2023 Charles Schwab Challenge Predictions: Winners, Sleepers, Busts, and Holes to Watch at Colonial
On the heels of an unforgettable PGA Championship at famed Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, the PGA Tour heads back to Texas for its annual stop at another historic venue, that being Colonial Country Club, which first hosted the event currently known as the Charles Schwab Challenge in 1946.
Eleven of the top 30 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are in the field, headlined by Texas resident Scottie Scheffler, who lost in a playoff at last year’s Charles Schwab Challenge to good friend Sam Burns, who’s also teeing it up this week.
Other favorites this week include Viktor Hovland, Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa, and Max Homa.
But despite all the star power at the 2023 edition of the Charles Schwab Challenge, the most popular player in the field this week could very well be Michael Block, the PGA Professional who won the collective heart of the golf world at Oak Hill and was invited to Colonial on a sponsor exemption.
Let’s see how things could play out at “Hogan’s Alley.”
2023 Charles Schwab Challenge predictions
Here are a few predictions for the 2023 edition of the Charles Schwab Challenge from Sportscasting golf experts Luke Norris and Jack Dougherty.
Luke Norris: Viktor Hovland
If Viktor Hovland doesn’t win the Charles Schwab Challenge, I’m just going to stop picking him to win anything not named the Hero World Challenge. Seriously, the guy is just too good to keep losing tournaments the way he has.
Once again, Hovland was right there in a major until that nightmare in the bunker on the 16th on Sunday at Oak Hill. And maybe he wouldn’t have caught Brooks Koepka anyway, but he certainly wasn’t backing down.
So I’ll give the sixth-ranked player in the world one more shot at it before I stop picking him in this particular category. And he’s got a couple of top-25 finishes at Colonial, so that’s helpful.
Jack Dougherty: Collin Morikawa
It’s been a bit of a struggle for Collin Morikawa lately. The two-time major champion has recorded just one top-25 finish in his last six starts, and he’s lost strokes putting in four of those events.
But he should be able to turn it around this week at a shorter course that rewards elite iron play. Morikawa has been the best iron player on the PGA Tour all season, as he’s gained strokes on approach in every start in 2023. He also finished runner-up at Colonial three years ago, and I think he gets it done this week.
Luke Norris: Brendon Todd
Brendon Todd certainly hasn’t been the most consistent player on the PGA Tour over the last couple of years. However, the 37-year-old veteran has played well at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
In 2021, he shot 72-64-67-71 on the par-70 layout at Colonial to finish at 6-under, good enough for a tie for eighth. And just last year, the Pittsburgh native shot 68-68-65-71 to finish at 8-under for the week, leaving him just a single stroke short of the playoff between Scheffler and Burns in solo third.
Yeah, I’ll roll the dice with Todd at 75-1.
Jack Dougherty: Eric Cole
Remember when Eric Cole was leading the PGA Championship last week? No? It was easy to miss, I suppose.
Cole quietly crept up the leaderboard in the afternoon wave of the first round, and he took a one-shot lead over Bryson DeChambeau before darkness halted Thursday’s play. On Friday morning, Cole returned to the course after sleeping on the lead and dunked his first shot in the water on No. 6. We didn’t see much from the 34-year-old after that, but he did shoot even par on the weekend to finish in a tie for 15th.
With three top-25 finishes in his last four starts, Cole will be a sleeper to watch at Colonial.
Most likely bust
Luke Norris: Tony Finau
On paper, Tony Finau should have a great week at the Charles Schwab Challenge. In seven trips to Colonial, he’s never missed a cut and has five top-25 finishes with a pair of top-10s, including a tie for fourth just last year.
But something seems off to me. Yes, Finau notched a victory recently in Mexico, which was an outstanding performance. But outside of that, he’s failed to crack the top 10 since January and is coming off a tie for 72nd at Oak Hill.
Jack Dougherty: Michael Block
Look, I consider myself a die-hard member of Blockhead Nation. What Michael Block accomplished at last week’s PGA Championship was nothing short of miraculous, but replicating that performance a few days later might be even more challenging.
Block is only in the field at the Charles Schwab Challenge because he received a last-minute exemption after taking the golf world by storm at Oak Hill. He’ll be showing up to a golf course he’s never seen before after the best, most mentally draining week of his life. I’d be shocked if he made the cut.
Luke Norris: No. 18
The 441-yard, par-4 finisher at Colonial certainly isn’t the most difficult hole at the Charles Schwab Challenge, but it will undoubtedly play into the finish of this golf tournament.
Accuracy off the tee is key at this dogleg left, as trees can affect wayward shots. There’s also a lake surrounding the left side of the green, which is also protected by several bunkers. Par is a solid score on the 18th, but birdies are certainly gettable. This is also the hole on which any playoff begins, and as I see this tourney going to extra holes, the 18th becomes that much more important to the eventual winner.
Jack Dougherty: No. 11
Colonial Country Club is one of the shortest golf courses on the PGA Tour schedule every year. Measuring just over 7,100 yards, the historic track emphasizes accuracy off the tee and strong iron play from 150 yards and in.
The anomaly is the par-5 11th hole, which measures 631 yards from the tips. Bombers don’t have a distinct advantage on this golf course, but they will on this hole. Anyone who can reach the green in two at 11 will have a leg up on the rest of the field.