For the fifth and final time this season, the PGA Tour tees-up in Texas for this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge.
The tournament returns to Colonial Country Club which has staged more than 70 Tour events during its glorious history, a feat only eclipsed by Augusta National.
However, it had been in danger of missing out 12 months ago because of Covid, which would have brought to an end a consecutive annual run that began in 1950.
But when the 2020 schedule was re-structured following three months of inactivity, the Charles Schwab Challenge became the first post-lockdown event in mid-June – a few weeks later than originally planned.
Colonial is a parkland course which rewards straight driving, rather than power.
Opened in 1936, Colonial Country Club is a layout which typifies the era in which it was built, with trademark small greens and narrow fairways.
It is situated around two and a half miles south-west of Fort Worth city centre, close to the Trinity River.
Colonial Country Club hosted the US Open of 1941, and joined the schedule full-time five years later.
There was no tournament in 1949 – because the Trinity River flooded and damaged the course – but from 1950 Colonial has staged a PGA Tour event every year, including the Players Championship during the mid-1970.
Many of the fairways at this low-lying parkland layout have subtle changes in direction while water comes into play on just six holes – much of it on the back nine.
Latest odds for this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge
Colonial is a strange mix of Bermuda grass fairways and Bentgrass greens. It’s normal for courses this far south to have putting surfaces sown with Bermuda, which is better suited for coping with the heat of a typical Texas summer.
It is also the venue where local resident and all-time great, Ben Hogan, regularly played golf.
In the summer of 2008, Colonial’s bunkers, greens and tees were given a significant makeover, since when the average winning 72-hole total has been 265.42.
Three of the world’s top-10 are in attendance, as well as 11 of the leading 25, with No 2-ranked Justin Thomas topping the bill.
Thomas, however, missed the cut at Kiawah Island on Sunday and hasn’t posted a T10 since winning at Sawgrass in mid-March.
Among the course specialists is Texan Jordan Spieth who has only finished outside the top-15 once in eight visits. Spieth is a former champion and two-time runner-up at Colonial.
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The accurate Abraham Ancer is at a career-high No 19 in the World Ranking thanks to a remarkably consistent run of results on the PGA Tour, albeit without a victory.
He hits fairways and greens with relative ease and shouldn’t be at a disadvantage because of his lack of length off the tee.
Former Colonial champ Justin Rose secured his second major top-10 of 2021 on Sunday despite floating below the radar most of the year.
Another ex-champion is Chris Kirk who, despite missing a brace of recent cuts, could easily challenge again this week.
The 36-year-old from Georgia tied-seventh last month at Harbour Town, another course where accuracy is a stronger currency than power.
Corey Connors and Brian Harman are other golfers who have the games to prosper at Colonial and are in decent form right now.
Although Charley Hoffman is certainly no slouch off the tee, and may not seem to fit the bill this week, the 44-year-old is playing some of the most consistent golf of his career these past few months.
He is currently ranked ninth in the category Strokes Gained: Approach The Green and is teeing-up at Colonial for a 10th straight year.
Course Comparisons (1.1.16 – 31.12.20)
Driving Accuracy (%)
73.88: Sea Island (RSM Classic) (1/29)
56.52: Colonial (Charles Schwab) (25/29)
52.24: Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance) (29/29)
Greens in Regulation (%)
75.98: Sedgefield (Wyndham) (1/29)
65.84: Colonial (Charles Schwab) (18/29)
58.99: Innisbrook (Valspar Ch`ship) (29/29)
1.664: PGA West (host) (American Express) (1/29)
1.752: Colonial (Charles Schwab) (14/29)
2.668: Augusta National (Masters) (29/29)
Key: Above stats are for all 29 courses which staged four or more PGA Tour events between January 1st, 2016 and December 31st, 2020. To qualify for a ranking (between 1 & 29), tournaments must have a minimum of 50 players competing over the final two rounds of the event. Averages do not include players who failed to complete at least 54 holes.
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
MC* – Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves