Max Homa hiding in plain sight at Colonial Country Club
5 Min Read
Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet
There is an element of predictability when it comes to the Charles Schwab Challenge because the PGA TOUR has been coming to Colonial Country Club for a long time.
While nothing is ever set in stone in golf, there has been certain trends at this event when it comes to its winners. For example: the last four winners finished inside the top 12 for the week in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, SG: Approach and SG: Putting.
With that in mind, it is less of a surprise to see Harry Hall obliterate the majority of the field in the opening round at Colonial Country Club as he was the only player inside the top 15 of all three stats on Thursday.
The Englishman’s 8-under 62 needed just 22 putts, a usual strength of his, but also saw him gain over two shots on approach, one of his best rounds of the season. He leads by three to Harris English and is four clear of Tom Hoge, Adam Schenk, Robby Shelton and Andrew Putnam.
Amongst 15 players five back are proven winners Scottie Scheffler, Sam Burns, Max Homa and Billy Horschel.
Here are the latest odds from BetMGM Sportsbook
+350: Scottie Scheffler (-3, T7)
+1100: Harry Hall (-8, 1st)
+1400: Max Homa (-3, T7)
+1600: Sam Burns (-3, T7)
+1600: Harris English (-5, 2nd)
+2200: Si Woo Kim (-3, T7)
+2500: Tom Hoge (-4, T3)
+2500: Andrew Putnam (-4, T3)
As you can see, Scheffler is still the clear favorite having started the tournament at +400 and now moving into +350, but I am not prepared to advocate him as the best choice with three rounds to go. He can certainly still win this, but his number is not healthy enough at this point.
So, who should you consider?
Harris English (+1600 to win; -5, 2nd)
It was a very solid performance from English who ranked 10th in SG: Tee-to-Green; 25th in SG: Approach and 14th in SG: Putting. While English ranks 124th on the season Tee-to-Green, he also is the type of player to produce rocks or diamonds of late. He was T2 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T3 at the Wells Fargo Championship, and with two previous Colonial top fives to his name, this is trending as a diamond week.
Max Homa (+1400 to win; -3, T7)
With two bogeys in his opening three holes things could have gone pear shaped for Homa on Thursday, but he fought hard and was rewarded with a 67. Homa did so ranking 28th in SG: Tee-to-Green; 31st in SG: Approach and 28th in SG: Putting. But guess what… his season ranks for all three are better, indicating there is improvement in the man chasing a third win of the season. Coming in, Homa ranked 16th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 17th in SG: Approach and 5th in SG: Putting.
Sam Burns (+1600 to win; -3, T7)
This draw is less based on stats and more on history. The defending champion was seven shots back of Scheffler last year before blitzing his way to a playoff, so he’s clearly comfortable on the course. The fact he shot 67 without his best stuff is something bettors need to weigh up. Did his comfort at the course mask poor play that will ultimately drag him down, OR has he got his tough stuff out of the way and remained in contention… thus facilitating a move up the boards over the next three rounds? I’ll leaning to the latter.
Tom Hoge (+2500 to win; -4, T3)
It feels like this is the first week in ages I haven’t advocated for Hoge pre-tournament so of course he comes out and plays well! In all seriousness, this ball striking savant led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green and Approach on Thursday but lost ground on the greens at 88th in SG: Putting. But given he ranks 55th on the season on the greens, we can hope for a little improvement in this space over the next few days. Marry that up with the crisp ball striking and Hoge should be in the mix for career win number two!
Scottie Scheffler (+350 to win; -3, T7)
Those who know me might think I’m reacting with emotion here given I was pretty staunch through the firth two rounds of last week’s PGA Championship that Scheffler would go on to win the tournament, and do so comfortably, only to see him falter badly on Saturday and fail to recover in time. But this is a fade of his +350 number, not the man himself. Scheffler has been up so long now – finishing inside the top 12 in his last 14 starts – that you just have to assume a few mental errors will creep in. The man admitted to just that Thursday, so while I’m not writing him off, I am staying away from this short number at least one more round. But the field will be watching his name… and if he makes putts… he will win.
Harry Hall (+1200 to win; -3, T7)
As stated above, Hall is hitting all the marks of a winner at Colonial and should he maintain the rage he will be just that. But will the rookie be able to ride his putter for three more days as his iron play no doubt comes back to the field a little? Hall was 15th in SG: Approach Thursday but he ranks 185th on the season. We can assume there will be moments of nerves as he chases victory so I’m not ready to commit, despite his healthy lead, just yet.
Robby Shelton (+5000, -4, T3)
While the juicy odds might be tempting for a guy running third, the fact is Shelton putted above his usual efforts by a significant margin on Thursday. Shelton was fourth in SG: Putting despite ranking 122nd on the season. He also ranked 90th out of 120 players in SG: Approach and Off-the-Tee. He was saved by leading the field in SG: Around-the-Green and while he tends to be money in this area, I can’t see his putter staying this hot.
Senior Writer, Golfbet Follow Ben Everill on Twitter.