2019 Charles Schwab Challenge DFS Preview

Bethpage did another great job as host of a major championship, however there was not a lot of drama from the start as Brooks Koepka jumped out to an early lead on Thursday and ended up lapping the field en route to a successful title defense at the PGA Championship. It was quite the impressive display as the course played difficult, especially in some windy weather on Sunday. Now it’s time to move on as we have the first of three events before we get to experience major championship golf again at the US Open in June. This week the PGA Tour heads back to Texas for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.  

Colonial Country Club: Par 70, 7,209 yards.

Greens: Bentgrass

Average Driving Distance: (Colonial 276 yards vs. PGA Tour Avg 284 yards)  

Hitting Fairways: Difficult (Colonial 56% vs. PGA Tour Avg 62%)

Hitting Greens: (Colonial 64% vs. PGA Tour Avg 66%)   

Colonial is one of the oldest venues in continual use on the PGA Tour as it has hosted tournaments since 1946. It is an old school layout with its tight tree-lined fairways and small greens. This is not a course that can easily be overpowered by bombers as its many doglegs and tree cover just off the fairways require tee shots be hit to the same areas to provide the best angles to approach from. For the most part we can expect the same style of golf we saw a few weeks back at Harbour Town be successful at Colonial.

The course can play difficult with the cut line most likely falling in the +2 to +4 range due to both limited scoring opportunities along with a difficult three-hole stretch known as “The Horrible Horseshoe”. Players will need to survive holes 3, 4, and 5 if they wish to make it to the weekend and those who can get through the stretch at par or better will pick up strokes on the field as each hole see bogeys or worse made by over 20% of the field. Players who fall victim to the Horseshoe not have many opportunities to get back lost strokes as there are only two par fives on the course with one of them measuring 635 yards meaning its no guaranteed birdie by any stretch. The majority of par fours will be in the 400-450 yard range, and while not easy, will provide a reprieve to all those who competed with the 475+ yard monsters at Bethpage last week.

In terms of stats, since most drives will to hit to the same general areas providing similar length second shots, I will be focusing in heavily on strokes gained approach and proximity. The key distance on proximity will be from the 150-175 yard range which has historically been the most common approach distance at Colonial. Also important this week will be good drives gained which measures how often a player can reach the green after hitting their drive and is a good indicator who does a good job of staying out of trouble off the tee.

Here are our top stats to consider this week:

  • Strokes Gained Approach
  • Good Drives Gained
  • Birdie or Better %
  • Proximity 150-175

We have a stronger than expected field here at the top end of things for an event scheduled the week after a major and the week prior to the Memorial Tournament. Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler are headlining the field along with Jordan Spieth, who is just off his best performance of the year with a T-3 at the PGA Championship and Jon Rahm, who is just off a missed a cut and couple extra days of rest. Other notables in the field this week include Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, and Francesco Molinari. In addition to those listed above it looks like we have plenty of good value options to select from as we build out our lineups. Here are three targets for your cash game / single entry tournament (GPP) lineups on DraftKings:

Upper Mid-Range – Paul Casey – $9,300

I will most likely be starting my main lineup off with Paul Casey as it seems like he has regained some form after turning in great back to back performances from a ball striking perspective. Last week at Bethpage he was among leaders in good drives gained, fairways gained, and GIRs gained. His proximity numbers have looked good as he gained 3.1 strokes on approaches last week after gaining 5.4 strokes on approaches at the Wells Fargo. He lost 3.3 strokes on the greens otherwise he would have been closer to the top of the leaderboard. With a return to his preferred putting surface of bentgrass this week we are not reaching to expect some positive regression with the flatstick.

Mid-Range – Emiliano Grillo – $8,700

Like Paul Casey, Grillo has recovered nicely over his past couple starts after a mediocre performance at the Masters in April. I noticed Grillo last week as I was doing research for the Weekend and Showdown slates for the PGA Championship and while he didn’t make my final roster, he did continue his strong ball striking over the weekend and finished the tournament among leaders in good drives and GIR gained while gaining 4.3 strokes on approach. This combined with a solid performance at a Harbour Town course that is similar to the Colonial layout he’ll see this week helps provide some confidence in his current to go along with his improving course history that saw him secure a third-place finish last year in Fort Worth. Right now, Grillo’s biggest weakness is his putter but that is alleviated to an extent as bent grass has been his preferred putting surface and he gained a whopping 10 strokes putting last year at Colonial, so we know he is more than capable of finding success on the greens this week.      

Value – Russell Knox – $7,400

There are not many things scarier in PGA DFS than Russell Knox chalk week but it appears things are aligning that way as of now. A course that doesn’t require much distance off the tee but precision on approaches fits Knox’s profile as a strong iron player and the fact that he has not missed a cut at Colonial in three tries an has finished in the top 25 each time he has teed it up in Fort Worth backs that assertion up. He comes into the week in decent form as he has gained two or more strokes on approach in five out his last six starts. We will forgive the missed cut at Bethpage as he still gained strokes off the tee and with his irons on a course that was not a great fit for him and hope the extra two days of rest will help prevent a major championship week hangover.

How we did last week:

Cash/Single Entry Article Plays:

Tommy Fleetwood – T48

Hideki Matsuyama – T16

Patrick Cantlay – T3

Optimal Sports Subscribers Core Plays:

Webb Simpson – T29

Tony Finau – T64

Paul Casey – T29

Henrik Stenson – T48

Jon Rahm – MC

Sergio Garcia – MC

Last Week’s DraftKings Double Up Contest Result: Loss

2018-2019 Season Double Up Record: 16-11

Record in Double Ups Since 1/1/18: 41-21

Brought to you by Optimal Sports DFS

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