Jeff’s Hardcore Core- Charles Schwab Challenge

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson May 23, 2022 22:13

Jeff’s Hardcore Core- Charles Schwab Challenge

There is always a post major hangover, not only for the real players, but also us DFS players.  All the build up, huge contests with big prize money, and drama at the end on Sunday make it difficult to get right back to business this week.  It does make it a little easier for us when we get a quality field at a really great course much like we did following The Masters (Harbourtown).  This week it is legendary Colonial and the field is really solid.  I am excited about it even if I do have a little hangover.  Below I talk a lot about what type of player fits well at Colonial because it is one of those courses that there is a clear cut style that does well and has served us well over many years (including in 2015 when I qualified for the FGWC).  Best of luck this week my friends!

Jeff’s Strategy and Core- Charles Schwab Challenge-

I have made this next point four times a year for the last eight years-  Before we get into any strategy, player identification, or anything else, we need to wipe the slate from last week (any tournament following a major championship). As is almost always the case with other major championship venues, Southern Hills was a long, difficult course, and very different than this week’s course, Colonial Country Club.  The wind was a huge factor, the rough longer, and the pressure was greater.  This week is a standard week on the PGA Tour and major championships are not.

If a player did well last week, I will take that as a bonus, but not necessarily indicative of how well they will play this week.  If a guy did poorly, I am going to completely disregard it.  I do not care, it is irrelevant no matter how bad they may have looked.

Here are the key characteristics for Colonial CC- 7,200 yards, Par 70, with smaller and fast bentgrass greens.  Narrow fairways with medium to difficult rough (and tree lined fairways), and difficult scoring.

This is an easy course to identify what style of player we will be targeting and the comp courses we will be using.  This is one of those real tight, tree-lined courses, where accuracy off the tee is so key.  Bombers are really neutralized on Colonial.

The two best comp courses I believe are Harbourtown (RBC Heritage) and Waialae CC (Sony).  I also think TPC Potomac is a reasonable comparison and possibly Copperhead and Accordia.

One thing I always like to do for courses like Colonial is compare driving accuracy to driving distance on our rolling stats tool under the fairways/greens on the scroll down menu  and look for guys who usually struggle in the distance category, but are strong in the accuracy department (also GIR).  It has served me very well to do this over the years and helped identify some guys that get overlooked because they get lapped on longer, more open tracks.

Here is how my FGI Model sets up: 40% Current Form, 35% Key Stats, 10% Vegas, and 15% Course History. Current Form- 10% Last 52 weeks, 50% Last 13 weeks, 25% Last 2 weeks, and 15% Last 1 week.  Stats- 20% SG:T2G, 10% SG:APP, 25% Putting, 15% DA, 13% Prox, 13% BOB%, and 4% SCRAM.

Good putters tend to do well at Colonial over the last several years. Just a quick glance at leaderboards show guys like Spieth, Berger, Kisner, Harman, and last year Kokrak had his best year putting (6th on tour) as well.

Bottom line, own guys who can check the most boxes possible-

Accurate off the tee

Good approach game

Solid Putter

Stays out of trouble/no blow up holes

 

The big question for me is how high is high referring to Jordan Spieth’s ownership this week. Is it going to be 20% or 30%+?  I am just not sure it is going to get up to 30% as there are a ton of other options up in the top tier.  So if it is going to be closer to 20%, is it even worth fading the most consistently good player at Colonial over the last decade?  I came to the conclusion that I might as well just back Jordan here as I typically have done throughout the years.  The ownership discount just doesn’t seem great enough to pivot to somebody else in the top tier.  The fact that Jordan’s putting is the only weakness in his game right now is bizarre.  Over his last 16 rounds he ranks 1st in SG:T2G, 1st in SG:APP, 1st in SG:OTT, 4th in SG:ATG, and 113th in SG:P.  I just don’t understand.  I have a hard time believing he won’t find success putting on very familiar Colonial greens this week and if his tee to green game remains, it could be another auto Top 5.  I am going to own 38-42%

Max Homa continues to pump out quality finishes as he added a T13 to his resume last week at the PGA Championship.  Homa has won on tour three times in the last year and a half and he has missed only one cut in 2022, so he offers a high floor and high ceiling.  Homa has a terrific all around game, with really no weaknesses, but especially good in the approach game.  He has climbed from #35 in the world at the start of the year to #29 now with his play this season and he is one of the more talented players in the field, with the correct skill set to thrive at Colonial.  30-35%

Four for four in made cuts here at Colonial for Abraham Ancer (T52, T58, and T14s each of the last two years).  This course is really tailor made for Ancer’s game. Accurate off the tee (4th on the PGA Tour), a solid putter (77th on the PGA Tour), and he typically loses ground on many courses in the length department off the tee as he only ranks 153rd in driving distance.  That will not matter this week.  He will be able to stay out of the trees and hopefully his approach game will be on point.  His form has been ok this year, but not great having only a couple of Top 10s.  I am relying on the stylistic fit for Ancer this week. 32-35%

I cannot say that Tommy Fleetwood does not scare me anytime I have exposure, but he has not missed a cut since Honda and before that you have to go all the way back to last years PGA Championship.  Super high floor for Tommy, but he has also displayed a high ceiling this year (obviously not a win, but) with a T5 last week, T10 at comp course Harbourtown, and T16 at other comp course Copperhead.  His stats fit everything we are looking for this week and it feels like a good course for him even though we do not have any history to tell us so.  I think the price is a little light and that he should be up in the low $9k range.  It feels like a real nice value that would be a great fit for a balanced line-up, but can also be paired with a top tier player.  30-34%

I am not certain, but I think that might have been a sign last week that Webb Simpson might be heading back into form with a T20 on a course that is not necessarily fit for him.  This week, Colonial is a great fit where his accuracy off the tee and into greens will pay dividends.  He has missed the cut here the last two times, but had a 5th and T3 the two times prior.  Of course he has done well on comp courses like Harbourtown and Waialae.  His more recent stats the more you pair them done are becoming more like we are used to seeing from Webb. I would guess he will get passed up by the majority of the field at this price and I think it is a decent contrarian option.  22-24% might get us real close to double the field and I am going to pull the trigger.

Billy Horschel is having one heck of a year this year with four Top 15 finishes, including a T6 at Phoenix, runner-up at Bay Hill, and T11 at Farmers.  An extremely accurate player off the tee, Horschel ranks 22nd on tour.  He has been consistent in making the cut here at Colonial as well in four straight appearances. Horschel’s putter has been on fire this season and ranks 7th on tour.  It is really the perfect combination at Colonial and this price level is perfect.  34-36%

Davis Riley continues to get it done having posted his third straight Top 15 with a T13 at the PGA Championship.  In the past couple of months he has a runner-up at Copperhead, 5th at Mexico, and T9 at the AT&T Byron Nelson.  No history here at Colonial, but he certainly does the key things well like driving accuracy (25th over his last 16 rounds, 9th in GIR, and 19th in SG:P.  I have no reason to believe he does not keep the momentum going this week at a course that suits him well.  28-30%

A surprise to a lot of people last week, including myself was a T5 from Chris Kirk coming off of a couple of missed cuts.  It has been that kind of year for Kirk as he has demonstrated great upside (T7 at Honda, T5 at API, and T14 at Phoenix), but also a ton of downside (five missed cuts).  Back in 2015 he helped me qualify for the Fantasy Golf World Championship (FGWC) plus about $50k in other winnings  by way of his win here at Colonial, so there are good vibes.  His recent stats are fine ranking 4th in SG:T2G and 24th in SG:APP over his last 24 rounds.  His putter has been cold, which is concerning, but he is generally pretty accurate off the tee.  I really wish he did not post a high finish last week, because that will surely add ownership to him this week and I would have liked him regardless.  Still worth 30-35% which should be 2X the field.

There are a lot of things going for Brian Harman this week.  His course history has been really strong having not finished worse than T31 in any of his last eight appearances, while posting four Top 15s in that stretch.  His form has been good this season having missed only two cuts and recording four Top 15s.  Stylistically he is a good fit as well-being extremely accurate, ranking 9th on tour in driving accuracy this season.  He also ranks 12th in SG:T2G, 31st in SG:APP, and 29th in SG:P over his last 24 rounds.  Everything lines up for Harman to have a great week and the price really surprised me as I pegged him to be in the mid $8k range prior to prices being released.  I also have Harman on my betting card this week. I am going a bit heavier than normal here 35-38%.

A final round 75 derailed a nice PGA Championship for Sebastian Munoz last week, but I am going to overlook that .  Prior to last week Munoz had seven straight Top 35 finishes, including a T3 at the AT&T Byron Nelson.  His most recent stats are equally as terrific ranking 6th in SG:T2G, 19th in SG:APP, and 46th in driving accuracy over his last 16 rounds.  Munoz who played his college golf for North Texas finished T3 here at Colonial last year. 30-32%

I generally only own CT Pan on shorter, narrower courses that really favor accuracy, including when I had a nice outright on him to win at Harbourtown in 2019.  He has a decent track record at Colonial with a T20 in 2018, T3 in 2019, and T32 last year.  He comes in with decent form as well having made five consecutive cuts with his best being a T15 at Wells Fargo his last time out.  He also has a 9th at Riviera this season and T16 at Honda.  He has been more accurate off the tee historically than he has been this year (92nd in DA).  This course is a nice fit for Pan.  28-30%

The fact that he has been a member at Colonial for years will certainly be talked about with Ryan Palmer this week.  I have used this fact the other way and faded him, including in 2015 when everybody loaded up on him when this information was new and he ended up missing the cut.  Since then however his ownership has been in check (3% in 2018, 4% in 2019, 16% in 2020, 8% last year).  I think he probably gets single digit ownership, maybe low teens, but nothing crazy this week.  He does have four Top 10s here over the years, with a T6 in 2019.  His form has been spotty this year to say the least, but he popped with a T5 at the Byron Nelson a couple weeks ago.  Far from a sure thing and incredibly inconsistent, I think there is some upside there to try and capture. 24-26%

Adam’s last name (Long) certainly does not describe his off the tee game (164th in DD).  Rather his name should be Adam Reasonably Accurate (24th on tour last year in DA and 49th this year).  His putter has been hot this season and ranks 17th in SG:P.  He has a T19 and T20 in the last three years and has had some good showings this year, especially lately with a T12 at comp course Harbourtown and T15 in Mexico.  He does not have any Texas ties that I know of, but he has done pretty well in Texas over the past couple of years (T35 at Valero and back to back T11 finishes at the Houston Open). 24-26%

Denny McCarthy was a late entry into the field last week at the PGA Championship and despite the fact that his game probably did not fit Southern Hills all that well, he still managed a made cut and T48.  This has been a really good year for McCathy as he has missed only one cut all year and has a T12 at Pebble Beach, T6 at AMEX, T18 at Valero, and T25 at Wells Fargo.  He has the accuracy off the tee (32nd in DA on tour) and putter (5th in SG:P) that I am looking for.  No success here in his three appearances, but he is playing much better this year than in the past. He is one of my favorite low dollar plays.  24-26%

I try not to make a habit of owning Brendon Todd, but this is one of the few courses all year that I will make an exception.  Accurate off the tee (8th in DA) and a great putter (10th in DA) fits the description of a guy who could succeed this week. Throw in the fact that he finished T8 here last year, had his best finish this year at a Texas course (T8 at Valero), and played pretty well at comp course Harbourtown (T26) a few weeks ago, and he seems like a reasonable play for the price this week. 20-22%

It makes sense that Kevin Streelman has been pretty solid at Colonial over the years (T18 in 2017, T31 in 2019, and T20 last year).  He is accurate off the tee (6th in DA).  He has had a couple of nice finishes this year including a T7 at Copperhead and T18 at Valero.  His most recent stats are pretty good across the board without being amazing or terrible anywhere.  We should be able to get a Top 25 out of him this week. 20-22%

Fire up some Lucas Glover for me this week.  He finished T23 here two years ago and T8 last year.  Accurate off the tee (14th in DA) and excellent in the approach game (42nd), his putter is a disaster as we know.  The hope here is that he sticks it so close to the pin that even he can make some putts.  The guy is all over the place and has been for a long time, but I can own some shares at this price. 20-22%

A couple straight Top 25s for Austin Smotherman (ATT Byron Nelson and Wells Fargo) and now four straight made cuts.  Over his last 24 rounds he ranks 37th in SG:T2G, 44th in SG:P, 15th in SG:APP, and ranks 52nd on tour in driving accuracy.  Solid stats and form for a guy priced at $6,300. 15-17%

 

Spieth $10,400

Homa $9,400

Ancer $9,300

Fleetwood $8,800

Simpson $8,700

Horschel $8,500

Riley $8,400

Kirk $7,900

Harman $7,800

Munoz $7,700

Pan $7,500

Palmer $7,300

Long $6,900

McCarthy $6,800

Streelman $6,800

Glover $6,700

Smotherman $6,300

 

A few other low dollar/low owned guys I will own at 10% or less:

Rose $7,700

Mcnealy $7,500

Lipsky $7,000

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson May 23, 2022 22:13

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