Recap of PGA Championship
Let’s kick things off this week by looking back at last week’s PGA Championship and seeing how our players performed. It was a solid week for all three of our leading picks; our formula predicted the winner would be from America.
C. Morikawa – Tied 8th
A top ten finish for Morikawa was very positive, but I can’t help feeling what could have been. He seemed in full flow in the first round, but a bogey at the last hindered him, and he couldn’t quite get that out of his head as he had a poor second round. His third round was steady, but he finished strong, shooting a final round of four under to claim a top ten finish.
W. Zalatoris – Tied 8th
Zalatoris took a while to get going on day one, but he finished with a steady round. However, a treble bogey on day two and a double on the third round put an end to him ever being in contention. He had a decent fourth round to claim our second top ten finish of the week.
S. Cink – Tied 30th
Cink had a steady first round, but like our other two leading picks, he had a poor second; that’s an understatement; it was a disaster. He finished strong on day four to finish the round on three under par and pick up a respectable 30th place.
This week brings us to the Charles Schwab Challenge, which was the first tournament played last year after all competition was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And it was some competition. This year’s tournament has a lot to live up to.
The History of the Charles Schwab Challenge
Last year’s tournament was a classic, which saw Daniel Berger birdie the final hole to force a playoff with Collin Morikawa. Berger shot a par on the first playoff hole, but Morikawa could only manage a bogey as he conceded defeat. This was Berger’s third win on the PGA Tour and his first for three years. He follows such greats as Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Phil Mickelson to have won this event. Let’s look at the past five winners and what their form was leading heading into the tournament.
2020 – Daniel Berger -15 (Form 4-5-9-29)
2019 – Kevin Na -13 (Form CUT-35-10-46)
2018 – Justin Rose -20 (Form 23-19-12-52)
2017 – Kevin Kisner -10 (Form 56-CUT-2-11)
2016 – Jordan Spieth – 18 (Form 9-48-4-15)
It’s obvious you have to be playing well and in good form to lift this trophy, as, between these five players, they have only missed two cuts collectively in the 20 tournaments leading up to this one.
It’s also worth looking at players who have done well at the RBC Heritage tournament, as that appears to give us some pointers here. Kevin Na came tenth, and Kevin Kisner placed 11th in the run-up to this event, and Daniel Berger came 3rd in the Heritage a week after lifting this trophy last year. The tournament resumes its usual spot in the calendar this year, so we can take a look at the top placings for this year’s Heritage tournament.
- Varner III
Looking at the winning rounds of the past five winners of this tournament, it appears a strong finish is required as four of the past five winners have finished with a final round of 66 on their way to lifting the trophy.
The Colonial Country Club Course
The event is played at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Since day one, it has been held here. This the second longest-standing tournament to be held at one venue on tour behind the Augusta National. The weather looks very varied this week so expect some unpredictability out there.
The week starts nice on Thursday but is followed by rain on Friday and Saturday, making things interesting. It looks like it will be dry for the final round, but it could slow the greens right down with rain expected the previous two days.
The Colonial is famous for its Horrible Horseshoe, which consists of the three most difficult holes on the course. This starts from the third hole, so it's essential to make a decent start on the first couple of holes. Following this, a couple of birdie opportunities will set each player on their way to the back nine. They begin the back nine with the second most challenging hole on the course, making birdies beforehand even more crucial.
The course has numerous doglegs and tight fairways, which means you only want to look at accurate players off the tee. With so much water on the course, it also pays to pick a decent approach player. Players to look out for therefore are:
- Brendon Todd
- Abraham Ancer
- Brian Stuard
- Ryan Moore
- Ryan Armour
Approach The Green
- Collin Morikawa
- Will Zalatoris
- Justin Thomas
- Paul Casey
- Corey Connors
The Charles Schwab Challenge Field
Daniel Berger returns to defend his title; this is a tournament that has seen many golfers return to retain or regain their crown here. His adversary in the playoff last year, Collin Morikawa, also returns, hoping to seek revenge and go one step further this year. Patrick Reed is another of the world's top ten players who will participate this year.
Justin Thomas will be hoping to bounce back from his disappointment at the PGA Championship, where he missed the cut for the first time. Perhaps the biggest story is the PGA Champion Phil Mickelson will be in attendance after his record-breaking win last week. He has already won this tournament twice in 2000 and 2008.
Fantasy Draft Picks
Based on the specific course, the tournament, the conditions, and the value field, I have come up with the following picks for your fantasy golf teams for the Charles Schwab Challenge:
Abraham Ancer - $9700
It’s so hard to ignore the form of Abraham Ancer right now. He has had four top 20 finishes of late, three of which have come inside the top ten. One of those top 20 finishes was in the RBC Heritage, which, as we know, bodes well here. He has finished strong in his last two tournaments, which is what has been required to win around here. He is one of the most accurate off the tee on tour this year, so much, so he ranks second for finding the middle of the fairways. On the odd occasions, he does find the rough he is ranked fourth for scrambling so he can find his way out of trouble, which is remarkable as it doesn't often happen, so he doesn't get much practice. He ranks eighth for consecutive cuts made, so you know you should get a run for your money.
Will Zalatoris- $9900
I’m going to stick with Zalatoris this week as his stock is continuing to rise, but unfortunately, so is his price tag! He has had two top 20 finishes and finished inside the top ten at the PGA last week, as we know. He's an attacking player, which is highlighted because he has made the most eagles on tour this year. He also ranks 11th for his overall scoring average, making him a solid selection for any team.
Corey Connors - $9400
Corey Connors has gone under the radar throughout the year, but he is starting to get noticed, reflected in his value. He finished fourth at the Heritage this season which means his game should be suited around here. This is highlighted by his high rankings for both driving accuracy and his approach play. He has very few weaknesses in his game, he finished inside the top 20 here last year, and he never missed the cut.
Other players of note include:
Collin Morikawa - $10500 – Followers will know I’m a big fan of Morikawa, and it's hard to ignore him. However, he has played a lot of golf recently, and his price tag is very high. If you fancy a few outsiders, it's worth sticking him in.