Ahead of the Charles Schwab Challenge, Compleat Golfer staffers pick their winners, contenders and players who may just miss the weekend.
Wade Pretorius says: It would be easy to go with Rory McIlroy, the planet’s best and most in-form player which always comes with low odds, but less than 10/1 for the win makes me anxious. He’s not played competitively for ages and is a debutant at the event, which puts me off. Justin Thomas is also making his debut, so I’m ruling him out too. So … for the win this week, I’ll take Tony Finau. His odds are at mid-30s, which is attractive, and he was second here last time around. He’s turning into something of a Colonial specialist and could very well bank the big one.
Andre Huisamen says: Wade’s pick of Finau is a sound one, meaning he could easily have gotten my nod of approval as well. I’ve got a sneaky feeling Brooks Koepka might also come to the party again. He struggled at the beginning of the year following his injury layoff but seems as strong and fit as ever for a restart – and his lockdown haircut might give him an advantage. But, I’m going to go with Justin Thomas to secure victory on Sunday. Two PGA Tour wins so far this season – with five top-10 finishes to go with it – suggests the man should be in good spirits come Thursday. No doubt he’ll be eager to move to the summit of the FedEx Cup standings again, having fallen to second after Sungjae Im’s run before the lockdown.
Pretorius says: Easy to have gone with Sungjae Im (remember the Honda Classic and the Arnold Palmer Invitational?) but I’m putting Ryan Palmer down. He’s a member at Colonial, so he will know the course ‘better than most’ and has a solid record in the event; he was T6 in 2019. Kevin Kisner was my next-in-line for this spot. Both have odds well over 50s.
Huisamen says: Going to throw a South African in the hat for a top-10 spot at Colonial this week. We’ve got six local representatives in action and I genuinely believe one of them could prove a threat through the four rounds. Christiaan Bezuidenhout has been terrific so far this year and will be hoping to kick on from that opening round at the PLAYERS back in March. But my top-10 pick will go to Erik van Rooyen. He had a T3 at the WGC-Mexico not too long ago and seems to be getting more and more consistent on American soil.
Social golf on Saturday
Pretorius says: Dustin Johnson. Bold call, I know. I fancy a few of the big names to fall by the wayside as they get their bearings for the competitive scene. If his driver is off, he’ll be scrambling his way around which will make this call look extremely educated. (Yes, I know what happens if he’s straight off the tee).
Huisamen says: Unless something drastic happened to improve his game during lockdown, I’m not too confident about Jordan Spieth‘s chances this week. Following his winless year on the PGA Tour last season, the three-time Major winner hasn’t proved much more resilient in 2020. One top-10 finish so far this year is all he has to show for it, while he currently occupies a disappointing 110th position on the FedEx Cup standings. Maybe he should’ve accepted Gary Player’s help after all.