Charles Schwab Challenge picks 2022: Can our experts make it two wins in a row?
Our expert panel FINALLY hit another winner last week at the PGA Championship. Brandon Gdula hit on Justin Thomas at 16-1 for his second correct outright pick of the season (along with Viktor Hovland, 19-1, at Mayakoba). Shoutout to Brandon for making us all look smart.
Now, we look to make it back-to-back weeks, and we feel good about our chances at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club. Our own Stephen Hennessey was on Jason Kokrak here a year ago (just ask him, he’ll tell you), so we’d like to think we have a feel for this event.
The field, as of now, remains pretty strong. Bryson DeChambeau withdrew on Tuesday, though that was expected based off last week’s WD. But Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris and Viktor Hovland will all be in attendance in Fort Worth, which is an extremely strong group of names for a week after a major.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge.
Charles Schwab Challenge picks 2022: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Abraham Ancer (40-1, Bet365) — Ancer played really well at Southern Hills, proving his ball-striking is in a great spot. Seems like he’s healthy, and he provides value at this price … it’s only a matter of time before he adds a second PGA Tour victory—and on a shorter course, he’ll have a great chance to do so.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Daniel Berger (35-1, DraftKings) — Small greens on a par 70 with short par 4s? That’s Berger’s jam. He won this event in its strongest field ever in 2020, the first event out of the COVID break, and is setting up well for another victory in Fort Worth. He’s fresh off a disappointing effort at Southern Hills (in the bad wave), but no one should be too concerned about that. Colonial is a much better fit for Berger’s game.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Viktor Hovland (19-1, FanDuel) — Hovland sets up well at a course that doesn’t emphasize around-the-green play. He’s one of the best ball-strikers on tour, and may in fact be the best ball-striker in the field over the past year. He’s due for positive putting regression, as well, based on his distance splits.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Max Homa (25-1 DraftKings) — Homa won his first start of the season and he hasn’t looked back since. In those 55 rounds, he’s gained 58.85 strokes combined off-the-tee and on approach. That makes him the fifth best ball-striker in this field during that stretch, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. That has resulted in two wins and six more top-20 finishes.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Harold Varner III (55-1, DraftKings) — HV3 is amidst a fantastic string of iron play, gaining 3.9 strokes on approach last week at the PGA and 7.6 on approach at the RBC Heritage, where he entered the final round with the lead. HV3 was the first-round leader here in 2020, and he currently leads the field in par-3 scoring on par 3s from 175-200 yards. Three of four par 3s here are in that yard range … so if he keeps striking the ball like that, he really just needs an OK putting week and he’ll contend again.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Webb Simpson (40-1, DraftKings) — I feel like I’m jumping back on the Webb train a few weeks early here, but I can’t resist. He’s still finding his groove post-neck injury, and he hasn’t had a top 10 to speak of since the fall, but I saw enough on Saturday at Southern Hills to roll the dice on him at Colonial.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jordan Spieth (12-1, DraftKings) — Spieth has a win and a runner-up finish in his last three events so it’s not surprising to see that he ranks first for Opportunities Gained over the last two months. He also ranks fourth in FanShare’s course-suitability ranking this week and first for SG/total at Colonial.
Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel had another strong season in 2020-’21, correctly predicting 14 winners in the last 28 events of the year. We’ve had a nice season, too, with Christopher Powers nailing Scottie Scheffler’s win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at 29-1 and then backing it up with Joaquin Niemann at 60-1 to win at Riviera. A few weeks earlier, Pat Mayo correctly predicted Luke List’s victory at Torrey Pines at 70-1. Rick Gehman also hit Sam Burns (16-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship in the fall, as well as Viktor Hovland (19-1) at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Brandon Gdula also hit on Hovland at Mayakoba—then followed it up with Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship. Stephen Hennessey also cashed on Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) at the Zozo Championship.
Listen to Golf Digest's weekly betting podcast, "Be Right," (above) where we interview the industry's leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups. And be sure to subscribe to "Be Right" wherever you get your podcasts!
Charles Schwab Challenge picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Brian Harman (50-1, DraftKings) — On a short course, Brian Harman is so dangerous. There’s no weakness in his game—and that’s really the test that Colonial offers: Hit the ball well into these smaller greens, and get the flat stick rolling. And the former Georgia Bulldog can do just that.
Mayo: Kevin Na (35-1, DraftKings) — Na’s gained 4.77 SG/approach over his past three starts and hasn’t gone absolutely nuclear on the greens in a while. With Bentgrass being his most productive surface, and at a course where distance is mitigated, he’s the perfect player to add another plaid jacket to his closet. At Colonial in his career, he has a win and three other top-15 finishes.
Gdula: Maverick McNealy (75-1, FanDuel) — McNealy’s wedge play can hold him back, and I’m okay overlooking that this week, based on how Colonial can play. McNealy’s got a great game otherwise and has upside potential with the ball-striking and putting, statistically.
Gehman: J.T. Poston (200-1, DraftKings) — Poston certainly qualifies as a flier, but one with plenty of upside. His last four starts have resulted in two missed cuts and two top-10 finishes. Those results look similar to his last four trips to Colonial – two missed cuts and two top 20s. He will rely heavily on his putter but he’s proving he has the ability to pop on to the first page of the leaderboard.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Nate Lashley (200-1, DraftKings) — There’s only one player in this field who is top 15 in par-4 scoring between 400-450 yards (there are nine holes that are in that range or very close to that range) and par-3 scoring between 175-200 yards, per Fantasy National. I bet you wouldn’t guess it’d be Nate Lashley. Nasty Nate has five top-20 finishes in his past seven starts, so his game is trending to be in a great place for his second PGA Tour win.
Powers, Golf Digest: Stewart Cink (130-1, DraftKings) — Stealing this pick from my good friend Travis Fulton, who sold me on “Kitchen” on his podcast this week. Cink sort of fell off the map following his Harbour Town win last year, but he’s quietly recaptured some of that form of late. In five starts since the Players, Cink has made four of five cuts with a seventh-place finish at Valspar and a ninth-place finish at Wells Fargo. At the PGA at Southern Hills, he finished inside the top 25, gaining strokes in every area except around-the-green, which is one of the least important statistics at Colonial. Plus, one of the best comp courses to Colonial is Harbour Town, where Cink has three wins.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Kevin Na (35-1, DraftKings) — Na comes into this event ranked 12th for SG/total over the last two months and eighth for Opps. Gained. He also ranks ninth in FanShare’s course-suitability ranking this week. Not only does Na have a victory here, he also has a fourth and a 10th-place finish.
Charles Schwab Challenge picks 2022: Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)
Caddie: Justin Thomas (8-1, DraftKings) — Coming off the high of last week, it will be a huge ask for him to be clicking on all cylinders and defeat a really good field.
Mayo: Max Homa (25-1, DraftKings) — I just really don’t like his odds. Homa is priced far too close to the elite players in this field rather than the large group behind him. He should be with that group behind him.
Gdula: Tony Finau (32-1, FanDuel) — Though Finau’s ball-striking remains strong, it’s hard to overstate how bad the putter is right now. He’s very reliant on long-range putts, and the underlying data is really worrisome for his strokes gained upside in that department. He’s made six straight cuts at Colonial, but just one result was a top 15.
Gehman: Billy Horschel (35-1, DraftKings) — I’m a fan of Horschel but not at this price. It’s clear that he’s the “best of the rest” and sportsbooks just have to assign odds to him that are not necessarily reflective of his true odds to win the tournament. Horschel has made four trips to this event, making the cut in all of them but only cracking the top 30 once.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Max Homa (25-1 DraftKings) — I’m with Mayo … there’s not a world in which I’m betting Homa at these low odds. (Sorry, Rick!)
Powers, Golf Digest: Mito Pereira (33-1, BetRivers) — Because he’s such a statistical darling, some folks might ride with Mito again this week. I think Mito will win on the PGA Tour soon, but it won’t be this week. Too much of an emotional hurdle to overcome that quickly.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Sam Burns (30-1, DraftKings) — This course just does not suit Burns’ game. He ranks fifth-to-last in the FanShare Sports course-suitability ranking this week, and his previous two visits to Colonial have resulted in just a 31st-place finish and a MC. One of the reasons he fairs so poorly here is his poor around-the-green game … and success at Colonial demands a great short game.
Charles Schwab Challenge picks 2022: Matchups
Caddie: Jordan Spieth (-139) over Collin Morikawa (Bet365) — You cannot bet against Spieth at Colonial, where he has a win, three runners-up and three other top-10s.
Mayo: Abraham Ancer (-110) over Webb Simpson (DraftKings) — Everyone is ready to jump on Webb after seeing a flash last week … I get it, but I’ll side with Ancer on a course where Webb has seen his share of struggles in recent years after crushing the course the first few times out.
Gdula: Max Homa (-112) over Daniel Berger (FanDuel) — Homa’s on fire right now and is doing it in a repeatable way. The driver and irons are working, and so is the putter. Berger should bounce back from a disaster last week, yet his putting splits are honestly really bad.
Gehman: Viktor Hovland (-110) over Will Zalatoris (DraftKings) — Zalatoris will need to rebound after an emotional playoff loss last week but he’s going to run into a very difficult match-up here versus Hovland. Viktor should be able to lean on his strengths, ball-striking, to get around this tree-lined course. His biggest deficiency, around-the-green play, is mitigated at Colonial. In fact, Jason Kokrak lost over two strokes around-the-green last year in his victory.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Webb Simpson (+120) over Tony Finau (FanDuel) — Finau has the runner-up to Kevin Na at Colonial, but his recent form is poor. Webb is coming off that phenomenal 65 at the PGA Championship, and he’s dangerous on a shorter par 70 … so these odds are a no-brainer for me.
Powers, Golf Digest: Ryan Palmer (+100) over Maverick McNealy (DraftKings) — As much as I love McNealy and the “small greens” narrative, he’s not a very accurate driver of the ball and that’s important in the tight driving corridors at Colonial. Palmer, a member at Colonial, obviously knows the place a little better and is just two weeks removed from having a legitimate chance at winning the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jordan Spieth (-150) over Sam Burns (Betfair) — As you can see above, Spieth is my pick to win this week, and Burns is my fade of the week so I was delighted to see Betfair’s price in this matchup.
Matchup Results from the PGA Championship: Gdula: 1 for 1 (Homa (-105) over Finau); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Thomas (-120) over Collin Morikawa); Powers: 1 for 1 (Thomas (+100) over McIlroy); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Young (-110) over Bradley); Caddie: 0 for 1; Mayo 0 for 1; Gehman: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 20-5-4 (up 14.28 units); Caddie: 17-11-2 (up 5.1 units); Powers: 16-11-3 (up 4.76 units); Alldrick: 17-12-1 (up 2.61 units); Gdula: 14-16-0 (down 2.89 units); Gehman: 12-14-4 (down 2.99 units); Hennessey: 14-15-1 (down 4.73 units)
Charles Schwab Challenge picks 2022: Top 10s
Caddie: Justin Rose (+500, Bet365) — Rose proved his swing is in a good place with a 13th-place finish at Southern Hills, and now he comes to a venue where he owns a win and a third-place finish last year, when his game was in a worse place.
Mayo: Abraham Ancer (+350, DraftKings) — The driving has been fine, the approaches have been inconsistent but not devastating, but the chipping, wow. Much is made about Viktor Hovland’s around-the-green woes, but Ancer has legitimately chipped himself out of almost every event this year. Then, at the most difficult course of the season, Ancer finally looks like himself again at Southern Hills. Go figure. He gained over eight strokes ball-striking and lost minimally around the greens. Since SG/around the green is devalued at Colonial, it’s a perfect storm for Ancer.
Gdula: Tommy Fleetwood (+500, FanDuel) — Fleetwood isn’t a golfer I target as much as some others do, but the ball-striking is trending up in a big way, and that’s enough for me to buy in on him at a strong top-10 number at +500.
Gehman: Gary Woodland (+400, DraftKings) — Woodland’s worst round of the week came on Sunday at the PGA Championship. Despite the struggles he still finished T-34. He has five top-25 finishes in his last nine events with three of them coming inside the top eight. With a T-14 and T-9 at Colonial in the last two years, he should be plenty comfortable when he steps on the property.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Kevin Na (+550, Bet365) — I’m with Mayo in liking Na outright … and even if he doesn’t convert the win, I’d expect him to make his way to the top of the leaderboard.
Powers, Golf Digest: Chris Kirk (+450, DraftKings) — Kirk will make my outright card, even if I think it’s just a little too convenient that he’s finally going to get his fifth PGA Tour win at the same venue he won his last event at in 2015. Top 10, which has been Kirk’s wheelhouse this season, seems like the much more prudent play.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Tony Finau (+350, DraftKings) — Finau has not finished outside of the top 35 here at Colonial in six starts. This run includes a second-place finish in 2019. It’s fitting then to see that he ranks second in the FanShare Sports course-suitability ranking this week. Formwise, Finau comes into this event ranked ninth for SG/total over the past two months.
Top-10 results from the PGA Championship: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Zalatoris +350); Gehman: 1 for 1 (Zalatoris +350); Everybody else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Powers: 10 for 30 (up 30.05 units); Alldrick: 9 for 30 (up 29.8 units); Mayo: 5 for 29 (up 1.05 units); Gehman: 6 for 30 (up 0.7 units); Caddie: 7 for 30 (down 9.6 units); Hennessey: 5 for 30 (down 10.78 units); Gdula: 2 for 30 (down 22.6 units)
Charles Schwab Challenge picks 2022: One and Done
Gehman: Max Homa — This week is quite the conundrum. There’s clearly a big six in this field – Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Viktor Hovland. It’s tough to use any of them coming off a major championship and looking at the big events that are still to come on the schedule. Homa is clearly the seventh-best player with a sizable gap to the rest of the field. He’s capable of winning and playing the best golf he’s played in his career.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Kevin Na; Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Louis Oosthuizen. Zozo Championship: Hideki Matsuyama. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Abraham Ancer. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Scottie Scheffler. Sentry TOC: Sungjae Im. Sony Open: Corey Conners. American Express: Talor Gooch. Farmers Insurance Open: Tony Finau. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Xander Schauffele. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rory McIlroy. Players Championship: Jon Rahm. Valspar Championship: Dustin Johnson. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Patrick Cantlay. Mexico Open: Aaron Wise. Wells Fargo: Matt Fitzpatrick. AT&T Byron Nelson: Justin Thomas. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth.
Hennessey: Jordan Spieth — Spieth’s ball-striking stats are still hot fire, so I don’t care about the really poor putting form at Southern Hills at a place where he’s had so much success.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo; Sanderson Farms Championship: Carlos Ortiz. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Collin Morikawa. Zozo Championship: Takumi Kanaya. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Aaron Wise. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Marc Leishman. American Express: Sungjae Im. Farmers Insurance Open: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Lanto Griffin. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Viktor Hovland. Genesis Invitational: Will Zalatoris. Honda Classic: Russell Knox. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Keith Mitchell. Players Championship: Cameron Smith. Valspar Championship: Shane Lowry. Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk. The Masters: Justin Thomas. RBC Heritage: Russell Henley. Mexico Open: Gary Woodland. Wells Fargo: Troy Merritt. AT&T Byron Nelson: Jhonattan Vegas. PGA Championship: Scottie Scheffler.
Powers: Tommy Fleetwood — That was truly an all-world Wikipedia top 10 from Fleetwood at Southern Hills over the weekend. I can see him rolling over that momentum into the rest of this year and maybe, just maybe, getting an elusive PGA Tour win.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Brendan Steele. Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Aaron Wise. CJ Cup: Talor Gooch. Zozo Championship: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda Championship: Patrick Rodgers. Mayakoba: Jhonattan Vegas. Houston Open: Marc Leishman. RSM Classic: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Daniel Berger. Sony Open: Kevin Na. American Express: Seamus Power. Farmers Insurance Open: Luke List. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Cameron Tringale. Waste Management Phoenix Open: Bubba Watson. Genesis Invitational: Adam Scott. Honda Classic: Billy Horschel. Arnold Palmer Invitational: Chris Kirk. Players Championship: Xander Schauffele. Valspar Championship: Sam Burns. Valero Texas Open: Charley Hoffman. The Masters: Brooks Koepka. RBC Heritage: Matt Fitzpatrick. Mexico Open: Abraham Ancer. Wells Fargo: Keegan Bradley. AT&T Byron Nelson: Sahith Theegala. PGA Championship: Jordan Spieth.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long- and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio.) Mayo (@ThePME) was named 2021 Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, while also being a finalist for Podcast of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year. Mayo won the 2020 FSWA Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.