Golf picks: Charles Schwab Challenge predictions & best bets from Diane Knox Balas

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Diane Knox Balas


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Diane Knox Balas loves golf (she’s Scottish, so of course she does) but let’s just say she’s much better at analyzing golf than playing! The same cannot be said for her brother, Russell Knox, who’s a 2-time winner on the PGA Tour and fueled Diane’s initial passion for the sport. A seasoned TV and radio host, Diane has given out 8 outright winners since joining the Pickswise team in April 2022. Her general rule is she has to have three stand-out reasons for each pick and spends her time studying stats, playing form and little nuggets of information from golfers’ lives on Tour. Diane lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Garrett, son Greyson and two English Bulldogs Bowser & Barkley. You can follow her antics on Twitter @KnoxyDiane and Instagram @dianeknoxbalas.

We got the win…finally! Brooks Koepka scored his fifth Major Championship title at Oak Hill, and his third PGA Championship victory. I had him as my top outright favorite at +2200 and was screaming at the TV on Sunday evening. I have to say though, it was tough to root against my fellow Euro Viktor Hovland, who’s still seeking his first Major win having been close a handful of times now. 

The Koepka pick was an interesting one at the start of last week, and you may be looking at it now as a no-brainer. His Major form is simply outstanding, but since he went to LIV Golf, we just haven’t seen too much of his game. His runner-up finish at the Masters, combined with his recent success on the LIV tour, was enough to categorize him as a favorite for the PGA Championship, but those 22/1 odds were excellent! I hope you had him, too.

Brooks may be the new PGA Champion, but PGA Professional Michael Block is the PEOPLE’S champion. He won the hearts of golf fans all over the world with his amazing play and fantastic attitude, but the cherry on top of the ‘Sunday’ sundae was his ace on the 15th hole. An unreal moment of golf. Block is back in action this week, but more on that later…

This week, the PGA Tour continues the Texas swing with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club. We get to see another gem of a course this week in Colonial Country Club, the longest-running host course on the Tour schedule. Sam Burns returns as defending champion after beating Scottie Scheffler in a playoff last year. Another big hitter, Jason Kokrak, won the year before on what has typically been known as a shorter, positional golf course that mitigates the advantage of distance off the tee.

Scheffler will tee it up this week as the new World No.1 following his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship. Also, Jordan Spieth looks to have overcome his wrist injury and returns to a place he’s had a lot of success. Since 2013, the Dallas native has only finished outside the top-14 once, with one victory and two runner-up finishes. Alongside the trophy and the tartan jacket, the winner this week also receives a restored 1973 Ford Bronco. I cannot wait to see that!

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Colonial Country Club: What you need to know

Colonial is a really interesting course to examine. The course measures 7,209 yards and is a par 70. We’re really looking for shot-makers, guys who can navigate and strategically plot their way around the many doglegs and cap it off with great accuracy on their approach. 

Length never seemed to be too important around this tree-lined course, with the premium is really on accuracy, but the last two winners of Burns and Kokrak showed that the trouble can be taken on with a more aggressive approach. Having said that, a brilliant positional player will always do well at Colonial.

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. 

Watch out for the Horrible Horseshoe, or holes 3, 4 and 5, typically one of the toughest three-hole stretches on the PGA Tour. In 2019, these three holes played at a combined +248 over the four days, making it the most difficult on Tour that year. 

Knox’s Charles Schwab Challenge Picks

Justin Rose (+3200 at FanDuel)

Justin Rose is coming off a great week at Oak Hill, finishing T9 at the PGA and grabbing his fourth top-10 of the season (with one win at Pebble Beach). His putting has been great this year, solidly gaining strokes in every tournament but one since the end of January, plus he hasn’t lost any strokes in approach since then. He missed the cut here last year, but this is a tournament he won in 2018 and finished 3rd in 2020. Excellent iron play is vital at Colonial, and Rose is excelling in that category. I love this revitalized JR!

Cameron Davis (+5000 at Bet Rivers)

Last week’s PGA Championship was a grueling one, and I’m sure fatigue is going to affect a few guys who were in the mix. However, Cam Davis put together a stunning final round of 5-under par to jump into a tie for 4th and I think this momentum will run into the Charles Schwab. The Aussie has had three top-10 finishes since The Players in March, and good approach play seems to be the theme. He gained just shy of 1.5 strokes in approach last week, and is heading back to a course he did well at last year, finishing 7th. 

Eric Cole (+12000 at FanDuel)

Eric Cole is having an impressive rookie season on Tour, and is making his presence known. Coming off a T15 finish at the PGA Championship, Cole has an additional three top-15s under his belt including runner-up at the Honda Classic and 5th at the Mexico Open. His an excellent iron player, and if he can get hot on these greens, he’ll be a name in the mix once again.

Ryan Palmer (+12500 at Bet365)

I love these odds for Palmer, and I love where his game is at. Before I go any further, Palmer is a member of Colonial CC and knows the course like the back of his hand; winning this tournament would mean the world to him. He’s played in this tournament every single year since 2004 and has four top-10s, the last coming in 2019. So why hasn’t he won here? His around-the-green play and weak approach stats seems to have let him down here over the past three years, but the Texan has gained almost two strokes in approach over his last two starts. He’s also coming off a T8 at the Byron Nelson and (at the time of publishing) was playing great in Monday’s U.S. Open qualifier in Dallas. I’m also taking Ryan for a top-10 at +1000.

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Charles Schwab Challenge Prop Bets

Sepp Straka top-10 finish (+1000 at DK Sportsbook)

I don’t just want to pick guys who played well last week, but Sepp Straka clearly worked hard on his game and it paid off big time! The Austrian finished 7th in the PGA Championship and gained just under 3 strokes on the field in approach – a huge turnaround in that stat category. He’s missed the cut here in his last two appearances at the Charles Schwab, but both times, he putted well. Now that his irons seem to be firing on all cylinders, maybe this year will be a different story.

Michael Block top-20 finish (+850 at Bet365)

Ok, ok, this is well and truly classed as a “heart pick” – but how can we not?! Michael Block became the star of last week’s PGA Championship. The PGA teaching pro, who charges $125 an hour for a lesson (or DID, lol!) had the best week of his life and seemed to be in total disbelief every time a putt dropped or he moved up the leaderboard. Block finished T15 in the end and secured his place in the field for next year’s PGA, plus he jumped up 3003 spots in the OWGR! After receiving a sponsor’s invitation to play this week, I have to include him on my card. Let’s keep the Block Party going!

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The Pickswise golf handicappers are on hand with expert Golf Picks and Golf Predictions as well as tournament previews and analysis throughout the PGA Tour, including all of the majors.

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