After Brooks Koepka’s triumph at the PGA Championship, the focus of US golf will be on Texas this week as the PGA’s leading players descend on Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, and two golfers in particular appear to be fancied to pick up the Charles Schwab Invitational trophy.
Colonial is less of a test than many courses on the PGA Tour. Although in terms of distance, it rates as average, at around 7200 yards, the firm conditions under foot in Texas should ensure that the course plays much shorter, and the focus for most contenders this week will be about securing position for their second shot, rather than looking for maximum distance from the tee.
Driving accuracy is the key at Colonial, where wayward big-hitters can often come unstuck, and it also helps to be able to play in blustery conditions as the variable but sometimes strong winds can often play havoc with even the most resilient player’s strategy, so golfers with a record of being able to handle less than ideal weather conditions should have an advantage.
Defending a title on the ultra-competitive PGA Tour is a tall order, but according to the bookmakers, Justin Rose is in line to do just that this week. BetCris make him the +951 favourite after he skipped the European Tour last season to take in this event for the first time since 2010 and justified his decision by winning it. He had calm conditions to work with last time round, so it remains to be seen how well he goes in 2019, but he has the game to cope with a tough challenge.
Close behind Rose in the betting is US star Jon Rahm, at +975 with BetCris. The three-time PGA Tour winner missed the cut last week and his short price seems to be based more on reputation than form or suitability to the course, as his big hitting style is not ideally cut out for Colonial.
Jordan Spieth is the current third favourite with BetCris and can be backed at +1252, after a remarkable comeback at Bethpage, which featured some world-class putting and took him to a creditable third-placed finish. The three-time Major winner is always a force to be reckoned with and he has a strong record at this tournament. In fact, he’s never finished outside the top 32 at Colonial and has a win and two seconds from six visits. Given that he’s now found his touch, he will be strongly fancied by golf fans to pick up another trophy.
And further down the betting, Kevin Kisner could also be a live contender. He is currently rated as a +3555 chance, and was another player who struggled last week, but this course suits him down to the ground and he is overdue a big performance, so could be a player to watch in Texas, in what promises to be a fascinating duel at a course that is always popular with players and spectators.