't be quite as easy as normal to find, as this event has been renamed three times in the past five years. Everyone just calls it Colonial anyway, and this track is one of the more popular on Tour. The 7,204-yard par 70 has always drawn a strong field, but with the new schedule placing it right after the second major time will tell if that remains the case. For this season, at least, the field is solid again with 16 of the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings teeing it up this week in Texas.
The course begins with two birdie opportunities, the first being the shorter of the par 5s and the second a 389-yard par 4. Scoring well out of the gate is essential, as these two easy holes are followed by Colonial’s most difficult three hole stretch, nicknamed the “Horrible Horseshoe.” Bunkers dot almost every fairway and protect every green.
The early forecast calls for rain and high temps on Thursday and Friday, with winds in excess of 15 mph throughout the week. Highs are expected to push into the upper 80s each day, so golfers could get a little extra distance on all their clubs independent of which direction the wind is blowing.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Colonial Country Club
Distance: 7,204 yards
|Season||Par||Yardage||Average Score||Avg O/U Par||Rank|
Colonial played much harder in 2017 thanks mostly to strong winds throughout the tournament, but otherwise the course plays right around par on average and ranks around the same place every year. Wind is the primary defense on a course this short, and Justin Rose and company showed last year that pushing 20-under par for the week is very much in play if the conditions are calm.
The leaderboard here tends to be comprised of world class players and no-name randos. Rose and Koekpa finished 1-2 last year, but Benjamin Silverman and Tyrone Van Aswegen were spotted in the top 15. The 2016 top 10 included Kyle Reifers and Bryce Molder, who have a combined one start on the PGA Tour since 2017. In 2015, Jason Bohn and George McNeill recorded top 10s. No shots at these guys, but just a point that Colonial yields some unexpected names after four days, so don't be afraid to get funky with your picks.
These stats will be key to success in the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club.
|Key Stats for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s (emphasis on shorter holes)|
Strokes gained: tee to green is an evergreen stat that applies almost every week, but with so many paths to the top of the leaderboard targeting overall play is the way to go. Two long par 5s (the 565-yard 1st and the 635-yard 11th) require a different skill set than the five short par 4s that measure under 410 yards. Golfers who work their way around the course and find the right locations/yardages off the tee will set themselves up for confident approach shots.
And about those approaches - that second shot is by far the most important here. Golfers finishing inside the top 10 average a whopping 1.08 strokes gained on approach, almost double what they gain off the tee and around the green combined, according to stats and info at Fantasy National Golf Club. The greens are small and fast, so unless you plan on putting the lights out from 20+ feet, knocking it close and gaining proximity on the field is vital.
Birdies are the name of the game here - you don't get to 20-under without quite a lot of them.
Colonial has 12 par 4s and 9 of them are under 450 yards. The key this week will be building lineups with golfers who can excel at these short holes through correct placement off the tee. Doglegs and narrow landing areas mean golfers have to strategize their way to the green. Golfers who gain on par 4s generally have a well-balanced game and can attack a variety of looks.
Course History Studs
Jordan Spieth may be rounding into form after a top 5 finish at Bethpage, but he has always been solid at Colonial. The former Texas Longhorn never misses Colonial, with a win and two runner ups to his name in his career. His T32 last year was his worst finish at this event.
Danny Lee has four straight top 25s at Colonial, including a T14 last year.
The University of Georgia has produced quite a few success stories at Colonial. Kevin Kisner won the event in 2017 and finished T5 and T10 the two preceding years. His college teammate Chris Kirk (not in the field this week) won in 2015, and fellow Bulldog Harris English was runner up to Spieth in 2016 and has four other top 30 finishes in the last six years.
Jon Rahm has only played here twice but has top 5s in each of the last two seasons.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.