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Charles Schwab Challenge 2024: My betting strategy focuses on understanding a new-look Colonial

Editor's Note: This article is published in partnership with Read The Line, a Golf Digest content partner.


Andrew Redington

If you read the first two bullet points from my betting preview last week from Valhalla, you would have noticed two names: Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele. On-site notes about the championship really matter when it comes to beating the books. Sources like Read The Line provide insights that will give you a considerable edge.

From Kentucky to Colonial, let’s take another step forward on the schedule and get you ready for the Charles Schwab Challenge. Colonial Country Club is our host venue for the 78th time. Although history may not be a help this week, so let’s dive into the weekly details.

Watch the below video for our favorite bets and players we're fading for the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge:

1. The field is set at 132 golfers. The top 65 and ties will make the weekend. That means approximately half of the field or more will make the cut. The average winner’s pre-tournament odds over the last decade are 41-1. I would take some calculated risks with my betting card in the middle of the board. My pick for Golf Digest's weekly column with our experts' best bets was Tom Hoge (50-1).

2. The scoring situation at Valhalla has caused too much controversy. Those 20-under talking heads will be happier this week. (Notice I didn’t say happy.) The average winning score over the last five years at Colonial is 12-under par. Of note, the average cutline in that same time is +0.6. That’s a tight squeeze to fit 70 players in with 36 holes left. Pay attention to live betting over the weekend.

3. I alluded to this in the opening, but Colonial has significantly changed. Golf course architect Gil Hanse led a major restoration of the layout. All 18 green complexes have been updated. Part of what Hanse’s team did was restoring the ground game at Colonial. Aerial architecture tends to dominate PGA Tour venues. Another term for this is target golf; hit it high and land it at the target. When Gil gave the greens a facelift, he took away some of those modern edges and worked with the turf. In doing so he will challenge the players on approach and around the green. Handicap your card accordingly. To be specific, strokes gained/around the greens was not a factor to consider in recent years, it will be in 2024.

4. We’ve got a wet golf course again. The rain I experienced up in Kentucky came from Texas. The Dallas region has received 3.5 inches of rain in May and more wet weather is predicted for the week. The greens are brand new, so they will be firm unless we see a flood, but the remainder of the layout should play soft like Valhalla.

5. The wet weather has grown the rough. Keeping the ball in play off the tee will be a massive priority. Players will be forced to show patience and lay up at times. This not only makes approach play more important, but it increases the advantage players like Collin Morikawa, Nate Lashley and Ryan Moore have. These three lead the good drives gained statistic. It is a measure of when you do miss the fairway, who tends to miss the least. That’s a very indicative analytic around positional driving courses.

6. Forty-five percent of the approach shots this week will be played in 125- to 175-yard range. The best approach players in the field other than Scottie Scheffler are Akshay Bhatia, Ryan Moore, Adam Svensson and Hoge. With brand new putting surfaces, hitting your approach numbers will be more critical than before.

7. Twelve par 4s populate the scorecard. The past 10 winners have gained an average of nine strokes on the field playing the two-shotters. The best par-4 players to watch (after Scottie again) are Lucas Glover, Sepp Straka and Justin Lower. Par-70 scoring requires making sub-par scores on these 4s. Colonial has a varied bunch of them and that’s one reason why this skill is so crucial to contending.

8. I strongly recommend you spend time looking through the best putters. The last five winners gained an average of six strokes on the field with their flatstick. That is the largest average gain of any major category. Consider the restoration changes, and it will favor the best putters even more. These greens are brand new for every player in the field. Good putters are excellent green readers and Denny McCarthy, Harris English and Thomas Detry lead the SG/putting list in Ft. Worth. Their advantage on the greens will be magnified this week.

9. Scrambling for par with firm greens will be an important aspect of getting into contention. The average green size at Colonial is 5,000 sq/ft., which is small by PGA Tour standards. Pay attention to Scottie (yes, he’s ranked first again), McCarthy, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Aaron Rai. These are the best bogey avoidance players.

10. Finally, it's always worth looking at who performs best in Texas when we're in the Lone Star State. Over the past three months, here are the best: 1. Scheffler again, 2. Tony Finau, 3. Jordan Spieth, 4. Akshay Bhatia, 5. Matt Kuchar.

To gain a better perspective of who the Golf Digest expert panel is picking, use the link. I mentioned my pick earlier, Tom Hoge. Outside of the fact he went to TCU (located in Ft. Worth), his caddie is a multiple club champion at Colonial. If anyone has an advantage around the new course, it’s him!

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Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor and content partner with Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith's winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.