The best betting props for the Charles Schwab Challenge
I certainly can’t claim to be much of a fashion guru. In all honesty I’m probably a decade behind the latest trends, I barely have a grasp on smart casual, and my go-to pair of jeans are older than I’d like to admit.
But even with my dodgy eye for fashion sense, I know it’s never a great idea to wear a plaid tartan blazer. There is an exception though of course, because the winner of the Charles Schwab Challenge gets to don just that, as well as pick up a cheque for $1.35 million and a pretty big truck!
The competition is now 75 years old and brings the PGA Tour back to Texas to the Colonial Country Club. This is not a long course, so driving distance is not going to be a focus here. However, it is tight, and the wind can certainly pick up, so greens in regulation and an ability to get up and down will be key.
Keep your eye on holes 3, 4, and 5, which play the toughest on the course and are nicknamed the Horrible Horseshoe.
Course experience is key, and on average, winners have played this event eight times before going on to win it. Sergio Garcia was the last man to win this event on his debut, and that was 20 years ago. It’s also a course for the old guys, which is very topical given Phil the Thrill’s history-making PGA Championship win. Eight of the last 22 winners here were aged 40 or older, so don’t discount the pensioners!
Charles Schwab Challenge 2021
Sun, May 30 2021, 8:00 PM
Matchbet: Jordan Spieth to beat Justin Thomas (-120)
Jordan Spieth’s form in Texas is no secret, and I want to side with him again here. He won this event in 2016, and has 11 top 10s in the Lone Star state, including a win in the Texas Open last month. Around the Colonial Country Club, he has a stunning formbook, playing this event eight times and finishing in the top 10 on six occasions. He won in 2016, and was the runner-up in the years either side of that win.
Spieth’s resurgence in form is another huge positive. After winning the Texas Open, he was third in the Masters at Augusta, and ninth in the AT&T Byron Nelson. A disappointing 74 on Sunday at the PGA Championship saw him drop from 13th to 30th, but that shouldn’t put you off Spieth here. His game is made for this course.
Justin Thomas, on the other hand, has been in and out of form and that inconsistency makes me want to side against him. Winning the Players Championship was a highlight, but he only has one other top 20 finish in his last seven tournaments, and missed the cut last week in the PGA Championship. He was 10th here last year, but that was his debut and course inexperience is a flag.
Top English Player: Justin Rose (+175)
Along with Spieth, another man with brilliant course form is Justin Rose. He won this event in 2018 and was third here last year. Nine of his last 12 rounds here have been under 70 and he is certainly hot enough with the putter to threaten the top of the leaderboard again.
Rose has put in some big performances already this year, finishing seventh in the Masters and eighth in the PGA Championship as he rounded Sunday off with a closing 67 – Colin Morikawa was the only player to go lower on the final day. Rose was flawless on the greens in both of those tournaments, and a similar effort here would put him right in the mix.
He is a solid bet to top the charts for the English.
Top 30 Finish: Charley Hoffman (+100)
Windy Texas will not phase Hoffman, who won the Texas Open in 2016 before finishing second in 2019 and second again in the same tournament in April this year. The Californian comes here on a really tidy run of form with seven top 20 finishes in his last eight tournaments.
That includes his runner-up spot in Texas, as well as top 10 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a solid finish of 17th in the PGA Championship last week, where he ranked first for greens in regulation.
Hoffman’s course form isn’t too inspiring, but he has made the top 30 on six of his 12 attempts around here. Most pleasing is the round of 63 he shot here in the opening round in 2018 and the third round in 2019.
Off the back of Mickelson’s success in Kiawah, this would be another good result for the older generation.
Top South American Player: Joaquin Niemann (+115)
Niemann’s mentor and friend Sergio Garcia was the last man to win on debut at this course 20 years ago, so it was no surprise to see Niemann finish in the top 10 on his debut in 2018. He’s followed that up with finishes of 31st and 32nd, which isn’t setting the world alight, but shows he has the game to cope with the winds and the layout of the course.
It’s Niemann’s form that jumps out the most as he currently boasts the longest cuts-made streak on Tour and ranks 21st in shots gained putting and 34th for shots gained approaching the green – two key metrics in this competition.
This season he has finished in the top 25 in 11 of the 17 tournaments he’s appeared in, and was playing well last week in the PGA Championship up until a rough 76 on the final day. He was seventh going into Sunday’s round but, like Spieth, dropped down to 30th.
Forgiving him those 18 holes, Niemann is doing little wrong and should see off Emiliano Grillo, Jhonattan Vegas, and Sebastian Munoz in this prop.