The PGA Tour heads back to Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge with Daniel Berger, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year, returning to defend his title.
However, Texan Jordan Spieth has only finished outside the top-15 once in eight visits to this course and is a former champion and two-time runner-up here.
Collin Morikawa, who won the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession earlier this season, will also be back, along with Patrick Reed – the third player in the world top-10 to play at Colonial.
Meanwhile, fresh from his incredible PGA Championship win last weekend, Phil Mickelson – who won this tournament in 2000 and 2008 – will also tee-it-up.
Course: Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas
Length: 7,204 yards (Par 70)
Architect: John Bredemus and Perry Maxwell
The Texas course is a classical treelined Par 70 which requires accuracy both off the tee and approaching some of the smallest greens on tour.
I wrote the following a couple of years ago: “When we look at some of the former winners a pattern of what type of golfers does well here begin to emerge; Zach Johnson (2010 & 2012), David Toms (2011), Jordan Spieth (2016) and Kevin Kisner (2017). All of these are shorter hitters known for their ball striking.”
And sure, enough Kevin Na who ranked 188th in driving distance in 2019 gained 8,3 shots on approach and won by four, then last year Daniel Berger who is one of the shorter of the elite players rode a hot approach game to victory.
Colonial has bentgrass greens, the rough is usually not very deep, but players note that it’s still quite tricky to judge distances when you miss the fairway. The winning score is usually in the low teens.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Strokes gained approach
- Driving accuracy
- Bentgrass putting
- Par 4 scoring
- Proximity 125-175 yards
- Strokes gained around the green
Wagered: +35.61 units
Wagered: 231 units
Won: 397.42 units
Result: 186.42 units
Waste Management: Brooks Koepka 41-1, Genesis Invitational: Max Homa 56-1, The Players Championship: Justin Thomas 19-1, Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth 11-1
Morikawa is no longer the reigning PGA champion but not for a lack of trying as a stellar final round 68 saw him climb to a top 10 finish in his title defence.
His ball-striking was once again tremendous gaining 4,2 off the tee and a whopping 7,7 strokes on approach. The insane thing is that over the last six tracked tournaments he has gained over 7 shots with his irons in five of them. Without hyperbole that is Tiger in his prime numbers.
As always it comes down to his putter which is very hit or miss but if he can only get an average week out of the flatstick the rest of his game is so red hot now so that should be enough to secure his 4th PGA tour title this week.
My second pick of the week might seem a little strange since the young Californian comes off back-to-back missed cuts, but this is exclusively a course fit play as the last two times we have been at short technical windy tracks McNealy has performed excellent.
It started at Pebble Beach where a closing eagle saw him finish runner up to Daniel Berger who of course also is the defending champion here, he then followed that up with a T4 at The Heritage a month ago.
It is also encouraging that even though he has had some missed cuts as of late he do rank in the top half of the field in all the relevant categories for this week and finally he gained almost 3 strokes on approach in the second round of the PGA Championship last week but a poor first round saw him just miss the cut anyway.
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