charles schwab challenge picks
May 21, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Patrick Reed reacts after he putts on the fifteenth green during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We had a winner last week at the PGA Championship. We said Patrick Reed at +138 to make the Top 20 was as close to a lock as you’d find on the board; he finished tied for 17th . Here’s hoping you went, way, way far down the board and got Phil Mickelson at +20000 (or higher some places) pre-tournament. For that matter, maybe you only got him at +300 before the final round and watched him cruise to his sixth major and triple your stake in the process.

Even though no shots have been struck since Mickelson won on Sunday, there have been shots fired. Ladies and gentlemen, Brooks Koepka!

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The beef between these two goes back to at least 2019, when Koepka joined other professional golfers in criticizing Bryson DeChambeau for slow play. Since then, Koepka has pointedly reminded DeChambeau of Koepka’s big lead in major championships and criticized DeChambeau’s tendency to ask for free relief he’s not entitled to. And now this. It’s tough for DeChambeau, because he’d lose a fight with Koepka (unless he went after Koepka’s surgically repaired knee) and because Koepka still has that 4-1 lead in major championship victories. Neither man is playing this week, so the feud will simmer awhile longer.

Let’s see where the value lies as we dive headfirst into our picks and predictions for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

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VALUE PICK: CHARLEY HOFFMAN TOP 30 (+100)

We have recommended Charley Hoffman in this space before, and while he didn’t come in at +800 to finish top five at the RBC Heritage, he did finish 18th.  Since then, he has had two more top-20 finishes. He was 18th at the Valspar Championship a month ago, and he finished 17th last week at the PGA Championship.

Hoffman hasn’t missed a cut since the Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale. He missed that cut on February 5. Since that time, he has had seven top-20 finishes (three of those finishes were in the top 10). For value reasons, we’re throttling back to the top 30 because it’s a position Hoffman should probably reach without too much trouble. He’s +175 to finish in the top 20; he’s a fine choice for that bet, too.

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LONG SHOT PICK: JUSTIN ROSE TOP 5 (+600)

Pre-pandemic, Justin Rose was a consistent performer and a straight up ATM. He earned $4.2 million on the Tour in 2017, $8.1 million on the Tour in 2018, and $4.3 million on the Tour in 2019. Since then, some combination of injury and a seeming inability to bring his best game to anything other than major championships has seen his Official World Golf Ranking slip to 41st  Not terrible, but not elite. He’s one spot above Max Homa, who has missed the cut in four of his last five starts.

As the saying goes, though, “horses for courses.” Rose has a stellar record at Colonial. He won here in 2018 and was tied for third at this event in 2020. Rose fired a 67 on Sunday at Kiawah to launch himself into the top 10 at the PGA. If he carries that form to Colonial, a high finish seems well within reach.

PICK TO WIN THE CHARLES SCHWAB CHALLENGE: PATRICK REED (+1700)

Patrick Reed won us a little bit of money last week and we’re looking for him to win us a lot more this week. Reed finished seventh at Colonial last year. He won the Farmers Insurance Open in January and has three other top-10 finishes (including the 2021 Masters) since then. You could also reasonably read this pick as a subtle fade of the chalk favorites, Jordan Spieth (+1050) and Justin Thomas (+1300). It was hard to like anything you saw from Spieth last weekend as he sort of limped to a T30. It was impossible to like anything you saw from Thomas last weekend…because he missed the cut.

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