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Charles Schwab Challenge Betting Tips: Four of the best for Colonial test

Charles Schwab Challenge Tips: Webb Simpson features in our selections.
Charles Schwab Challenge Tips: Webb Simpson features in our selections.

What a thrilling week we enjoyed at Southern Hills, as Justin Thomas claimed his 2nd PGA Championship, coming back from a seven shot deficit at the start of the final round. This not telling the whole story, as his 3-under par round was only enough to get him into a playoff against a player who is becoming a regular atop these major championship leaderboards, Will Zalatoris. 

This was only made possible by the dramatic double-bogey on the final hole from overnight leader, Mito Pereira. The talented Chilean entered the final round with a 3-shot lead over a top 6 which included zero major championship wins amongst them and just the two combined PGA Tour titles. Still in control on the 18th tee, as challengers had come and gone, he made the mistake of hitting driver, finding the creek down the right-hand side of the fairway. Failing to hit the green with his third and hitting a poor chip out of the rough around the green, Pereira made double-bogey on the final hole to drop to third, allowing the two playoff competitors to take advantage and the more experienced Justin Thomas to come out on top. A dramatic end to a fine week of golf.

Onto this week and it’s back to Texas for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. A very familiar PGA Tour event with a 70+ year history, that has always taken place here at Colonial.

Jason Kokrak won the event last year, with a two-shot victory over Jordan Spieth, he himself a past champion in 2016, with last year’s runner-up finish the third time he’s done so in the event.


 Charles Schwab Challenge Tips

The Course

Originally designed by John Bredemus in the 1930s and then redesigned by last week’s Southern Hills’ original designer, Perry Maxwell in the 40s, Colonial Country Club is a densely tree-lined par 70, measuring 7209 yards.

The tree-lined fairways, many doglegging, are narrow and protected by strategically placed fairway bunkers and some tricky rough. Not only is there a premium on accuracy in finding the fairways here, but it is essential you hit it on the right side, or else face an obstructed approach to these predominantly small, bentgrass greens. 

Greens which then possess their own dangers, with further penal bunkering and water well-in play on around a third of the holes. Though tricky in their own right without the external dangers, rarely has a player won around here without a good week on the greens.  

This classic layout is a real test of ball-striking and shot-making ability, that sets up well for both short and longer hitters alike. Though it does negate that ability of the very best, big-hitters to overpower it off the tee, it does allow them to club down for position, whilst the more accuracy dependent players are not disadvantaged by a course too long and open. It’s about getting the ball in-play and in the right spot off-the-tee, then working your magic from there into and on these putting surfaces.

As mentioned, this is a course where your ball-striking has to be on point, with quality approach play key.

Of the last 10 winners here, stretching all the way back to Zach Johnson’s win in 2012, six have ranked inside the top 10 in SG: Approach for the week. Kevin Na in 2019, Justin Rose in 2018 and Boo Weekley in 2013 all ranked 1st. Whilst Adam Scott in 2014 ranked 3rd, Daniel Berger in 2020 ranked 5th and Jason Kokrak last year ranked 8th. With none of the other four winners ranking worse than 30th. 

In addition to this a high percentage of greens hit has also been essential, with Chris Kirk in 2015 the only player to win and rank poorly in GIR. Seven of those ten winners ranking inside the top 10, including Justin Rose and Kevin Na ranking 1st again in their respective years.

This necessity for a strong all-round ball-striking performance is evidenced further, with most of those past ten winners driving the ball well when winning. Chris Kirk in 2015 is once again the outlier here, relying heavily on a good short-game when he won. Outside of him, none of those other nine winners ranked worse than 31st off-the-tee. With last year’s winner, Jason Kokrak ranking 1st, Justin Rose in 2018 ranking 4th and Jordan Spieth in 2016 ranking 5th OTT.

Also proving that importance to drive it straight with Chris Kirk once again and Jordan Spieth in 2016, the only two players to drive it waywardly for the week. Kevin Kisner led the field in driving accuracy when winning in 2017, whilst Jason Kokrak ranked 4th and Justin Rose in 2018, Boo Weekley in 2013 and Adam Scott in 2014 all ranking in the top 10.

It is imperative that the long game is up to scratch if you have designs on winning this trophy on Sunday evening. 

Correlating Courses

There is a bounty of courses that share form-ties and similarities with Colonial Country Club:

TPC Southwind (St Jude Invitational/Classic)

TPC Southwind is a tree-lined par 70 of a similar length, and much like Colonial; doglegs, thick rough and small greens are in abundance. No great surprise that the two courses play similarly tee-to-green, with fairways and greens tough to find at both, and trouble awaiting should you hit errant tee-shots.

Daniel Berger is a winner at both venues. Whilst the last three winners at Southwind, Abraham Ancer, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka, have all recorded strong finishes at Colonial, with bests of 14th, 10th and 2nd respectively.

Other players to possess strong form at both courses include Webb Simpson, who has multiples top 5s at both venues, Troy Merritt, who has top 10s at both and Brian Harman, again possessing top 10s at both venues.

Harbour Town Golf Links (RBC Heritage)

Harbour Town is another tree-lined, claustrophobic feeling golf course and similar to Colonial in so much as strategy off-the-tee is as, if not more important than simply just finding fairways. This enabling both bigger hitters, who can club down for position and more accurate players tee-to-green to feature heavily on both leaderboards.

Form-ties between these two events are infinite. Jordan Spieth and Boo Weekley have won at both venues. With other past champions at Colonial, Kevin Kisner and Zach Johnson possessing runner-up finishes at Harbour town, as well as further top 10s there for Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, Daniel Berger and Chris Kirk. 

Flip that around and we find past Heritage winners like Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker finishing runner-up at Colonial. Whilst 2020 winner at Harbour Town, Webb Simpson, has multiple top 5s at Colonial.

Waialae Country Club (Sony Open)

Host of the Sony Open in Hawaii, Waialae Country Club, is a flat, narrow, tree-lined course which doglegs throughout. Though not as penal as Colonial should you miss the fairways, hence the generally much lower scoring (providing the wind doesn’t blow) it does often throw up heavily correlating leaderboards to Colonial.

Kevin Na has won both events, as have Zach Johnson and David Toms. Further to this, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and Chris Kirk have all finished runner-up there, whilst possessing victories at Colonial.

In addition to this we have Kevin Kisner, who has multiple top 5s at Waialae, with the likes of Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker possessing strong form at both courses, recording top 2 finishes at both.

Copperhead Course (Valspar Championship)

Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, home of the Valspar Championship, is another tactical, doglegging tree-lined track, where you have to place your ball in the right spot off-the-tee to hit those firm greens. It is similarly difficult to find the fairways and offers a comparable level of penalty for missing them.

Jordan Spieth has won at both courses. Whilst Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na and Boo Weekley share the distinction of being Charles Schwab winners, as well as runners-up at the Valspar. 

Amongst the other players to possess form at both courses are Justin Rose, who’s won at Colonial and possesses multiple top 10s at the Valspar, Webb Simpson, who has top 5s at both and Brian Harman, who was 5th there this year and has multiple top 10s at Colonial.


Those four appealed to me most but there really is a long list of other events which could offer clues. Others to consider are the Mayakoba Classic at El Camaleon, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, Old White TPC, that hosted the now discontinued Greenbrier Classic and THE Players Champion at TPC Sawgrass. All events on tree-lined courses, which provide plenty of form-ties with this week’s test.

The Weather

As is so often the case in Texas, wind is forecast to play a big part this week. Starting with good conditions on Thursday, a strong breeze arrives on Friday, with strong winds upwards of 20mph coming in time for the weekend. There is also the potential for some rain before the start of the event, which could soften the course up.

The Field

We currently have a really strong field teeing it up in Texas this week, including no less than six of the world’s top ten. This includes last week’s PGA Championship winner, Justin Thomas, as well as world #1, Scottie Scheffler. The strength in depth of the event is enhanced by a further 18 of the world’s top 50 heading to Fort Worth.


Scottie Scheffler heads the market at 11/1 after missing his first cut of the year last week. With PGA winner Justin Thomas second favourite at 12/1 following that victory. Neither appeal here for me at the prices; Scheffler hasn’t gone well here on two visits, coupled with his missed cut last week, excuses for being on the wrong side of the draw somewhat diminished by Thomas’ success, as he too was in the PM/AM wave and with Thomas, players often find it tough to come down from such a high for a regular tour event the week later.

Instead I start just behind them with a player who has a good record here and should be feeling a bit fresher this week than some, having not been involved in the business end of the PGA Championship, Collin Morikawa.

Golf odds
Collin Morikawa each-way (8 places)
Odds correct as of 2022-05-23 20:15 Odds subject to change.

Morikawa finished way down in 55th last week at the PGA Championship. Though like Scheffler and Thomas mentioned above, was on the tough side of the draw, a made cut no mean feat amongst many there, despite what Thomas managed to achieve.

Though he struggled to get anything going earlier on in the tough conditions of the first couple of rounds, Morikawa didn’t do anything too alarmingly bad and I was buoyed by his final round being his best of the week, shooting 70 and produced his best ball-striking round of the week. I’m hoping that he can carry that momentum to Colonial this week.

Morikawa has had a solid and consistent year so far, with his only missed cut coming in THE PLAYERS Championship, dogged by weather delays. He kicked off the year with a 5th place finish in the Tournament of Champions and has hit the top 10 on three more occasions since, the best of those a 2nd place finish in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera but equally as impressive was his 5th at The Masters just four starts ago. That first victory of 2022 eluding him. 

Morikawa has done little wrong and came out clearly on top this week for me statistically. He’s simply one of the best ball-strikers on tour. All the talk is often about his approach play and it’s no surprise that he’s still producing in that regard this year, despite a bit of an off week last week he ranks 9th in approach and 13th in GIR for the season. However he compliments this with excellent driving, ranking 10th off-the-tee and 16th in driving accuracy. That precise, accurate ball-striking incredibly attractive around Colonial.

This skill-set has seen him go excellently on his two visits, finishing 2nd on debut in 2020 and followed that with a 14th place finish last year. Both times he’s produced excellent iron-play, ranking 1st in approach last year and 3rd the year prior. Also putting well on that first visit.

He franks this form with strong form at correlating venues, with a 2nd place finish in the Genesis the standout piece of form. 7th place finishes at the RBC Heritage and Sony Open offering further encouragement.

Morikawa is playing well and should arrive here less jaded due to not being in the mix over the weekend at Southern Hills. He can use that precise ball-striking that has served him well here in the past to finally notch up that first victory of 2022.

Webb Simpson each-way (8 places)
Odds correct as of 2022-05-23 20:15 Odds subject to change.

Webb Simpson produced his best finish of the year at last week’s PGA Championship, finishing 20th. A week where every part of his game looked in good working order and helped fire him to a 5-under 65 in round three, not just the best round of that day by two shots but one of the best rounds of the week. I’m hoping he can build on that this week at a course he’s twice finished in the top 5 and one which suits his straight hitting game. 

Prior to last week, Simpson’s best finish was 35th at The Masters. A disappointing start to the year for a player who is usually so consistent. He started the year hitting the ball poorly but has since rectified that off-the-tee, his driving was indeed the best part of his game last week, as he ranked 14th and 19th for accuracy, his 5th event in a row gaining strokes OTT. Whilst his approach play hasn’t quite shown the same resurgence he did show positive signs last week, particularly in that excellent third round, where he led the field in approach.

He’s been solid enough around-the-greens this year but the other big issue has been the putter, which along with his irons has been the club that has engineered most of the success in his career. This too showed signs of improvement last week, as he gained strokes on the greens for the first time in five starts, something I’m counting on him continuing this week. 

Simpson has played here six times and has a bit of a feast or famine record. He’s twice finished in the top 5, with a 3rd place finish in 2016 and 5th place finish in 2017, though has missed the cut on the other four occasions. 

He does have a superb book of correlating form, as a past champion of the RBC Heritage amongst other top 5s, as well as a winner of THE PLAYERS. He’s too recorded 2nd place finishes at the Valspar and St Jude, as well as multiple top 5s at the Sony Open.

Simpson has been off the boil this year but with the signs he showed last week, looks a very backable price here. If he can replicate the improvements shown in those key areas of approach and putting last week, areas that are so often his biggest assets, he can step up further on that 20th place finish.

Justin Rose each-way (8 places)
Odds correct as of 2022-05-23 20:20 Odds subject to change.

After a strong performance last week, which saw Justin Rose claim a 13th place finish thanks to some quality ball-striking over the weekend, I’m taking this past champion to keep the momentum going this week at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

That 13th place finish from Rose was his best of 2022 since finishing 6th at the Farmers Insurance Open all the way back in January in a largely inconsistent year. I was very taken by how solid he was across the week in testing conditions, never shooting worse than 1-over and firing his best round of the week, a 2-under 68, on Sunday. 

He started last week playing some solid golf with every club bar the driver, though stepped it up on the weekend. Ranking 9th in approach on both Saturday and Sunday, which led to him ranking 9th for the week and also putt well, ranking 13th, gaining strokes in three of his four rounds. Though in addition to this I was pleased by his driving over the weekend, where he started to find much more accuracy.

At his best, Rose was one of the finest ball-strikers around, particularly in approach and it was this that engineered an excellent record here at Colonial. An event in which he won in 2018, finished 3rd in 2020 and 20th last year. Particularly showing good form on these greens but also has the experience of how to approach the course off-the-tee.

His win here aside, Rose has an abundance of correlating form. Such as a 2nd place finish at the St Jude, and multiple top 10s at the Valspar, Genesis and PLAYERS Championship. 

Rose’s last win came in 2019 at the Farmers Insurance and whilst not as consistent, at the moment at least, he’s still producing plenty of high class performances, for all they’re not as frequent. If he can maintain the level of precision iron play and accuracy off-the-tee he showed at the weekend at Southern Hills, this classy player can make a play at a 2nd title at Colonial.

US Open odds
Matthew NeSmith each-way (7 places)
Odds correct as of 2022-05-23 20:20 Odds subject to change.

Matthew NeSmith is the type of player who always springs to mind when these courses roll around. He’s an accurate, GIR machine and after a couple of years of getting used to the main tour, he’s started this year well, producing two of his best four PGA Tour performances in the early part of this year.

Those two performances from NeSmith came in the form of a 3rd place finish in the Valspar Championship, where he had every chance during the final round, eventually finishing a shot outside the playoff won by Sam Burns, an experience that should stand him in good stead if he gets into contention again. Then just two starts later he followed that with a 12th place finish in the RBC Heritage. Both also noteworthy as courses mentioned as correlating courses. 

We’ve seen him three times since the 12th at Harbour Town, 4th in the Zurich Classic when teamed with Taylor Moore his best effort, though I was impressed with his 31st place finish in the brutally difficult Wells Fargo at TPC Potomac. Where he handled tough conditions well, showing particular quality in approach and around-the-greens. 

Approach play is key to his game, shown in both of the above performances, where he ranked 1st for approach in the Valspar and 7th at the Heritage. Which is reminiscent of his overall play, as he ranks 28th on tour in approach this season and 21st in GIR. This following on from ranking 11th in approach and 4th in GIR last season on tour and top 25 in both the season prior. 

In addition to this, NeSmith is solid off-the-tee, ranking 78th this season, which is actually an improvement on previous years’ play, though accuracy is really his bag. Where he’s ranked a respectable top 50 the previous two seasons and is 58th so far this. 

He’s played here twice and has underwhelmed, finishing 49th on debut in 2020 and missing the cut last year. Though is forgiven as he didn’t arrive there in those two years, showing the type of form he has so far this season. Instead I choose to take confidence from the aforementioned 3rd at the Valspar and 12th at the Heritage in terms of showing his ability to perform around this type of setup. Along with his solo victory on the Korn Ferry Tour in the Boise Open at Hillcrest Country Club, a tight tree-lined course that puts an emphasis on accuracy, particularly off-the-tee.

NeSmith was a top class amateur, ranked as high as #7 and turned pro with plenty of expectation. After serving his apprenticeship on the main tour in the last couple of seasons, I expect contending performances like that at the Valspar to become more frequent and this test looks as suitable as any.

Golf betting tips
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