The historic Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas will be the host of the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge. This is the 77th time it will host this event, the longest-running non-major on the PGA Tour that is played on the same course. The Par-70, 7,209-yard track had a scoring average of 70.208 last year and the 120-man field will compete for an $8.4 million purse, including the $1.512M first-place prize.
Jason Kokrak proved that shot-making and accuracy were the keys to success at this course during his two-stroke win last year; he ranked 1st in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee, 2nd in SG: Tee-To-Green, 2nd in Greens In Regulation, 7th in SG: Putting and 8th in Driving Distance in what was a dominant display.
Interestingly, this is a course that doesn’t reward a certain type of golfer. Instead, those with well-rounded games tend to perform best. Interestingly, the last 19 winners of this event had an average age of 36 and had started six times at Colonial before their first victory. Especially when factoring in the oppressive heat and wind gusts that are expected over the weekend, experience is going to be an important factor this week. Bentgrass greens are small and average only 5,000 square feet and can reach 13 feet on the Stimpmeter, thus putting slightly more emphasis on effective putting than usual, per PGATour.com.
Since the Bermuda rough can be tall, controlling the ball around the green can also be a difficult task. Further, last year’s field averaged just 7.9 of 14 fairways hit and 11 greens in regulation per round, making the Colonial the third-hardest in both categories among all courses during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Holes 3-5 will be an immediate test. Called the “Horrible Horseshoe”, the stretch lives up to its name. In 2019, the trio played 284 over par and was the most difficult three-hole stretch on Tour. If golfers can escape that early trio without a disaster, it could set them up for a solid round. If not, they can find themselves in an early hole. Let’s take a look at this week’s best bets, per BetQL’s PGA Model with all of this in mind.
Our predictive model takes into account overall player performance, recent form, course strengths and weaknesses per player and sportsbook odds. It has been developed and tested throughout previous PGA seasons and has compiled historical data from 25+ years of golfer and course history. Note: odds presented below were shopped among our sportsbook partners to identify the best values. Content is free for a limited time. All statistics below were found on PGATour.com. Star ratings are on 1-5 scale (1 being least valuable, 5 being most valuable).
Justin Thomas To Win (+1200, FanDuel)
BetQL Projection: +506 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Thomas’ magical season is at a peak, coming off of his PGA Championship playoff win on Sunday. He also finished 3rd, T3, T5, T5, T5, 6th, T8, T8 in other tournaments this season and has made the cut in all 13 Tour events (18 in a row overall). Thomas ranks 1st on Tour in One-Putt Percentage, 2nd on Tour in SG: Tee-To-Green, 2nd in Putting Average, 2nd in Birdie Average, 5th in SG: Approach-The-Green, 5th in Scrambling and 5th in Scoring Average and has the all-around game to contend anywhere. Plus, he brought back the dab after winning the PGA Championship, so that has to count for something, right?!
BetQL is giving JT +506 odds to win the Charles Schwab, a huge difference from the +1200 odds you can find on FanDuel right now. Keep in mind that he’s as short as +800 at DraftKings, so it’s smart to capitalize on this value ASAP.
Viktor Hovland Top 5 Finish (+450, BetMGM)
BetQL Projection: +238 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
After T4, T2 and T9 finishes at The Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and THE PLAYERS Championship, Hovland has slightly fallen off the map, finishing T33, T27 and T41 at the Valspar Championship, Masters Tournament and PGA Championship. However, he ranks 3rd on Tour in SG: Approach-The-Green and 4th in Birdie Average and this course suits his game well. He also has the aggressive tendencies I look for on approach shots. In fact, he ranks 3rd in Going For The Green and has 109 attempts and just 35 lay-ups in those situations. With some long Par-4 holes on this course, that mentality could benefit him (and us). BetQL is giving him +238 odds to finish in the Top 5 this week, a discount against the +450 odds you can get at BetMGM right now.
Webb Simpson Top 10 Finish (+410, FanDuel)
BetQL Projection: +142 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Simpson finished T20 at the PGA Championship and easily won our Top 40 Finish projection. He fits the bill of previous winners that I described in the intro: he’s 36 years old, this is his seventh appearance at this event and he’s finished in the Top 5 here twice. His T20 finish at Southern Hills (in challenging conditions including winds) creates some optimism around him this week, as does BetQL’s +142 projection to finish in the Top 10. Since FanDuel is giving him +410 odds to accomplish that feat, this is a massive value. Simpson ranks 12th on Tour in Proximity To Hole and 15th on Tour in Overall Putting Average, so those are a couple supporting stats to keep in mind as well.
Sungjae Im Top 20 Finish (+145, FanDuel)
BetQL Projection: -126 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Not only did Im finish T10 here in 2020, but he ranks 3rd in Scrambling From The Rough, 6th in Greens In Regulation Percentage, 7th in Scoring Average, 9th in SG: Around-The-Green, 12th in SG: Off-The-Tee and 15th in SG: Tee-To-Green. Im finished in the top 20 in eight of his last 13 events and he’s simply too talented to have +145 odds to finish in the Top 20. BetQL is giving him -126 odds and projects him to accomplish that task.
Denny McCarthy Top 40 Finish (+130, DraftKings)
BetQL Projection: -215 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
McCarthy has finished in the Top 40 in eight of his last 15 events and is putting together a solid year. He ranks 5th on Tour in SG: Putting, 8th in Scrambling, 21st in One-Putt Percentage and 24th in Scoring Average. He has +130 odds to finish in the Top 40 at DraftKings, but BetQL is giving him -215 odds to do so, making him one of the best values of the week.