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How to model the Charles Schwab Challenge

After late drama, Justin Thomas won the 2022 PGA Championship in a playoff against Will Zatoris.

Now we turn to the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club. This week features another loaded field with three OWGR Top 5 players and five players from the OWGR Top 10.

Thomas (+1100) comes in as a pre-tournament favorite, while Masters champion Scottie Scheffler (+1200) is hot on his heels. Rounding out the top 5 in the odds table are Jordan Spieth (+1400), Collin Morikawa (+1800) and Viktor Hovland (+2000).

Before we share our best bets, though, let’s start, as always, with a statistical modeling approach to Colonial. In addition to the five key stats I’m prioritizing this week, I’ve added a few subsets (less than 10 percent) to refine the model. Additionally, I added a qualifier – courses under 7200 yards – to further refine the results.

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Stat #1 – Shots Won: Tee-to-Green (15 percent emphasis)

Subset: Fairways Won (5 Percent Emphasis)

The fairways at Colonial Country Club aren’t very wide — only 27 yards wide, nearly seven yards shorter than the tour average — so players need a strong driving game.

In addition, in the last 12 rounds played at Colonial Country Club, hitting the fairway was rated “difficult” and qualified as “easy” in only two of the 12 total rounds. The tee-to-green statistic also correlates highly with finishing position, as three straight winners in that statistic rank fourth or better for the week, with two of the last three and three of the last four ranked second or better for the week place.

Winning fairways is also somewhat significant, as two of the last four winners in that statistic finished seventh or better for the week.

Here are the SG: T2G leaders from the last 36 rounds with betting odds for the week:

  1. Daniel Berger (+3300)
  2. Justin Thomas (+1100)
  3. Sungjae Im (+3300)
  4. Webb Simpson (+4000)
  5. Collin Morikawa (+1800)

Stat #2 – Shots Won: Approach (17 percent emphasis)

Subset: Proximity – 150 to 175 yards (5 percent emphasis)

Like every other week on the tour, approach play will be paramount in the Charles Schwab Challenge.

The greens at Colonial are fairly small – only averaging about 5,000 square feet compared to the 6,600 square feet for the tour average. Also, there is a strong correlation between SG: Approach and overall finish position. According to datagolf.com, there is a 64 percent correlation between final placement and player placement in this statistical category.

Additionally, three of the last four winners at this event have placed fifth or better in the SG: Approach for the week. As for the subset, this refinement is based on the fact that a large number of approaches (21 percent, to be precise) came from that distance.

Here are the SG: Approach leaders for the last 36 rounds with their betting odds for the week:

  1. Justin Thomas (+1100)
  2. Daniel Berger (+3300)
  3. Collin Morikawa (+1800)
  4. Russell Knox (+10000)
  5. Harald Varner III (+5000)
JustinThomas
JustinThomas
AP

Stat #3 – Shots Won: Par 4 (16 percent emphasis)

Subset: Par-4 Score: 400-450 yards (6 percent emphasis)

Just like last week in Southern Hills, the par-4 scoring at Colonial will be crucial. The par 70 has 12 such holes and actually only one feasible par 5.

As expected, Charles Schwab’s winners proved very efficient on those 12 holes, with four consecutive holes finishing fourth or better in the tournament’s par-4 efficiency.

In terms of subset, seven of the above 12 par 4s fall between this range on the scorecard, with three out of seven playing under par on the week in 2021. In fact, only one had an average score higher than 4.1, so players should have some scoring opportunities on these holes.

Here are the SG: Par 4 leaders from the last 36 rounds with their betting odds for the week:

  1. Daniel Berger (+3300)
  2. Justin Thomas (+1100)
  3. Sungjae Im (+3300)
  4. Bryson DeChambeau (+8000)
  5. Cameron Davis (+10000)

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Statistic #4 – Birdies or Better Gained (15 Percent Emphasis)

This tournament doesn’t typically have many winners reaching -20 or less, but it does tend to see a low-scoring winner.

Four consecutive winners have scored -13 or less at Colonial, while every winner since 2015 has scored at least -10. Additionally, the last four winners at Colonial — Jason Kokrak, Daniel Berger, Kevin Na, and Justin Rose — all finished second or better in birdies or better for the week.

It’s also worth noting that seven of Colonial’s 18 holes are played under par on average, while all but five have a yardage percentage of 15 percent or more.

Here are the yardage winners or better for the last 36 rounds with their betting odds for the week:

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (+8000)
  2. Cameron Davis (+10000)
  3. Justin Thomas (+1100)
  4. Kevin Na (+5000)
  5. Eric van Rooyen (+10000)

Stat #5 – Greens won in regulation (11 percent emphasis)

Subgroups: Putting – 5 to 10 feet (5 percent emphasis), Putting – 10 to 15 feet (5 percent emphasis)

Considering the aforementioned small greens at Colonial, the ability to have an accurate approach that successfully avoids one of the 84 course bunkers will prove tremendous.

Also, even going from a top-five finish to victory is a massive jump in green regulation. A top five finisher will gain an average of about 1.14 greens in regulation, while a winner will gain an average of 1.6 greens in regulation gained on average.

From there, I want to include putters that have previously shown success from the distances listed. Colonial makes a total of 43.7 birdie or better putts from 5 to 15 feet. Additionally, the greens have qualified as fast on the stimpmeter in two of the last three tournaments, so a solid putting touch is crucial this week.

Here are the GIRs who have led their betting odds for the week over the last 36 rounds:

  1. Russell Knox (+10000)
  2. Collin Morikawa (+1800)
  3. Adam Svensson (+30000)
  4. Bryson DeChambeau (+8000)
  5. Harald Varner III (+5000)

https://nypost.com/2022/05/23/pga-odds-projections-how-to-model-charles-schwab-challenge/ How to model the Charles Schwab Challenge

JOE HERNANDEZ

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