Horses for Courses: Charles Schwab Challenge
June 09, 2020
By Mike Glasscott, PGATOUR.COM
- Kevin Na is 27-under in his last two visits to Colonial Country Club. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
I'm now fluent in Spanish. I've built a canoe out of matchsticks. I taught school most mornings.
Enough is enough. Back to work!
The 91-day gap between the time the PGA TOUR season was suspended and resuming Thursday represents the TOUR’s longest unscheduled break from competition since World War II (105 days from September 3, 1943 to December 17, 1943).— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) June 8, 2020
Like you, I'm ready for the Return To Golf and the oldest non-major venue is a fitting way to resume the abbreviated 2020 PGA TOUR campaign. Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth has hosted a TOUR event annually since 1946 and that streak continues this week.
"Hogan's Alley" named after Ben Hogan and his five victories here will welcome 148 entrants, of which 101 have previously won on TOUR. Add the Official World Golf Ranking's top five players and 15 of the top 20 and it's time to hold on with both hands to restart the season.
Defending champion Kevin Na looks to join Hogan as the only player to defend as a purse of $7.5 million and a winner's share of $1.35 million plus 500 FedExCup points await the champion.
Colonial plays to Par-70 and meanders to 7,209 yards. Signature dog-legs curving both directions led Hogan to remark, "A straight ball will get you in more trouble at Colonial than any course I know." Without the backstop of galleries or grandstands, attacking below-average sized Bentgrass greens with acumen will help to sort out the winner. The good news is the gusty Texas winds do NOT appear to be on the cards so birdies will increase unless rust prevails while bogeys and rounds over-par never translate here.
No fans? No roars?
No problem. Give us golf.
2019: Kevin Na (-13, 267)
Picked up his third top-10 payday in his last four starts as he won for the third time on TOUR. ... Led by two after 54 holes before winning comfortably by four as the only player double digits under par. ... Fired 62 in Round 2 after opening with 62 and closing with 61 for solo fourth in 2018. ... One of six to hold the course record (61). ... 27-under the last two years. ... Becomes the third consecutive winner to finish first or second in GIR and in his 30s. ... Fourth consecutive winner to lead or co-lead in bogey avoidance and Par-4 scoring.
Notables in the field this week: Tony Finau (solo second) hit 3 of 14 rounds but 16 of 18 GIR to post 64 and lead after Round 1. ... CT Pan (T3), a former winner at Harbour Town (hint, hint) joined Colonial member Ryan Palmer (T6) as the only two players to post all four rounds in the 60s. ... Jordan Spieth made over 480 feet of putts but finished T8.
2018: Justin Rose (-20, 260)
Missed tying Zach Johnson's tournament record by a shot as he defeated Brooks Koepka by three shots. ... Led Emiliano Grillo (solo third) by a shot after Friday and by four after 54 holes. ... Benign wind, similar to this year's forecast as of Monday, allowed for excellent scoring conditions. ... Of the last six winners, five were T11 or better in Putting: Birdie or Better Percentage (4th). ... Led the field in GIR, SG: Approach the Green, SG: Tee to Green and T1 Bogey Avoidance. ... First time playing since 2010 (sixth overall).
Notables in the field this week: Koepka played his final three rounds 17-under, which included a pair of 63s. ... Na (fourth) opened with 62 and closed with 61 and was beaten by six shots. ... Louis Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm both closed 64-68 to share fifth.
2017: Kevin Kisner (-10, 270)
Ran down 54-hole leader Webb Simpson (fifth) as his final round 66 was good enough to win by one. ... Led the field in Ball-Striking and Bogey Avoidance plus T1 Driving Accuracy. ... Placed second in GIR and third in SG: Putting. ... None of the last six winners finished the week in the top 10 in driving distance (T49). ... Entered the week MC-T56.
Notables in the field this week: Debutant Jon Rahm and 2015 champ Jordan Spieth made up two thirds of the share of second. ... Dallas resident Danny Lee (T6) posted 64 in Round 2 to join Kisner on the 36-hole lead. ... Sharing T7 with Brian Harman and Scott Piercy was Steve Stricker, who closed with 63. ... JT Poston shot 65 to co-lead after Round 1.
Key stat leaders
Top golfers in each statistic on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.
* - previous top 10 finish here since 2015 or previous champion
1 Rory McIlroy (debut)
2 *Webb Simpson
4 Charles Howell III
6 *Matt Kuchar
7 *Scott Piercy
8 *Jim Furyk
9 Lucas Glover
10 Vaughn Taylor
11 *Brooks Koepka
12 Xander Schauffele
13 Matt Jones
14 Sungjae Im
16 Justin Thomas (debut)
17 Bud Cauley
19 Denny McCarthy
22 *Rory Sabbatini
24 *Jon Rahm
25 Patrick Reed
Strokes Gained: Approach the Green
2 Justin Thomas
3 *Emiliano Grillo
6 Jason Kokrak
7 *Jim Furyk
9 Corey Conners
11 *Brooks Koepka
12 Rory McIlroy
13 Chez Reavie
14 *Webb Simpson
15 Talor Gooch
16 Ryan Moore
17 *Matt Kuchar
18 *Russell Knox
19 Keegan Bradley
20 Gary Woodland
21 *Sergio Garcia (2001 champ on debut)
21 *Justin Rose
24 Nate Lashley
25 *Joaquin Niemann
26 Xander Schauffele
27 Kevin Streelman
Putting: Birdie or Better Percentage
1 Rory McIlroy
2 *Jordan Spieth
3 Justin Thomas
5 Gary Woodland
6 Denny McCarthy
8 Wyndham Clark
9 *Justin Rose
10 Bryson DeChambeau
11 Si Woo Kim
12 *Jon Rahm
13 *Andrew Putnam
16 Rafa Cabrera Bello
17 Brooks Koepka
19 Dustin Johnson
20 Troy Merritt
21 Sepp Straka
22 *Ryan Palmer
23 Vaughn Taylor
24 Bud Cauley
25 Xander Schauffele
Jordan Spieth: A pair of runner-up finishes sandwiched his 2016 win; posted 25 of 28 rounds here in the red; never MC in seven trips with six paydays T14 or better.
Kevin Na: He's 27-under in his last two visits with rounds of 61 (T-course record), 62 and 62 included; win, fourth, T42 and T10 in his last four visits; 11 of 13 lifetime.
Ryan Palmer: Colonial member makes start No. 17 and looks to add to his four top-10s in his last eight starts.
Brooks Koepka: One start posted 17-under, and didn't win.
Jon Rahm: Finished T2 on debut and followed with T5 in 2018; MC last year.
Andrew Putnam: T20 on debut followed by T3 last year. Another quick study.
Charley Hoffman: Perfect from 11 visits and has posted 63 each of the last two years.
Jim Furyk: Never won in 22 previous but cashed 17 times for seven top 10s and 10 top 25s; was just two off the 54-hole lead last year before T13.
Rory Sabbatini: Another who points to the experience angle will make start No. 20; 2007 champ has four additional top 10s including T6 last year.
Chris Kirk: Never missed in nine tries.
Justin Rose: Perfect six from six.
Tony Finau: T34 or better in all four.
Harris English: T30 or better in five from six attempts.
Zach Johnson: Winner in 2010 and 2012 is 20-over on his last three visits.
Chez Reavie: MC in three of four.
Ryan Moore: No top 25 in eight starts.