This week’s Charles Schwab Challenge has turned into a microcosm for 2022: Scottie Scheffler leads, and everybody else is chasing him. Scheffler will go for his fifth win of the year on Sunday at Colonial Country Club after firing a 2-under 68 on Saturday, giving him a two-stroke lead over Brendon Todd and Scott Stallings.
It didn’t look like that would be the case for much of the day. Scheffler got off to a tepid start with 8- and 6-foot par putts on the first two holes, and he shot an even-par 35 on the front before rolling on the back. He birdied the first two on that side and closed with another one at the last to guarantee himself a spot in the final pairing on Sunday afternoon.
While this is not abnormal for Scheffler this season, it is a different experience than he’s traditionally had on this golf course. Colonial is not necessarily tailor-made for the reigning Masters champion — he’s failed to finish in the top 50 in two starts here — but his lead is no fluke. Scheffler leads the field from tee to green, and while he’s putting it well thus far, it hasn’t been an all-time heater over the first three rounds. In other words, this lead is sustainable on Sunday given the gap between Scheffler and a fairly average chase pack, as well as how wonderfully he’s hitting the golf ball.
Let’s take a better look at what’s at stake on Sunday with Scheffler in Fort Worth as he tries to continue what has to this point been an absolutely dream season.
1. Scottie Scheffler (-11): Scheffler was out of the conversation for two brief days at Southern Hills a week ago when he missed the cut at the PGA Championship, but other than that blip, he’s completely owned the season. His last two months have been almost comical. He followed a win at the Phoenix Open with a T7 at the Genesis Invitational and another victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He finished T55 at The Players before two more victories at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and, of course, at the Masters. His T15 at the AT&T Byron Nelson felt like a complete failure, which should tell you the level at which he’s been playing. Throw in another win on Sunday and a career heater suddenly turns into one of the great seasons of the last four decades.
Additionally, if he takes the $1.5 million first prize, it will be the second-richest season in PGA Tour history behind only Jordan Spieth’s 2014-15 season in which he earned just over $12 million. Also of note: there are still three months to go in the season.
T2. Scott Stallings, Brendon Todd (-9)
4. Harold Varner III (-8)
T5. John Huh, Cam Davis, Chris Kirk, Patrick Reed (-7)
Like I said, the chase pack is not elite. Any of these guys are capable of winning a PGA Tour event, of course, but none of them will put much fear into Scheffler. Todd actually shot the round of the day on Saturday by two strokes over the rest of the field, and he did all his damage on the front nine on the course. If anything, that proved that there’s a number out there for players to shoot, but the odds of one of the golfers at the top of the board doing so while also catching Scheffler are not high. Data Golf gives Scheffler a 55% chance of winning this tournament.
Mito … again
Mito Pereira was last week’s tragic figure. He doubled the last hole of the PGA Championship when a par would have won it and a bogey would have gotten him in a playoff. Pereira handled everything quite well in the aftermath, though, which won him a lot of fans going forward, and they now have an opportunity to pull for their guy on Sunday. Pereira is five back of Scheffler, but just three back of second as he’ll try to do to this leaderboard what Justin Thomas did to him a week ago: come back from way behind and notch a victory.
Updated odds and picks
Here’s a look at the new odds after 54 holes, via Caesars Sportsbook.
- Scottie Scheffler: -140
- Brendon Todd: 7-1
- Scott Stallings: 9-1
- Harold Varner III: 10-1
- Patrick Reed: 22-1
- Chris Kirk: 22-1
- Cam Davis: 35-1
It’s tough to know what to do with this one. Scheffler’s number is not great, but I’m quite convinced he’s going to win the tournament and I don’t really trust the guys right behind him unless you double their numbers. I supposed I’d take a flier on Reed or Kirk at 22-1 or Cam Davis at 35-1 and see if it plays out like last Sunday (it won’t, but that’s probably the play here).