2019 Charles Schwab Challenge Picks, Rankings, Sleepers, Preview

Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one and done strategy for the event from Colonial CC.

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Editor’s Note: Jason Kokrak has withdrawn from this weekend’s Charles Schwab Challenge.

2019 Charles Schwab Challenge Field

Field: 122 Players | Top 70 and Ties Make the Cut
First Tee: Thursday, May 23 at 8 a.m. ET
Defending Champion: Justin Rose

Before the PGA Championship was thrust into May, both Dallas-area events had been held in consecutive weeks for the past decade. Shocking stuff, holding tournaments separated by 45 miles in back-to-back weeks instead of making the players book a round-trip ticket out of JFK. Hopefully JFK. Imagine being a millionaire golfer and flying through LaGuardia.

Now, the field at the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge didn’t take a hit this season because of all the late scheduling changes. So, for now, it remains of the utmost quality. 2018 winner Justin Rose returns to defend his title along with Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Kevin Kisner and Jordan Spieth, who, with a T3 at the PGA Championship, notched his first Top 20 in almost a year (2018 British Open).

The second tier of Americans is quite bountiful with talent, with Ryan Moore, Billy Horschel, Daniel Berger, Jason Kokrak, Jim Furyk, Pat Perez, Kevin Na, Charley Hoffman, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Scott Piercy, Jimmy Walker, Trey Mullinax, Chez Reavie, Jason Dufner, Nick Watney, Boo Weekley, Cameron Champ and Joel Dahmen add an enormous amount of depth to this field, but it’s the cavalcade of invading international forces that makes the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge so deep.

Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton, Byeong-Hun An, Si WOOO Kim, Sungjae Im, Emiliano Grillo, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Brendan Grace, Alex Noren, Jhonattan Vegas, Danny Lee, Carlos Ortiz, Mackenzie Hughes, Matt Jones, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, KH Lee, Russell Knox, Corey Conners, Abraham Ancer, Nick Taylor, CT Pan and Slovakia’s own, Rory Sabbatini, all decided it was in their best interest to head back to the DFW area for another crack at a victory.

After finishing T12 at Trinity Forest two weeks back, former Texas Longhorn Doug Ghim eared another sponsor’s invitation. Dru Love and Tucker Wadkins received an invite as well, but only due to their prodigious surnames. As did Mike Weir, because, I guess they felt bad. Talor Gooch is returning from injury for the first time since THE PLAYERS Championship, too.

As one of five events on the PGA schedule with invitational status, with just 122 players, the field will be smaller than an average event. Also, for DraftKings purposes a higher percentage of players will make the cut. Something to keep in mind when assessing your risk while constructing lineups.

2019 Charles Schwab Challenge: Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Approach
Par 4s Gained: 400-450 Yards
Fairways Gained
Strokes Gained: Off The Tee

Mayo’s Custom Stat POWER RANKINGS from FantasyNational.com

2019 Charles Schwab Challenge: Course

Course: Colonial CC
Par: 70
Yardage: 7,209
Greens: Bentgrass
Par 5 Eagles: 10
Rank: 20/51 in 2018 (-0.170)

2019 Charles Schwab Challenge: Past Winners

2018: Justin Rose -20
2017: Kevin Kisner -10
2016: Jordan Spieth -17
2015: Chris Kirk -12
2014: Adam Scott -9
2013: Boo Weekley -14
2012: Zach Johnson -12
2011: David Toms -15
2010: Zach Johnson -21

2019 Charles Schwab Challenge: Notes

One of the shortest courses on TOUR, Colonial rewards immaculate short- and mid-irons and a hot week with the putter.

With the tiny greens, SG: APP has been almost 3x more impactful on the Top 10 finishers than SG: OTT, and over 5x SG: ATG.

One of the few courses on TOUR where driving distance is fairly irrelevant. Even the Par 5s don’t allow easy access to the bombers. There were only nine eagles generated between the two Par 5s last season.

Driving accuracy is going be important, but be careful you don’t get duped by that stat. It might not deliver the exact info you crave. The issue being; driving accuracy doesn’t account courses played, and the difficulty of finding the fairway at each location. Hitting 65% of fairways at Trinity Forest isn’t quite the same as finding 65% in Fort Worth. Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee is a better metric since it weighs each player’s driving (length, accuracy, etc.) against the field for each round. The Fantasy National stat Fairways Gained is even better, though. It takes distance out of the equation and boils it down to which players successfully found the fairway against the field in a given event. Meaning, that 65% at Colonial, (or Heritage, or the other narrow courses) is much more meaningful than a 65 percent at the Byron Nelson or Kapalua, when everyone is hitting them. You can even sort solely by the courses with thin fairways to see which players top the list. On such a short course, bombers, who generally are more inaccurate off the tee, will see a boost this week since they’ll be forced to leave their drivers in the bag.

Seven holes measure between 400-450 yards.

Ben Hogan is the only player to win at Colonial in consecutive years.

Justin Rose won in his first appearance at the course last year. Before that, the previous four winners all notched a Top 15 finish at Colonial the year prior.

The cut line has been over par the past five years.

Since 1983, the Horrible Horseshoe has played to a combined score-to-par total of +6.700. In 2018, Hole No. 3 was the third-most difficult on the course (+0.129), No. 4 was ninth (+0.018), and No. 5, as it historically is, was the toughest (+0.291). For some context: 104 bogeys, 15 double bogeys and seven “others” were made at No. 5 against 41 birdies last year.

Jordan Spieth, Danny Lee, Kevin Kisner, Brian Harman and Harris English have the most Strokes Gained: Total over the past five years.

Jordan Spieth, Emiliano Grillo, Ben Crane, Danny Lee, Brian Harman, Bill Haas, Harris English, Vaughn Taylor, Russell Knox, Jimmy Walker, Charley Hoffman, Robert Streb, Shawn Stefanu, Tony Finau and Cameron Triangle, in a minimum of three starts over the past five years, have made the cut every time. Jon Rahm has played each of the past two seasons and hasn’t finished outside the Top 5 in any start.

2019 Charles Schwab Challenge — Targets From Each Range

Francisco Molinari

Accuracy and wedge play? That’s Molinari’s whole thing. You’re even getting a break on his price and ownership because of how poorly he’s putted recently. Now, there is the risk he’s morphed back into old Molinari, who’s elite T2G and couldn’t make a 5-footer to save his life. Because, before his run over the past 12 months, that’s exactly who he used to be. Despite gaining six strokes on approach and over two off the tee, the Italian bled everything back with a poor chipping performance (-1.5 SG: ATG) and a brutal putter (-4.4 SG: PUTT). In fact, that’s two events in a row where he’s dropped exactly -4.4 strokes putting the the field. Molinari does that this week, he’s finished, but we’ve been enough progress with his flat stick, especially on Bentgrass, that he should be able to flip it at Colonial.

Jason Kokrak 

Now the owner of 21 consecutive cuts made, Kokrak just continues to strike the ball like he’s one of the world’s elite, only to watch his short game and putting resemble something you’d see at your local Par 3. For someone considered a bomber, he’s played shorter tracks beatifically all year: T16 Heritage, T2 Valspar, T9 Honda, T18 Desert Classic; and Colonial CC definitely fits in that bucket. He enters the week sitting inside the Top 10 in SG: Ball Striking, Approach, and Par 3 scoring 175-200 yards (3/4 Par 3s this week land in this range) over his past 24 rounds against this field.

Brandt Snedeker

Snedeker’s been slowly getting his irons back into form over the past two months, and he might have found a way to not be a disaster off the tee at Bethpage, of all places. He’s gained strokes tee-to-green in four consecutive events and now returns to his best putting surface. It’s strange, Snedeker gets a lot of publicity over his Poa prowess, but he gains more strokes putting on Bentgrass than any other surfaces.

Other notable names appearing near the top of stat models and the win simulator at FantasyNational.comPaul Casey, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Rory Sabbatini, Jim Furyk, Russell Knox, Byeong-Hun An, Corey Conners

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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2019 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Podcast of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Video award, and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2019 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year). His 17 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.