Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Charles Schwab Challenge
After a historic PGA Championship, we head back to Texas to a course with plenty of history itself in Colonial Country Club. Despite a series of recent name changes before landing on the Charles Schwab sponsorship, no event has been played at the same course for longer. Normally the week after a major championship sees a step down in field strength, but with the condensed 2020-21 schedule fitting we'll see a solid group take on the iconic Colonial Country Club this week.
Phil Mickelson's shocking win makes him a now six(!)-time major champion, and he confirmed he'll still be headed to Colonial next week before taking a couple of weeks off before the U.S. Open. He's won here twice, in 2000 and 2008, but has played here just three times since and missed the cut in two of those installments. Joining Mickelson are 10 of the top 25 players in the world, including world No. 2 Justin Thomas, PGA runner-up Louis Oosthuizen, and defending champion Daniel Berger.
Colonial is a 7,209-yard par 70 located in Fort Worth, Texas, and features some of the tightest fairways on Tour. Driving accuracy and greens in regulation are consistently below Tour average, and it makes sense. With so many landing in the rough off the tee, hitting into below average-sized greens (just 5,000 square foot average) becomes even more challenging. Those greens are fast and firm, and Texas winds further complicate things.
As it stands early in the week, the afternoon wave on Thursday can expect the strongest winds of the week, with storms in the forecast Friday and Saturday but less wind on those days. The early Thursday wave will avoid the stronger afternoon winds and potentially get a wetter, softer course on Friday afternoon. Things can always change, but the earliest starters this week seem to have a draw advantage.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Colonial Country Club
Distance: 7,209 yards
A fast start is a must once again this week, with a par 5 and a short par 4 kicking things off before the "Horrible Horseshoe", a fitting moniker for the difficult stretch immediately following -- a 483-yard par 4, a 247-yard par 3, and a 481-yard par 4. The back also starts with a par 5 and a short par 4, but it is a bit harder as the par 5 11th stretches up to 635 yards. That being said, time and again we have seen distance matter very little when it comes to par 5s. There may be fewer eagles, but even the longest par 5 is still a birdie opportunity.
All things considered, this is a fair test that only gets silly if the wind is really dead, as it was in 2018 when the winning score was 20-under par. That was still an outlier, with Justin Rose winning by 3 strokes and only six golfers in total within 10 strokes of him. The winning score has only cracked 15-under three other times in the past decade.
For course comparisons, we can look to the Texas connections at TPC San Antonio- AT&T Oaks (Valero Texas Open), which is a much easier course but still features signature Texas winds and some leaderboard overlap we cannot just ignore. Spanning the map, Colonial shares some of a few key characteristics with some unlikely bedfellows. Waialae Country Club (Sony Open in Hawaii) and Harbour Town GL (RBC Heritage) favor accuracy over distance and require golfers to deal with windy conditions. With fewer and fewer courses able to effectively mitigate the gains the long hitters on Tour have made, these three courses refuse to yield and so are linked in their stubbornness.
These stats have proven vital to success in the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club.
|Key Stats for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
Accuracy is the name of the game this week, first off the tee and then on approach. Fairways gained points us not just to the golfers at the top of driving accuracy stats but also removes those who play more events on wider fairways and gives us which golfers beat the field in fairways hit.
From there, we look to our weekly staple in strokes gained: approach. Gaining with your irons is the largest opportunity week in and week out, and it is also the most consistent weekly statistic. The best iron players consistently beat the field, and there is very little fluctuation in the annual rankings. Everyone will miss plenty this week, though, and so we have to find golfers who can clean up around the greens when the situation calls for it.
If they do find the green, however, we need scoring this week. There will be plenty of bogeys, and finding golfers who can go on birdie streaks or consistently bounce back after a bad hole must be a priority this week.
Course History Studs
Jordan Spieth has terrific form at many Texas courses, and Colonial is right at the top of the list. He has played every year since 2013, won in 2016, and his T32 finish in 2018 is the only time he was worse than 14th. His record here is strong enough to lay it out in full starting in 2013 -- T7, T14, T2, WIN, T2, T32, T8, and T10.
Two recent winners with limited but excellent history at Colonial. Justin Rose won in 2018 and was third last year around a dud in 2019. Kevin Na missed the cut last year but won in 2019 and was 4th the year before, and he has top 15s since 2013.
Brian Harman is Spieth-light, a staple in the field at Colonial and finishing T31 or better every year since 2019.
Some otherwise under-the-radar golfers with a solid history over the past few years include Matt Kuchar, Rory Sabbatini, Emiliano Grillo, Brandt Snedeker, Peter Uihlein, J.T. Poston, Charley Hoffman, and Andrew Putnam.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.