This weekend sees the return of the PGA Tour to action with all eyes being on the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth Texas as 144 golfers will tee off hoping to follow Kevin Na into the history book as the winner of the Charles Schwab Challenge, formerly the Colonial National Invitational, and in doing so take home the greatest share of the $7,500,000 prize pool.
This year will see a star-studded tournament with many more of the top 10 players in the world competing than would usually be the case. In fact, tournament organisers have drawn the world ranked top three golfers, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka together in the first two rounds of the event to give the tournament an even more star-studded appeal.
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Let’s now quickly preview the forthcoming tournament before we take a look at some of the players set to compete who could well be in with a great chance of winning the tournament. We will start with a look at the tournament’s rich history and the course on which the golfers compete for the title.
A history of the Colonial National Invitational
The tournament has only just been renamed the Charles Schwab Challenge due to a new sponsorship deal, but for many years has been better known by the name Colonial National Invitational. First competed for in 1946, the tournament is one of five invitationals on the PGA Tour each season and usually attracts 120 invited golfers only, but for 2020, this has been expanded to 144.
American golfers have dominated the event in recent years and throughout its history. Ben Hogan is the most successful player in the history of the event, amassing five wins. No other player has managed more than two victories with the likes of Lee Trevino, Billy Casper, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson and Corey Pavin being amongst a whole glut of players with two wins each.
Last year, Kevin Na equalled the course record with a 61 on his way to claiming victory in the tournament in 2019. He was the 11th American winner of the event in the past 13 years. Only Justin Rose (in 2018) and Adam Scott (2014) have won here during that time when born outside of the United States.
Other players with good records here include Jordan Spieth (winner in 2016, runner up in 2015 and 2017) while Brooks Koepka was second to Justin Rose in 2018. Jason Dufner has twice finished second in the tournament, while Kevin Kisner (2017), Chris Kirk (2015), Boo Weekley (2013) and Steve Stricker (2009) have all won the event once.
Colonial Country Club Course
Colonial Country Club is regularly ranked inside the top 100 courses in the United States each year and it is one of the best and most prestigious courses in Texas. It is famed for its stretch from the third to fifth holes, which has earned the nickname “Horrible Horseshoe” given the shape of the three holes. The final hole of that trio, the fifth, is regularly voted one of the toughest holes on the PGA Tour (Par 4, 481 yards).
The current course record is 61, held by a number of players including last year’s winner Kevin Na.
The course has also played home to the 1941 US Open, the 1975 PGA Tournament Players Championship and the 1991 Women’s US Open.
Which Golfers are the ones to watch at Colonial this weekend?
There is no doubt that the trio of top 3 ranked golfers grouped together could easily provide the winner of this tournament. Rory McIlroy is the one who seemed to be most in form before the enforced break and in warm up events, he has looked sharp, although playing in those friendly events is very different to a PGA tournament. John Rahm too is in good form and while Brooks Koepka’s form had not been the best, the enforced break could well have come at a good time for the American ace.
Another group to watch containing a trio of top Americans is Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler and again, all three of these players will feel that they have an excellent chance around the Colonial course. The American challenge should be strong with US Open Champion Gary Woodland, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Reed and Tony Finau, who finished runner up last year, all rated to be in with an excellent chance of success.
Outside the US, alongside McIlroy and Rahm, SungJae Im is a 33/1 shot with bet365, with Marc Leishman a 45/1 chance alongside Juston Rose. Matt Fitzpatrick is a 55/1 shot with Jason Day 60/1 alongside Spaniard Sergio Garcia.
For me though, I think the man to bet each way here is Jordan Spieth at 40/1 given his excellent record at this course and the fact he was showing signs of returning to better form. Another good pick is Xander Schauffele who is bang in form and who is superb value at 28/1.