By News Team
24th May 2022
It might be the week after the second Major of the year, but plenty of the world’s best have made the trip from Southern Hills to Colonial for the Charles Schwab Challenge. They are headed by the new PGA winner Justin Thomas and world number one Scottie Scheffler, both at 12/1.
Thomas will be riding the crest of a wave after his second Major victory but might be a touch jaded after his play-off victory over Will Zalatoris, while Scheffler will need to bounce back from a missed cut.
Homa given another chance
There were certainly plenty of positives in Max Homa’s tie for 13th at Southern Hills, but while it was a more than satisfactory showing, he would have perhaps been a touch disappointed. Having got to three-under par early in round one, a double bogey on the 18th halted momentum and he never really got it back after that. It was very much a case of one step forward, one step back for the 31-year-old, who wasn’t quite able to get all facets of his game working in unison.
On Thursday, he was 11th in Strokes Gained: Putting but was poor off the tee and around the greens, while on Friday and Saturday his approach play was superb – seventh in round two and second in round three – but his putting, this time, was off. Taking this into account, it’s clear this a player full of confidence after that win at the Wells Fargo Championship and had been able to match up all the parts of his game, he’d have been a real contender on Sunday at Southern Hills.
He heads to a course where he doesn’t have a great record with a 27th place finish in 2019 sandwiched between two missed cuts. However, this is a vastly better and more confident player than back then and in theory, at least, Colonial is a course that should suit Homa’s eye.
Kokrak ranked seventh in putting, 61st around the greens, eighth in approach, first off-the-tee and second tee-to-green when he won last year – a set of stats that mirrors Homa so far this campaign. He ranks inside the top-26 off-the-tee (18th), approach (16th), tee-to-green (21st) and putting (26th) but isn’t quite as good around the greens (139th). Based on last year, chipping and pitching at Colonial isn’t quite as important as at some other courses with just four of the top 39 players ranking inside the top 10 in that category.
This looks another good opportunity at 30/1.
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Gooch looks Talor made for Colonial
The other player who looks of interest is Talor Gooch at 33/1.
The 30-year-old was a bit of a late bloomer on the PGA Tour but having got his maiden tour win at the RSM Classic this season, he’s become a real force. He was right in the mix at the Arnold Palmer Invitational before a 77 on Sunday cost him any chance, but having registered a tie for 14th at the Masters and tie for 20th at the PGA, it’s not a day he’s let affect him.
He’s erratic off the tee, although was ranked 26th in that statistic at Southern Hills, so he might have turned a corner, while he’s always been a great chipper ranking sixth in that category this season. As mentioned, short game isn’t perhaps quite as essential at Colonial as it at some other courses but when your approach play is as solid as Gooch’s it doesn’t really matter.
He missed the cut on debut here in 2018, but has played well on his other three starts, including when finishing 14th last year where he shot three of four rounds in the 60s. That was evidence that his solid game should flourish around here and he looks likely to go well.