The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
We’re a week removed from another major, but we’ve actually got a nice field for the Charles Schwab Challenge, so let’s dive in.
As always, I backtested various metrics in our PGA Models to find out those that have been the most valuable at Colonial Country Club. Per our Trends tool, here’s how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done at this course (in Plus/Minus valuation).
Historically, this course has yielded averages of 48.75 DraftKings points and a -1.44 Plus/Minus with a 53.1% Consistency Rating to the field.
I’m listing only those metrics that tested positively relative to the baseline:
- Recent Greens in Regulation: +8.02
- Recent Par-4 Scoring: +7.40
- Recent Birdies: +6.97
- Recent Driving Accuracy: +6.39
- Long-Term Birdies: +6.33
- Long-Term Putts Per Round: +4.67
- Long-Term Par-4 Scoring: 4.40
- Long-Term Driving Accuracy: +4.08
- Recent Par-3 Scoring: +3.70
- Long-Term Par-5 Scoring: +3.29
- Recent Par-5 Scoring: +3.11
- Long-Term Par-3 Scoring: +2.69
- Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: +1.73
- Recent Adjusted Round Score: +1.57
- Long-Term Scrambling: +1.55
- Recent Putts Per Round: +0.86
- Recent Missed Cuts: +0.54
Colonial Country club checks in as a par-70, 7,209-yard course. It’s one of the shorter courses on tour, so it’s no surprise that driving distance doesn’t appear on the list that resulted in a positive Plus/Minus for golfers.
This course also features small greens, which makes greens in regulation and Strokes Gained: Approach important this week. Par-5 scoring made the list, but with only two of them on the course, I’ll mostly be focusing on par-4 scoring. Driving accuracy will be another metric to focus on as players find the fairway here nearly 5% lower than the average PGA Tour event, per Fantasy National.
Key metrics to focus on: Par-4 scoring, greens in regulation, birdies per tournament, Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
Best DFS Plays for Charles Schwab Challenge
$10,000 and Above (DraftKings Pricing)
Justin Rose ($11,400 DraftKings; $12,200 FanDuel) grades out among the best in the entire field. His 67.9 LT Adj Rd Score and -2.2 adjusted strokes on par 4s both lead the field, and he ranks second in Strokes Gained: Approach over his past 50 rounds. In fact, his irons have been dialed in all season as he only lost strokes on approach at the Desert Classic.
That said, Rose won’t make my cash game teams at his price, but I’ll have some exposure in tournaments.
The same can be said for John Rahm ($11,200 DraftKings; $12,000 FanDuel) as I mostly just want tournament exposure to him. He ranks second in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, and he’s averaging -1.7 adjusted strokes on par 4s over the past 75 weeks. Rahm struggled off the tee at the PGA Championship, where he lost -1.4 strokes, but otherwise, he hasn’t lost strokes off-the-tee since 2017 at the Memorial Tournament.
Rickie Fowler ($10,500 DraftKings; $11,800 FanDuel) is perhaps my favorite play in this range who is at a bit of a discount compared to Rose and Rahm. His -1.6 adjusted strokes on par 4s is comparable to them, but he also ranks third in par-4 efficiency on par 4s that are 400-450 yards in length. There are seven par 4s on this course from those distances.
This course should set up perfectly for Francesco Molinari ($9,800 DraftKings; $11,600 FanDuel). He’s been excellent over his past 50 rounds, ranking fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach and 12th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee.
While Molinari has dominated from tee-to-green, his putter has been his kryptonite of late, averaging 28 Putts Per Round (PPR) at Heritage (missed cut) and a whopping 31 PPR at the PGA Championship (48th). But you can’t truly get a full PGA DFS experience unless you’re watching one of your golfers miss makable putts every hole.
Tony Finau ($9,600 DraftKings; $11,200 FanDuel) is pretty much always in consideration for me with his 68.4 LT Adj Rd Score. Over his past 50 rounds, he ranks 12th in Strokes Gained: Approach and ninth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. While his driving accuracy is poor, he likely won’t be taking out the driver as much on this course, which should improve those accuracy numbers.
Paul Casey’s ($9,300 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel) approach game has been on point, ranking fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach, but his putter has been as bad it gets over that same span, ranking 101st in Strokes Gained: Putting. However, as usual, I’ll look past the putting woes for a guy who is an excellent ball striker.
On the surface, Emiliano Grillo’s ($8,700 DraftKings; $10,000 FanDuel) +1.0 adjusted strokes on par 4s looks bad, but he ranks fifth in par-4 efficiency on par 4s from 400-450 yards. He should at least be in the fairway with his excellent 69.8% LT Driving Accuracy (LT DA), which should bode well for a guy who ranks 18th in Strokes Gained: Approach.
Scott Piercy ($8,600 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) is another guy who excels at getting the ball in the fairway, evidenced by his 68.2% LT DA, and 32nd rank in fairways gained (Fantasy National). Additionally, his -0.5 adjusted strokes on par 4s is the seventh-best mark in the field, and he’s been really consistent this season, only missing the cut at the Honda Classic.
Joel Dahmen ($8,200 DraftKings; $9,600 FanDuel) has been playing great of late, sporting a 68.2 recent Adj Rd Score. He also hasn’t missed a cut since the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and has four top-20 finishes to his name since.
Zach Johnson ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) hasn’t been great this year, but he’s gained strokes on approach in all but one start this year. I’m usually more willing to take a shot with ZJ on a course where distance doesn’t matter all that much. ZJ is a decent bargain with his 12th-ranked LT Adj Rd Score.
Using Tyrrell Hatton ($7,800 DraftKings; $9,600 FanDuel) almost never works out for me, buuuut I’m gonna go with my instincts on this one. I like him as a tournament play as a golfer who has the 12th-best LT Adj Rd Score but is priced as the No. 24 golfer. When seeking tournament plays, one of my preferred methods is finding golfers with discrepancies between their price and LT Adj Rd Score.
Sung-jae Im ($7,700 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel) isn’t in the best form of late, but he should be a good fit for the course with his 67.6% LT DA and -0.5 adjusted strokes on par 4s. His recent approach game is slightly concerning as he’s lost strokes on approach three of his past four tournaments, but over his past 50 rounds, he still ranks 25th in the field.
Byeong-Hun An ($7,500 DraftKings; $9,100 FanDuel) is one of the best values in the field. He owns the 12th-best LT Adj Rd Score, but he’s priced as the No. 32 golfer. His putter has been dreadful, but it’s hard not to like a guy who ranks seventh in Strokes Gained: Approach and first in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Jhonattan Vegas ($7,300 DraftKings; $8,800 FanDuel) and Abraham Ancer ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,300 FanDuel) have Top-10 odds that rank inside the top 24, but they’re both priced outside the top 29. Historically, golfers with comparable salaries and Top-10 odds have averaged a +6.78 DraftKings Plus/Minus, per our Trends tool.
$6,900 and Below
Kevin Streelman ($6,900 DraftKings; $8,400 FanDuel) should only be used as a tournament filler if you need a punt option. He’s priced outside the top 50, but his -0.2 adjusted strokes on par 4s ranks inside the top 20, and his Top-10 odds are the among the best among golfers priced below $7,000. Golfers with comparable odds and salaries have averaged a +4.68 Plus/Minus.
Denny McCarthy’s ($6,600 DraftKings; $8,000 FanDuel) 28% missed-cut rate is among the lowest rates in this price range. I think he’s too risky for cash games, but he’s priced relatively cheap for someone who ranks 27th in total strokes gained over their past 50 rounds.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more golf coverage!
Note: Strokes Gained and efficiency data via Fantasy National.
Pictured above: Paul Casey
Photo credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports