Charles Schwab Challenge 2023
Dates: May 25, 2023 to May 28, 2023
Location: Texas, USA
Course: Colonial Country Club
Course Par: 70
Course Length: 7209 yards
Prize Purse: $8700000
One of the game’s legends is celebrated at the Charles Schwab Challenge, while one of its current stars hopes to continue his success at the historic Colonial Country Club.
The course was coined ‘Hogan’s Alley’ after Ben Hogan won four of the first seven editions of this event. Now Jordan Spieth is Colonial’s most consistent contender, with one win and three runner-up finishes; he has finished outside the top 10 just twice in 10 appearances.
After Brooks Koepka put to bed any suggestions that he had become a choker with a fine display to win his fifth major last week, the Tour is back in Texas for the Charles Schwab Challenge. A host of players with Texan connections are in the field, not least world number 1 Scottie Scheffler, who goes off a warm favourite after a close second in the PGA, where his all-round game continued in great shape. Whether he will be as motivated this week is open to question however. Last week’s romantic storyline Michael Block gets another outing and it’ll be fascinating to see whether he can continue the form that saw him secure a scarcely-believable top 15 finish.
Colonial Country Club presents a different challenge, a couple of hundred yards shorter than Oak Hill (also a par 70) and previous results suggest a premium on accuracy and tidy iron play.
|Player||Points||Type||UK Odds||Places||Outright US Odds|
|Collin Morikawa||4||each way||16/1||8||+1600|
|Eric Cole||1.5||each way||100/1||8||+10000|
|Emiliano Grillo||1.5||each way||80/1||8||+10000|
|Sepp Straka||1||each way||100/1||10||+10000|
|Tommy Fleetwood||2.5||each way||33/1||8||+3300|
|Carson Young||1||each way||250/1||8||+35000|
When accuracy and iron play are top of your wish list, Collin Morikawa (4pts each way, 16/1, 8 places) is always one of the first names to come to mind. Unfortunately he’s often a touch short in the market for that very reason, but this looks to be a week where we feel there’s a touch of value in having him on our side, perhaps as a result of a couple of missed cuts in the recent past. Runner-up here in 2020 and with four top 10s already this season, his putting has been a consistent problem for him and would be the main worry in terms of whether or not he can convert his exceptional iron play (second in the field on approach in the last three months) into a win here. But as we know, short game is the most fickle and volatile element of the game, so the chance seems well worth taking.
Eric Cole (1.5pts each way, 100/1, 8 places) has been ticking along without making any headlines, but there is enough in his recent form to make him of interest here. Well up the leaderboard in the early stages of the PGA, he ultimately finished a very creditable T15, and he can back that up with a top 5 in Mexico and a top 25 in the Byron Nelson. This form puts him in the top 20 in the field for overall strokes gained in the last three months and with his iron play a particular strength, he’s easy to include in the staking plan at the available price.
We’ve had an eye on Emiliano Grillo (1.5pts each way, 80/1, 8 places) for a while now as he’s been returning to form. A missed cut in the PGA is no great concern as that test was always likely to be a step too far, but his form in the weeks leading up to that had been pretty solid, with three top 25s on the bounce. Not particularly long, but accurate, with impressive approach stats, it wouldn’t surprise at all if he continued his resurgence with another strong performance here.
Having written before about his tendency to get onto streaky runs of form, Sepp Straka’s (1pt each way, 100/1, 10 places) performance at the PGA makes him interesting here at a huge price. He misses more than his share of cuts, so can’t be considered a confident choice, but we know he can win when he’s in the mood and we know he can hold his form for several weeks in a row, so a small stakes interest is recommended.
It was a toss up between Rickie Fowler and Tommy Fleetwood (2.5pts each way, 33/1, 8 places) for our other pick from the front of the market, and the Englishman just gets the vote on account of the slightly bigger price available. Both look to have very similar chances having put together impressive runs of recent results, with Fleetwood now on a run of three consecutive top 20s after a fair 33rd place in the Masters. He doesn’t win as often as he perhaps should, but this test should suit him very nicely – another top 20 finish looks to be on the cards and he could easily go very close to winning if he gets his putter to behave.
Finally, we can’t resist a small interest in Carson Young (1pt each way, 250/1, 8 places) at a huge price. Three top 20s in his last five tour starts is a level of form that doesn’t match the odds on offer, and Monday’s exceptional performance in US Open qualifying (16 under par for 36 holes) seals the deal. While he doesn’t feature highly on the SG rankings in this field, that’s more than compensated for in the price and there’s enough of a case to make him worth an interest to small stakes.