It can be hard to get back into the swing of things after a major championship, but not this week. The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club gets underway on Thursday, and boasts an incredibly strong field this year. The Web.com Tour heads to the Chicago suburbs, the LPGA returns after a couple off weeks, and the country’s best collegiate players take on Blessings Golf Club for the women and men’s NCAA Championships.
Under the eye of the hawk
There are a few courses that define the PGA Tour events they host. Colonial Country Club is one of those places. For his 1936 design, Perry Maxwell had underappreciated Texas architect John Bredemus supervise construction. Thanks for the distance explosion, Colonial is not quite the test it used to be, but it offers an opportunity for all types of players to contend. Recent winners include Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, and Kevin Kisner. The club is planning on starting restoration work with Gil Hanse in the near future. Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Francesco Molinari, and Xander Schauffele are also in this loaded field. Tee Times
Last year saw Justin Rose put on a clinic at Colonial Country Club. World No. 3 at the time, Rose was playing the most consistent golf of his career. He shot four rounds of 66 or better, including a final-round 64, and won by three shots over Brooks Koepka. It was his second win of the 2018-2019 season and set him on a path toward No. 1 in the OWGR.
The Field – Dozens of big names will be walking CCC’s fairways this weekend, a great sign for a tournament that was facing uncertainty last season. Charles Schwab has signed on as title sponsor for the time being and hopefully will help bring consistent fields to the event for years to come.
Spieth – Fresh off his first top 10 of the season, Jordan Spieth looks to continue his strong play in his home state of Texas. His finish at Bethpage was fueled by his best putting performance of 2019, but he will need other aspects of his game to come around if he is truly going to right the ship.
Back-to-back – Justin Rose will try to join Ben Hogan as the only players to win at Colonial two years in a row. Rose finds himself outside the top two in the world rankings for the first time in 2019 after Koepka’s victory last week.
Hogan – Speaking of Ben Hogan, the Hawk is memorialized all over Colonial Country Club. The club’s nickname is “Hogan’s Alley” (though it shares that moniker with Riviera Country Club and the 6th hole at Carnoustie), and its founder was a mentor to Hogan throughout his life. He won this tournament five times in his heralded career.
Colonial is one of the weeks on Tour where you see a wide range of players who succeed. Check out who Paulie likes for DraftKings and one and done here.
Campus Roundup with Will Knights
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s NCAA Championship season! The women are nearing the end of their event while the men will get underway this weekend.
On the ladies’ side, Auburn, Wake Forest, Duke, and Arizona have all advanced to the semi-finals of the team competition on Wednesday. Auburn had to make a furious comeback to get to the final four, but there were plenty of dramatic moments to go around. Individually, Maria Fassi of Arkansas topped the field on her home course. The runner-up at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur shot a final-round 68 to top Florida’s Sierra Brooks by four shots.
On the men’s side, Viktor Hovland made some pre-tournament news. Yesterday the reigning U.S. Amateur champion was honored with the Ben Hogan Award, which is given to the best collegiate golfer of the year. He has three wins and a scoring average under 69, and he was the low amateur at the Masters in April. Hovland was chosen over other finalists Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff. Full Story from Brentley Romine
The LPGA heads to Virginia this weekend for the Pure Silk Championship. Jin Young Ko, Minjee Lee, and Nelly Korda headline the field. Tee Times
The Web.com Tour visits the northern suburbs of Chicago for the Evans Scholars Invitational. Tee Times
Nepotism Challenge, Women’s NCAA carnage, and the Brooksy equipment sponsor model
The Cat’s in the Cradle at Colonial this week and we will be watching the sons of some former pros closely at one of the PGA Tour’s classic stops. We get into the schedule for the week, which prompts discussion on: Lee Westwood’s activities at the resort and spa hosting in Denmark, the great Kinsgmill setup on the LPGA, why there are stand-up mixer appliances in the middle of the course for a senior major, and the importance of the Evans Scholar program. In the Event of the Week segment, we discuss some of the results so far from the women’s NCAAs and whether it’s fair for the title to be played on a school’s home course. In a Brooks segment, we bat around the official over-under major total and also get back into his choice to go without an equipment sponsor. It leads us to propose a few other nominees that should shun equipment deals in favor of freedom. In an all-USGA segment, we discuss some early results from the first sectional qualifying site and when it’s OK to withdraw before the second 18, media day at Pebble Beach and Andy’s fear of horrible photos from the day, and the USGA contracting Iron Man to grow the game. We finish with the resolution of our PGA head-to-heads that might have Andy worse for the wear. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify