PGA Odds For The Charles Schwab Challenge
The PGA Championship is over and Brooks Koepka adds another major championship to his resume. Koepka led wire to wire at Bethpage Black, defending his 2018 PGA Championship. Aside from a late Sunday push from Dustin Johnson and four bogeys in a row from Koepka on the back nine, Koepka was never really in jeopardy of losing his title. He dominated for the first 63 holes and won by two strokes despite going +5 on his last eight holes of the tournament.
Koepka will try to win his third straight U.S. Open next month at Pebble Beach, but let’s not get ahead ourselves. There are three tournaments leading up to the US Open, including this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Here’s a breakdown of the course and golf betting odds.
Sitting on the Trinity River, it’s the place Ben Hogan dominated for years. He loved it so much it’s where the legend eventually retired. 60 years after his last win there, “Hogan’s Alley” as some prefer to call it, remains a ball-striker’s paradise. The 7200-yard par 70 course only has two par 5s but plenty of more dog-legs, requiring precision off the tee and acute approach shots to setup birdie opportunities on the small greens.
Bombers don’t have a distinct advantage at Colonial like they do other courses, but there are three par 4s that stretch over 450 yards. Past winners include shorter-than-average hitters such as Kevin Kisner, Jordan Spieth, Steve Stricker, David Toms, and two-time winner Zach Johnson.
In 2018, Justin Rose made his first appearance in eight years and shot -20 to beat Brooks Koepka by three strokes. Koepka won’t be in the field this week but Rose (+1200) is back to defend his title. Other notable names such as Jon Rahm (+1100), Rickie Fowler (+1400), Francesco Molinari (+1800), Tony Finau (+2500), Paul Casey (+2500) and Bryson Dechambeau (+3300) help make up a competitive field.
All opening odds referenced herein are from BetStars unless otherwise stated.
Is Spieth (+1400) Back?
Jordan Spieth finished T3 at the US Open and was in 2nd place after 36 holes, leaving many people, including Jordan himself, to believe that the former world No. 1 has found his swing — a swing that has been lost for most of the year. His best finish on Tour since the 2018 Masters was sure to make headlines. ‘Spieth proves slump may be over,’ ‘Spieth’s 66 signals slump is over’ just to name a couple.
The performance has had a similar effect on the betting market. Spieth is +1400, sitting below only Justin Rose and Jon Rahm on the betting board a week after entering the PGA Championship at +5000.
Not so fast, fellas.
Spieth putted remarkably, but that was about it. He gained 12.7 strokes total, 10.6 of which came from his short stick. It was his best strokes gained putting performance of the year. The next closest in strokes gained putting? Luke List at 7.2.
Spieth hit only 4-of-14 fairways in the final round and his driving accuracy percentage was 48% for the tournament. Spieth didn’t even gain stokes on his approach shots.
Look, Spieth made a name for himself with the putter, but putting isn’t exactly something you want to bet on. Putting is one of the most volatile and noisiest stats in golf. Look no further than List as an example. Before finishing 2nd at the PGA Championship in strokes gained putting, List was 191st on Tour in that same stat. On any given day or tournament, a notoriously bad putter can look like a savant on the greens. Meanwhile, Spieth is never going to start driving the ball like Jon Rahm or Tony Finau.
There’s no doubt that Spieth, who grew up in the DFW metroplex and went to the University of Texas, is familiar with Colonial. If you’re a believer in course history, Spieth has four Top-10s here, including a win and two runner-ups.
As for me, I need more evidence than a streaky putting week to bet on the former Texas Longhorn at +1400. I may even consider fading him in matchups depending who he’s paired with.
Value in the Mid-Tier?
Bryson Dechambeau +3300
It seems like I’m writing about Bryson Dechambeau every week that he plays. His odds have fallen from what they were earlier in the season, but I’m a firm believer in Dechambeau’s science experiment.
Dechambeau played collegiate golf in the heart of Dallas at Southern Methodist University. His familiarity with the area has yet to translate to success at Colonial, though.
The former SMU Mustang was one of Bethpage’s many casualties. He even complained about the distance of the course. Dechambeau won’t have those same complaints this week.
In three appearances, Dechambeau has two missed cuts and finished 42nd last year.
Dechambeau wears the same style of cap and hits the same style of irons (all the same length) that Ben Hogan did. Now all he needs is the plaid jacket.
The Champs – Kevin Kisner +4000 and Zach Johnson +7500
If Colonial fits anyone’s eyes it’s Kevin Kisner’s and Zach Johnson’s. Kisner won here in 2017 after finishing in the Top-10 two years in a row. Prior to last week’s PGA Championship, Kisner hadn’t missed a cut all year. I wouldn’t let his performance at Bethpage Black concern you. He was fully transparent that the course didn’t fit his game during the practice rounds, joking that he already had a plane lined up to fly him out of New York on Friday. Overall, Kisner has had good season and is in solid form. Prior to the PGA Championship, Kisner finished in the Top-25 in four of his past five tournaments.
The only golfer to win more times at Colonial than Zach Johnson is Ben Hogan. He hasn’t won here since 2012, but he made 12-of-12 cuts before missing the cut in 2018. Unlike Kisner, Johnson made it to the weekend at the PGA Championship despite lacking power off the tee. The only place where he lost strokes was with his putter. That should be encouraging for those considering backing Johnson, who is very familiar with the layout of the greens this week.
Emiliano Grillo +5000
Emiliano Grillo comes off a 23rd place finish at the PGA Championship, where he was 17th in strokes gained tee to green. The young Argentinian used his ball striking skills to place 3rd in Ft. Worth last year. He 3-for-3 in cuts made at the Colonial.
Other mid-tier golfers to consider:
Joel Dahmen +6600
The Country Club Member – Ryan Palmer +8000
Ryan Palmer has logged more rounds at Colonial Country Club than any golfer in the field. In 2012 he shot a 62 to tie the course record for the lowest first round in the tournament’s history. You know who else shot a 62 at Hogan’s Alley? Palmer’s caddie. Of course, the club championship had a little different atmosphere and playing conditions, but his knowledge of the course certainly won’t hurt this week.
Palmer’s low round wasn’t enough to get the win in 2012, but it was the start of three Top-5 finishes over the span of the next five seasons. In fact, Palmer has finished inside the Top 15 in four of his last seven starts at his home course. The native Texan is a steal at +8000 at BetStars.