Fore Please! – Charles Schwab Challenge

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Justin Rose returns to Colonial Country Club to defend his title at the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge.

Fresh off of the second major championship of the season, the PGA Tour heads to Fort Worth, Texas for the Charles Schwab Challenge. Despite numerous sponsorship-related name changes over the years, this event remains the longest-running event on Tour contested on the same layout. Colonial Country Club plays host this week as a 7,209 yard par 70 track with a stacked field featuring 7 of the Top 13 players in the Official World Golf Rankings. Justin Rose is back to defend his title from 2018 at this track that they affectionately call “Hogan’s Alley” after legendary golfer (and Fort Worth resident) Ben Hogan. Hogan notched 5 victories during his illustrious career at this event which has been in existence since 1946.

This week’s field is a bit smaller than average because this event is an Invitational, so only 122 players will tee it up Thursday morning as opposed to the usual 144 players we are used to seeing on Tour. These players will compete for their share of the $7.3 million purse, $1.314 million of which goes to this week’s winner. Another cool feature of this week’s event is the emphasis on collegiate golf that is on display. The NCAA Hogan Award, presented to the nation’s best collegiate golfer, is handed out this week at a large event that merges the best professional and college players together for one night. For the record, this year’s Hogan Award winner is Viktor Hovland of Oklahoma State, who also happened to be the low amateur at this year’s Masters Tournament.

Course Notes | Colonial Country Club

Colonial Country Club is a stark contrast from the type of course we saw at last week’s PGA Championship. While Bethpage Black was a beast of a course that required players to be massive off the tee, Colonial CC is a much more positional course that requires accuracy both off the tee and on approach. Small greens seeded with bentgrass is also a change from the large poa greens that we just saw at Bethpage. Holes 3 through 5 have been dubbed the “Horrible Horseshoe” because of their difficulty, so there will be no time to settle into a round here this week. These holes are three of the four toughest holes on the course, including the 481 yard par 4 5th hole that ranked in the Top 40 toughest holes on the entire PGA Tour last season.

Colonial CC played as the 20th most difficult on Tour last year and features only two par 5s, including the 1st hole that has played as the easiest on the course over the last 5 years. Almost 50% of players have recorded birdies or better on that hole over the last 5 years, so players need to take advantage here before entering the Horseshoe. Seven par 4s between 400 and 450 yards make that the key distance to focus on if you are trying to break down strokes gained statistics more closely this week as well.

As far as stats are concerned, driving distance is significantly lower here than elsewhere on Tour, with players averaging around 7 yards less off the tee here than Tour average. This is certainly a testament to the positional golf layout we find at CCC, so choosing players based on driving distance would not be as advantageous this week. Strokes Gained: Approach, as it is many weeks, has proved to be the key stat in the strokes gained family this week as well, so focusing on great ball strikers would be the best way to start roster building for this tournament. We will dive much deeper into this when we launch our DFS preview for the event out later this week.

Stat of the Week

Having played this event in the past has been of more importance here that most other events on Tour. In fact, since this event was started in 1946, only 5 players have won it their first time out. No one since Sergio Garcia in 2001 has accomplished the feat, so keying in on those players that have had success at Colonial in the past may be the best starting point this week.

Weather Forecast

Early in the week, rain doesn’t appear to be a huge concern, but high temperatures will tax players as they make their way around Colonial CC. The consistent winds are also what we have come to expect out of our Texas events in years past, so trying to roster players that handle windy conditions might be strong DFS theory.

Video of the Week

So what do the players think of the Horrible Horseshoe at Colonial Country Club? Check out this preview of one of the toughest three hole stretches in golf!

As always, thank you very much for giving my article a glance this week as you prepare for the Charles Schwab Challenge. If you have any questions you would like to ask me about your lineup or about my article in general, join us on DPA Premium where you can get exclusive access to myself as well as the rest of our other experts for NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL. I’ll be available to answer questions about your lineups this week from 8PM to 10PM CST on Wednesday, May 23rd.

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Hopefully we will see you back here tomorrow for my DFS breakdown of the Charles Schwab Challenge field on DraftKings and FanDuel. This premium content will help you build your lineups for success in both cash games and GPPs. Until then, pack your lucky horseshoes, because when you hit this Horseshoe, you’re going to need it!