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Charles Schwab Challenge Preview

Colonial Country Club would be the star of the present this week on the PGA TOUR heads to Fort Worth to unwind after the season’s fourth main.

Don’t fear, there are nonetheless two extra majors to return on this super-season journey.

Back to the duty at hand, a discipline of 121 golfers will tackle Colonial CC this week with the highest 65 and ties advancing on to play the weekend. That means greater than half of the sector can be assured 4 rounds.

The 2020 taking part in of the Charles Schwab Challenge had one of the best energy of discipline it has ever seen, as a consequence of gamers itching to return from the COVID-19 break. This 12 months we’ve a handful of superstars returning. Maybe a slight dip in energy, year-over-year, however nonetheless rock stable.

Notable names embody Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Collin Morikawa, and even final week’s large winner, Phil Mickelson. Let’s get proper into the course…

The Course

Colonial Country Club is a classical design that’s tree-lined and options loads of doglegs.

A results of that’s the course sometimes performs as a positional-based structure the place energy is considerably muted. There is not any course on earth the place distance is a foul factor however Colonial is unquestionably one the place it isn’t required.

On the scorecard, it reads as a par 70 that performs to 7,209 yards. It performs longer when you think about membership choice off the tee is not only driver in all places. On the flip aspect, it performs shorter due to the agency Texas soil. Overall, distance is just not an enormous issue, like I beforehand talked about.

The tight fairways with agency soil result in a low share of fairways hit (round 56 %) and golfers parlay that right into a 64% GIR fee, give or take just a few share factors from 12 months to 12 months. That is fairly common when it comes to GIR charges on the PGA TOUR.

Weather sometimes performs a task right here because it’s one of many windiest occasions, on common, during the last decade. Of course, there are exceptions to that so be sure to examine the precise forecast this week however golfers that may deal with the wind have traditionally fared very nicely at Colonial Country Club. Last 12 months they did not see a lot wind and it was fairly heat as they performed in mid-June however they’re again to the everyday late-May slot on the calendar this 12 months. Spieth talked about how that June climate helped the bombers, however extra on that within the quotes part.

Looking on the scoring situations, Colonial CC options one of many lowest eagle charges on TOUR so do not count on many large birds out of your golfers this week. In reality, scoring is sort of boring general at Colonial with the course yielding the third-highest fee of pars behind solely Sea Island Resort (Seaside) and Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course. There aren’t a whole lot of large numbers carded right here, simply par after par so persistence is a prerequisite for fulfillment right here.

Lastly, we are able to speak concerning the turf they’ll see. It’s bermudagrass fairways and tough whereas the greens are pure, A4 Bentgrass. They sometimes run on the speedy aspect of the spectrum, round 12 toes on the stimp.

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Course Quotes

Sifting by some previous quotes, let’s attempt to break down the course to see the way it will play.

Jordan Spieth: “Yeah, it actually has played very, very different. It’s played, I think, into bombers’ hands, because not only the lack of wind but the direction it’s been with that east — it was like east-northeast yesterday, east-southeast today, a lot of the holes where it’s normally straight into the wind and it’s blowing 10 to 15 in May, it’s blowing 2, 3 miles an hour straight off the left and you can fly all the bunkers. We’re looking back at Brooks, Rory and Jon Rahm, and some of these holes they’re just hitting flip wedges into. They’re just bombing it over everything. With how receptive the greens are, that makes it a bit easier.” -2020 on the course taking part in in a different way in June

Harold Varner III: “Last time I was here, I hit a lot of drivers, and that obviously is not the key to this place. Just had a really good game plan. Just hit a lot of fairways so you give yourself a lot of chances to hit greens, and man, it’s just fun to just get back out there. “

Roger Sloan: “It’s not always a driver off the tee or 3-wood. Sometimes you have to lay yourself back and play some strategy into some pin positions.”

Jim Furyk: “It’s not a power-dominated golf course. It’s a place you have to put the ball in the fairway. You’re going to have to hit some shots and hole them against the winds. It’s a golf course I don’t think favors any style, other than guys that can work the ball, control it in the wind, hit some shots. You’ve good got a good advantage there.”

Jhonattan Vegas: “This course is all about precision. There is nothing about power around this place. You can on the fairways, on the wrong side of the fairway, and still not have a clear shot to some of these holes.It’s about thinking your way around this place. Obviously all the past winners are guys that are able to do that really well. “

Correlated Courses

Looking at grass varieties, geography, course attributes, and previous efficiency, listed below are just a few programs/occasions that I believe may show to be pointer this week:

Harbour Town Golf Links
Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course
Sea Island Golf Resort
Waialae Country Club
TPC Sawgrass

The theme this week is less-than-driver programs the place energy is just not a requirement. Most of those programs require sport plan, and it isn’t simply bomb-and-gouge off the tee.

The Weather

Thursday: Partly Sunny with a excessive of 86 levels. Winds at 15 MPH.

Friday: Light Rain with a excessive of 79 levels. Winds at 10 to fifteen MPH.

There is a whole lot of precipitation within the forecast this week which isn’t perfect but when they’ll keep away from the thunderstorms then it should not be a significant concern. Certainly, a scenario to observe as the primary tee time attracts nearer.

Golfers to Watch

Jordan Spieth
The Dallas native feels proper at house this week and it exhibits along with his historical past on the course. He arrives with a win and two runner-up finishes in eight tries at Colonial and he is additionally discovered his sport once more in 2021 so it is easy to see why he is the pre-tourney favourite.

Tony Finau
If you need a boom-or-bust choice this week then Finau may catch your eye. Why is he so boom-or-bust in my eyes? His technique off the tee has been very aggressive right here prior to now. This is what he stated after one in all his rounds in 2019, “I hit a lot of drivers. Only hit an iron off the tee once and 4-wood one time. I mostly hit drivers. I do think it’s a golf course you have the opportunity to push it up if you want to, and I was able to take advantage of some of my length there today.” He went on to submit a runner-up end that week and general has a 5-for-5 file at Colonial with all 5 touchdown inside the highest 35. Okay, possibly it isn’t such a dangerous sport plan in any case.

Brian Harman
Speaking of high 35s at Colonial, this lefty has tossed collectively high 35s in his final seven journeys to Fort Worth. I’d be very prepared to forgive a missed minimize at Kiawah Island when you think about the fashion of play that’s required there in comparison with Colonial.

Kevin Na
Similar to Harman above, Na is one other identify that missed the minimize at Kiawah Island however has a sport extra suited to the second-shot nature of Colonial Country Club. Na has six profession first-round leads or co-leads on the PGA TOUR and three of them have come right here.

Sahith Theegala
The teenager out of Pepperdine is 6-for-6 on the Korn Ferry Tour this season as he seems to be a method to play his manner right into a full-time gig on the PGA TOUR. He reached as excessive as third on the World Amateur Golf Ranking throughout his time at college. HE is simply 3-for-8 on the PGA TOUR however I believe his time spent grinding the KFT this 12 months ought to solely assist him transferring ahead when it comes to being comfy in professional occasions. You might not really feel comfy investing within the teenager but however he is definitely a proficient identify to look at on the leaderboard any time he pegs it, simply to observe his profession development.

Gary Woodland
It was a tough 2020 for Woodland however he is feeling wholesome once more and has tossed collectively high 10s in two of his final 5 begins whereas he was additionally T7 via 54 holes final week at Kiawah Island earlier than fading on Sunday. This large hitter is somebody who traditionally performs nicely when programs drive you to membership down off the tee. Woodland settled for T73 in his 2012 Colonial debut however returned final 12 months to land a solo ninth.

Branden Grace
Similar to Woodland, Grace has additionally discovered his sport once more just lately, profitable the Puerto Rico Open in February to show he nonetheless has the winner’s gene. He was additionally within the combine via 54 holes final week on the PGA Championship, dropping from T5 to T38 on Sunday. Now he heads to a course the place he’s T53 and T19 in two tries. Back when he confirmed up for Harbour Town for the primary time I keep in mind him telling a narrative about Ernie Els recommending he play it as a result of the course would go well with him so nicely. That identical concept ought to apply at Colonial CC since so many golfers record it as a correlated course.

Ranking the Field

1. Jordan Spieth
2. Justin Thomas
3. Patrick Reed
4. Tony Finau
5. Collin Morikawa
6. Daniel Berger
7. Abraham Ancer
8. Joaquin Niemann
9. Will Zalatoris
10. Brian Harman
11. Charley Hoffman
12. Scottie Scheffler
13. Sungjae Im
14. Emiliano Grillo
15. Jason Kokrak
16. Cameron Tringale
17. Chris Kirk
18. Billy Horschel
19. Ryan Palmer
20. Sergio Garcia

Editor’s Note: Don’t overlook to obtain the NBC Sports EDGE app to obtain real-time participant information and updates. Plus, it means that you can simply observe your favourite gamers. Get it here!

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