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Jordan Spieth each way in the outright at +1200 with Caesars Sportsbook
Harold Varner II top 10 at +500 and to win at +5500 with bet365
Stewart Cink to beat CT Pan in a matchbet at +105 with DraftKings
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After a slightly scruffy schedule between the Masters and the PGA Championship, the PGA Tour is now full-on until the end of August.
You only have to look at the field for this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge to get a feel of that.
Jon Rahm was the clear favorite at the Mexico Open just a few weeks ago and he had very little competition.
But this week a tournament past champion and member of Team USA’s last Ryder Cup team – Daniel Berger – is ranked 10th in the betting.
It is testimony to both the truth that the season is in full swing and also that the tournament and course are well-respected.
The tournament has always been popular with Texan golfers – it takes place in Forth Worth – but all golfers are aware that the great Ben Hogan has a long and strong alliance with the event and host course.
Speaking of which, it’s a distinct test so let’s look more closely at it.
The first thing to note is that the man who designed Colonial was also responsible for last week’s PGA Championship host course Southern Hills.
Perry Maxwell liked creating holes with dog legs and small greens and, although he didn’t play too well last week, Colonial course expert Jordan Spieth thought the two layouts had a lot in common.
Both courses are also par-70s with bent grass on the greens and Bermuda grass on the fairways and in the rough.
Colonial won’t be anywhere near as tough as Southern Hills, however.
That said, it is tighter off the tee, but once players find the fairways they can take dead aim and if they find the small greens they will be guaranteed birdie opportunities.
Thomas calls it, “old-school where you put the ball in play then it’s all about the second shot, hitting to small greens with pure bent greens.”
Jordan Spieth has always played well in his home state of Texas. In fact, he has 18 top 20s from his last 30 starts there.
But he is dynamite at Colonial with nine starts and eight top 15 finishes. He’s finished second three times and was the winner in 2016.
His scoring average is 67.74 and is even better in round one at 66.11.
It’s notable that he putts brilliantly on the greens, averaging a gain of over seven strokes on the field in his last three starts.
He expected a lot of himself last week when trying to complete the career Grand Slam with victory in the PGA Championship off the back of great form.
In fact, of course, it was his close friend Justin Thomas who lifted the trophy
That might provoke Spieth and let’s not forget his previous two starts reaped a win and a second.
Take him each way in the outright at +1200 with Caesars, an industry best price and paying out eight places.
At first glance Harold Varner II has played Colonial three times and achieved little (he is yet to finish in the top 15).
True, he missed the cut on debut but in 2020 he was sharing the lead after 18 holes and ahead by one after 36. He was still just two back one round later before a Sunday 72 saw him fall back into T19th.
Last year he got off to a slow start and made a slack finish, but in-between he carded 64-67.
Winners at Colonial tend to excel when hitting Greens in Regulation – something Varner III did when first for that category in 2020.
They also have excellent Strokes Gained Approach and Tee to Green numbers; Varner III has had those both in 2020 and 2021.
In the last two years, he has also found the secret to contending at Harbour Town, which is a track that tests in much the same way as Colonial.
He was second in 2021 and third this year, when the solo third round leader.
He is getting closer and closer to a first PGA Tour win, and an examination like this week’s looks like the one he is most likely to pass ahead of the rest.
Take him to make the top 10 at +500 and to win at +5500 with bet365.
Talk of Cink and Pan will make some wonder if I’ve turned into a plumber but, in reality, it’s Stewart Cink and CT Pan, who have been paired this week by DraftKings.
The American is the underdog but that seems a little wrong given that he leads the head-to-head count 12-7 since the start of January 2021, while in Texas Cink leads 4-2.
They share the honors at Colonial (1-1) but Cink hasn’t played it in a long while.
He has landed 12 top 30s in 18 starts there – a strike rate of 66%.
Pan has two in five starts – a strike rate of 40%.
Cink can win again at +105 with DraftKings
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|The Charles Schwab Challenge Information|
|Tournament||The Charles Schwab Challenge|
|Location||Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas|
|Time||Thursday, May 26 – Sunday, May 29|
|How to watch||Thursday & Friday 4pm-7pm ET (Golf Channel), Saturday 2pm-5.30pm ET (Golf Channel) 5.30pm-7pm ET (CBS) & Sunday 1pm-2pm ET (Golf Channel), 2pm-6.30pm ET (CBS). And all four days on Sky Sports.|
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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