Golf Bets

Charles Schwab Challenge 2024 First-Round Leader Tips: Picks from 40/1 to 125/1

Austrian golfer Sepp Straka
Sepp Straka can hit the ground running

The PGA Tour heads to Texas and Dave Tindall has three each-way bets to top the leaderboard come the end of round one at Colonial CC...

  • 50/151.00 Sepp Straka is often quick out of the blocks

  • 40/141.00 Tony Finau loves Colonial and started fast at the PGA

  • 125/1126.00 Ben Kohles was runner-up on his last Texas start

Weather forecast for Thursday

Winds rise from 6mph to 14mph from morning to just after lunch although they could blow over 20mph at any point in the day.

Temperatures start in the 70s and peak at 90 degrees around 4pm.

There's no obvious bias but the early starters should get softer greens after rain on Wednesday so I'll pick two of my three from the morning wave.

Sepp Straka @ 50/151.00

Sepp Straka missed the cut at the US PGA on a long course that wasn't really for him but he looks a good bet to bounce back at Colonial.

The Austrian hasn't quite delivered yet at the famed Texas venue but he's always started well, producing first-round scores of 66, 68 and 69 on his three visits.

Straka is always worth a look in this market as he has twice as many first-round leads (four) on the PGA Tour than he does victories (two).

So while I couldn't quite pull the trigger at 50s in the outright market, I'm happy to do so at the same price in this one.

Before Valhalla, Straka had ended the opening lap inside the top five in both of his previous two regular strokeplay events.

That was courtesy of a 66 in the RBC Heritage and a 68 at Wells Fargo.

I'm looking for another low R1 from his 08.06 tee-time.

Tony Finau @ 40/141.00

I'm big on Tony Finau this week and he's also the headline selection at 28s in my outright preview.

For first-round leader, that price jumps to 40s and is well worth an investment.

Finau sat second after day one of last week's US PGA after opening his bid with a sparkling 65. He eventually finished 12th.

The big-hitting American is a former first-round leader at Colonial thanks to a 64 which paved the way for a runners-up finish in 2019.

That's one of eight 18-hole leads he's held on the PGA Tour and the most recent was also in Texas in his pillar-to-post win in the 2022 Houston Open, where he again thrived when finishing runner-up five starts ago.

Finau, who has a second, a fourth and three other top 25s at Colonial, tees off at 07.55.

Ben Kohles @ 125/1126.00

For an afternoon starter, Ben Kohles is worth chancing at a huge price from his 13.29 tee-time.

A two-time winner on the Korn Ferry last season, he's been popping up on leaderboards in the last few months.

Sixth in Puerto Rico in March, he showed his best form of the season on his last visit to Texas when runner-up at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson earlier this month.

Kohles was ninth after round one there while he was again in the top dozen after Thursday's play in last week's US PGA when posting a creditable tied 26th.

For good measure, he was also the FRL at the Zurich Classic pairs event alongside Patton Kizzire last month.

Kohles' only start here was way back in 2013 but he'll have some good memories after carding 67-67 to sit ninth at halfway.

Now read Matt Cooper's EW picks for the Soudal Open here!

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