Charles Schwab Challenge odds, preview, and course notes
Following his historic win at the PGA Championship, golf’s oldest major champion, Phil Mickelson, will take a swing at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
Despite his stunning win at Kiawah Island’s tumultuous Ocean Course last weekend, the 50-year-old will enter as a +6600 longshot to win at the 75-year-old tournament.
Mickelson has two victories at this event, way back in 2000 and 2008. He was also runner-up to Sergio Garcia (another +6600 longshot this weekend) in 2001.
Another player going for his third victory at this tournament is Zach Johnson (+9000), while tournament favorite and 2016 champion Jordan Spieth (+1000) will look to collect his second win at Colonial.
Charles Schwab Challenge 2021
Sun, May 30 2021, 8:00 PM
In addition to Spieth, who tied for 30th at the PGA Championship, world No. 2 Justin Thomas (+1200) is in the 121-player field, along with last year’s Charles Schwab Challenge runner-up Collin Morikawa (+1400), Abraham Ancer (+1600), and defending champ Daniel Berger (+1800).
Last season, this event marked the return of the PGA Tour, after it went on a three-month hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To make up for several cancelled tournaments, the field was expanded to nearly 150 players, who competed without spectators present.
This time, fans should be back in full force, like they were at Kiawah, and will inject a jolt of energy at the long-running tournament.
Charles Schwab Challenge course notes and relevant statistics
Similar to last weekend in Kiawah, high winds could affect play at Colonial’s par-70, 7,209-yard layout.
One of the most iconic courses on tour, Colonial Country Club offers a tough challenge for even the very best.— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) May 24, 2021
In order to win here, players must escape the Horrible Horseshoe. pic.twitter.com/dWy6vV57du
The forecast calls for double-digit wind speeds Thursday and Sunday, with scattered thunderstorms projected Friday and Saturday.
In addition to inclement weather, players will confront tight, tree-lined fairways along the course, and bentgrass greens that measure 5,000 square feet, which is below the PGA Tour average.
Both distance and accuracy off the tee will be important, while strokes gained approaching the green historically grades out as the most significant statistic at this course.
Colonial features 12 par 4s, including seven between 400 and 450 yards. Four par 3s measure between 190 yards and 247, and the pair of par 5s are 565 and 635 yards in length.
The last three winners all ranked 17th or better in driving accuracy during the tournament. They ranked in the top four for greens-in-regulation percentage, bogey avoidance, and strokes gained tee to green. The also ranked in the top five in proximity to the hole and strokes gained approaching the green, and in the top three in par 4 scoring.
All but two of the last seven winners ranked eighth or better in strokes gained putting.
Best bets for the Charles Schwab Challenge
One player capable of rising up the leaderboard is Corey Conners (+1800), who finished 17th last weekend at Kiawah.
The 29-year-old Canadian placed in the top 10 in four of his appearances on tour since March, including a fourth at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, another layout where approach play is essential to success.
Featured Groups for this week's @CSChallengeFW:— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 25, 2021
Jordan Spieth pic.twitter.com/RzwqT51mQ3
Conners ranks in the top 10 on tour in strokes gained tee to green, scoring average, strokes gained approaching the green, driving accuracy, and greens in regulation. He is also tied for 19th in par 4 scoring.
A longer shot who should contend for a win this weekend is Chris Kirk (+5000), the 2015 champion at the Charles Schwab, then named the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
While Kirk missed the cut at the PGA Championship and Valspar Championship in his two most recent PGA Tour appearances, he finished sixth and seventh, respectively, at the Valero Texas Open and RBC Heritage in early April.
Colonial should give him the perfect opportunity to bounce back for a high finish.
The 36-year-old from Knoxville is tied for fourth on tour in par 4 scoring and bogey avoidance, and ranks in the top 30 in strokes gained tee to green, scoring average, and hole proximity.
How to watch the Charles Schwab Challenge
The winner of the Charles Schwab Challenge will receive $1.35 million of a $7.5 million purse, a Scottish tartan plaid jacket, and 500 FedEx Cup points.
The Golf Channel will provide coverage Thursday and Friday, 4-7 p.m. ET, Saturday, 2-5:30 p.m. ET, and Sunday, 1 -2 p.m. ET. CBS will broadcast the tournament Saturday, 5:30-7 p.m. ET, and Sunday, 2-6:30 p.m. ET.