A change of sponsor but we’re on very familiar ground for this week’s PGA Tour event.
Colonial Country Club is the venue for the newly-titled Charles Schwab Challenge and it’s been hosting since 1946 so we have course form coming out of our ears.
It’s a tree-lined course with numerous dog legs and small, bentgrass greens. And, unlike last week’s USPGA Championship at Bethpage Black which clearly suited big hitters, Colonial is open to all.
Jordan Spieth said last year: “Colonial, you're forced to play shots off the tees and hit to the spots that they were forced to hit way back in the day.
“It doesn't change over time. It's timeless. I certainly enjoy that kind of classic aspect of this place.”
Home American players have been the dominant force and that’s a modern-day trend too with nine of the last 11 editions being won by U.S. golfers.
England’s Justin Rose won with 20-under last year but Kevin Kisner’s winning score 12 months earlier was half that.
The reason? Wind. When it gusts, Colonial is a much harder test and the weather forecast this week suggests flags could flap hard.
Angles to consider
1/ Driving Accuracy
Placement is key with so many doglegs and it’s no surprise to see that six of the last nine champions at Colonial finished in the top 10 for Driving Accuracy.
2/ Course form
Colonial has always been a venue where the same names crop up. In the last 25 years, Corey Pavin, Nick Price, Kenny Perry, Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson all won here for a second time. More recently, Jordan Spieth has a win and two seconds in the last four years.
3/ Putting Average
It’s commonplace for the winner to rank in the top five for Putting Average and Justin Rose maintained that trend last year. In fact, the PA ranking of the first four home was 5th, 2nd, 3rd and 8th so potential champions have to wield hot putters.
The above angles have been used to create a shortlist form the following players are selected.
KK had no chance at lengthy Bethpage Black last week but Colonial is one of his favourite tracks on the PGA Tour. He has a win, a top five and a further top 10 in the last four years and has also won two of his last four tournaments in Texas having landed the WGC-Dell Match Play in March. Kisner ranks 29th in Driving Accuracy this season so ticks that box too.
The American ranks second for Driving Accuracy on the PGA Tour this season and was ranked sixth in Putting Average when finishing T14 in last week’s USPGA. That was his third straight top 20 and he has the profile and form to shine at Colonial where he once opened with a 62 to finish fifth. Also T11 with a third-round 64, Reavie should grab our attention this week.
Taylor has a bit of everything that we’re looking for here. He’s high up the Driving Accuracy and Putting Average stats when looking at the 8 Weeks filter on the Stat Form section here on Tour-tips. In addition, he’s made the top 20 on his last two starts at Colonial and comes in off T17 at the Byron Nelson and T13 at the Wells Fargo.
1pt e.w. Kevin Kisner at 33/1 (Betfair, Sky Bet 1/5 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8)
1pt e.w. Chez Reavie at 50/1 (Betfair, Sky Bet, Boylesports 1/5 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8)
1pt e.w. Vaughn Taylor at 125/1 (Sky Bet, Boylesports 1/5 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8)