Diane Knox Balas: Our Pickswise golf analyst with her Charles Schwab Challenge best bets and course insights

Photo of Diane Knox Balas

Diane Knox Balas

Golf · 1 month ago

Show Bio

Golf analyst for Pickswise.

After a thrilling PGA Championship at Southern Hills that came right down to the wire in a 3-hole playoff before Justin Thomas took the Wanamaker trophy, we’re heading back to the Lone Star State for the Charles Schwab Challenge. And they don’t come more old school than this. Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth hosts the tournament for the 77th time, making it the longest-running non-major to be held at the same course. Not only that, last year’s champion, Jason Kokrak, walked away with a customized 1946 Schwab Power Wagon!

I spoke to Jason Kokrak last week before the PGA Championship got underway, and he said Southern Hills reminded him a lot of Colonial. In fact, Ryan Palmer, who’s a long-time member of the Fort Worth course, called Southern Hills “Colonial on steroids”! And it’s no surprise as they’re both Perry Maxwell designs.

Last year, it was a battle between Kokrak and Jordan Spieth, but two late bogeys ended the Texan’s quest for the title, and Jason secured his second PGA Tour win. But Spieth has a fantastic record around here, and 2021 marked his third runner-up finish. After finishing second at the other Dallas event, the AT&T Byron Nelson, just two weeks ago, will this be the week he crosses the finish line on home soil?

We have a pretty stellar field teeing it up, with World No. 1 Scheffler coming off a missed cut last week, and Justin Thomas fresh off his major victory. Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Will Zalatoris complete the favorites at the top of the board.

Colonial Country Club: What you need to know

Colonial CC measures in at 7,209 yards and is a par 70. Like last week, we’re really looking for shot-makers, guys who can really navigate their way around the many doglegs and cap it off with great accuracy on their approach. 

With Kokrak being the exception, length doesn’t seem to be too important around this tree-lined course and the premium is really on accuracy – look at past champions Kevin Na, Chris Kirk and Daniel Berger. A real positional player will fare will, and someone who’s dialed in with their mid-irons. Even Kokrak clubbed down on a lot of holes last year to map his way towards the win.

The greens are relatively small, so proximity to the hole will be important, as well as the ability to convert and make a lot of putts. Having said that, the winning score doesn’t seem too wild here, with Kokrak getting to -14, Berger in 2020 at -15 and Na in 2019 securing victory at -13.

Players must watch out for the “Horrible Horseshoe” – holes 3, 4 & 5. The 5th hole plays as the hardest hole on the course year after year, a 481-yard par-4 with a dogleg to the right.

Knox’s Knockout Charles Schwab Challenge picks

Will Zalatoris (+2200)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.

I am constantly impressed by Will, his game and his attitude. After losing in the playoff to Justin Thomas, he said it just shows him how close he is. Two runner-up finishes in majors in the last 13 months shows that Zalatoris can, and will, contend a lot going forward. Plus, after missing the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson a few weeks ago, this Dallas boy will be looking to perform this week in Fort Worth. His iron game is so precise, and he leads the Tour in approach this season. He’s putting better and, as long as he’s not too fatigued, he should be able to rollover his PGA play into this week. At 22/1, I’m taking him.

Tom Hoge (+7000)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing.

What a run Hoge is having. Coming off a T9 at the PGA last week, his season now boasts four Top-10 finishes, including a win at Pebble Beach and a runner-up at the Amex. Tom is 6th on the Tour in Strokes Gained: Approach and 19th tee-to-green. He also ranks in the Top-10 in scrambling. He fought off fierce competition from Spieth and Patrick Cantlay for his debut win and seems to have a brilliant attitude every week. I don’t see Hoge slowing down any time soon.

Patton Kizzire (+15000)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing.

After making the cut last week in the PGA, Patton was very vocal on social media about his disdain for Southern Hills, calling it an “overrated golf course” with a “pitiful setup”. Well, let’s hope he can shake that off because Colonial is a course he did very well on last year, finishing in a tie for 3rd. His putter was the hot club, as seems to be the norm for Kizzire. Tee-to-green, he gained over 9 strokes on the field, and over 6 strokes in approach. His stats don’t really show much with his current play, but after a hot start last week I think Kizzire could contend this week on a familiar course.

Charles Schwab Challenge Prop Bets

Jordan Spieth Top-5 Finish (+300)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing.

I’m not picking Jordan as an outright two weeks in a row; I just can’t! But he does have a killer record in this tournament at Colonial with three runner-up finishes and Top-10s in 2020 and 2019, and the benefit of being able to sleep in his own bed this week. I’d kick myself if I missed out, so I’ll take him to finish Top-5 at 3/1.

Davis Riley Top-5 Finish (+900)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing.

Another Dallas resident who’s in form and has featured a lot in my picks of late. We keep seeing excellent putting from this rookie, who ranks 12th on Tour. Plus, when it comes to current form there are few that are performing as consistently – he’s had five Top-10s this season, including a playoff loss to Sam Burns at the Valspar and a T9 at the Byron Nelson just two weeks ago. Let’s go a few better in Fort Worth this week.

Pickswise is the home of free expert Golf Picks and Golf Predictions. Our PGA expert picks go live every Monday or Tuesday, so check out our latest golf picks, best bets, and analysis for this week’s PGA tournament now.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook

$200

Bet $5, Win $200 In Free Bets!

Sign up for a new account with FanDuel Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5 on any sport, any market

Win $200 in free bets regardless if your bet wins or loses

Must be 21 years or over to participate. Reward paid in site credit. Offer valid for new players only. Full terms available at FanDuel Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 Risk-Free Bets!

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

DraftKings

$200

Bet $5 on Any MLB Game, Get $200 if Your Team Wins!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5 on any MLB team to win their next game

Win $200 in free bets + any cash winnings from your original wager

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Risk-Free Bets!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,500

Get up to $1,500 Risk-Free First Bet!

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Make your first deposit of $50+

If your first bet is not a winner, get it all back as a free bet (up to $1,100) if you lose!

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

Yahoo DFS

$25

Get $25 in Site Credit With Yahoo DFS When You Deposit $5!

Register for a new account with Yahoo DFS and deposit $5+

Enter a $5 DFS contest

Upon entry, you will receive a bonus $25 in credit into your account!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Yahoo DFS.

PointsBet

$100

Bet $100 Risk-Free on every NBA Finals Game

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Each NBA Finals game, your first Fixed Odds bet on the game will be Risk-Free up to $100

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.