Golf Bets

Golf Tips: Our experts' best bets for Charles Schwab Challenge and Soudal Open

  • Max Liu
  • 4:00 min read
American golfer Scottie Scheffler
Scheffler is favourite to win the Charles Schwab Challenge after an eventful US PGA Championship

As the dust settles on an extraordinary US PGA Championship, the players move to this week's PGA Tour event the Charles Schwab Challenge and the DP World Tour's Soudal Open...

  • 69/170.00 Bhatia looks a good fit in Texas says Steve Rawlings

  • 28/129.00 Finau loves the course at Colonial

  • Migliozzi backed in Belgium by two of our experts

Charles Schwab Challenge Tips and Predictions

The Punter's Preview

Steve Rawlings: "Augusta form holds up well here but Deere Run, home of the John Deere Classic, is the course that appears to correlate the best.

"Zach Johnson has won this title twice recently so of the ten men to win the last 16 editions, four have also won the US Masters - Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and Adam Scott.

"The 2018 winner, Justin Rose, has contended at Augusta on numerous occasions and the two-time US Masters winner, Scottie Scheffler, has a great record here too but they're all top-class players that can win anywhere so Deere Run is the best place to start for clues.

"David Toms, Kenny Perry, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, and Jordan Spieth have all recently won this title and the John Deere Classic, staged at Deere Run in Illinois. The 2017 runner-up, Sean O'Hair's first PGA Tour success was at Deere Run, and Brandt Snedeker and Tim Clark have both finished runner-up in both tournaments...

"Akshay Bhatia finished 56th on debut last year but he was inside the top-20 at halfway and he shot 66 in round one on his only visit to Deere Run to sit inside the top-ten.

"He's ranked eighth and first for SG: Tee-to-green on the last two occasions he's played in Texas and he's ranked fifth for SG: Putting two weeks ago at the Wells Fargo so looks a good fit statistically if it all comes together again."

Each-Way Tips: Picks from 28/1 to 70/1

Dave Tindall: "Tony Finau clearly likes this course and returns with his TTG game in good shape after ranking 11th in that category at Valhalla. Notably he was 1st in SG: Approach. With the new greens likely to be a leveller, Finau's coldish putter may not matter quite as much. Traditionally, he's good on bentgrass anyway so a decent enough putting week could be all he needs.

"With Scottie Scheffler taking a chunk out of the market, Finau appeals at 28s. Scheffler, incidentally, has ranked 1st for SG: Tee To Green in each of the last two years here so may be hard to beat if he's processed his wild week at the US PGA.

"After a second and a third here, it's very easy to see him getting the '1' but becoming a first-time father and being arrested in the space of a week is quite the double, even for his calm headspace."

First-Round Leader Tips: Picks from 40/1 to 125/1

Dave Tindall: "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."

Course and current form stats

Andy Swales: "Colonial is situated around two and a half miles south-west of Fort Worth city centre, close to the Trinity River. Water comes into play on six holes, much of it on the back nine, while its tree-lined fairways provide plenty of subtle changes in direction;

"Accuracy, rather than sheer length, appears to be the order of the day, with wannabe champions needing to employ a strong short game too. Following the completion of last year's Charles Schwab Challenge, architects Gill Hanse and Jim Wagner undertook a $25m restoration project of the course. Numerous elevated greens were lowered to match the surrounding terrain, while bunkers were also given a significant facelift. Irrigation has been considerably improved which will help the Bentgrass putting surfaces to flourish...

"The neat and tidy reigning Open champion Brian Harman 33/1 has a respectable Colonial history, despite no podium finishes. He tied-26th in the PGA Championship over the weekend and has a highest finish this season of T2 at TPC Sawgrass."

Soudal Open Tips and Predictions

The Punter's Preview

Steve Rawlings says: "Despite last year's Driving Accuracy stats, this is track where players who have prospered on tight layouts have thrived. Otaegui, who won here in 2018, was a very impressive winner of the Andalucía Masters at Valderrama in 2021. Form at both Karen Country Club and Muthaiga in Kenya has come to the fore too. All three venues are fiddly tree-lined tracks.

"For the last two years, the Kenya Open has been staged at Muthaiga, and this year's winner there, Darius van Driel, was runner-up here in the Belgium Knockout. The man who beat him in the final, Guido Migliozzi, won the Kenya Open at Karen before he won here in 2019.

"The 2022 winner of this event, Horsfield, who now plays on the LIV circuit, finished eighth in the Kenya Open and third in the Kenya Savannah Classic at Karen in consecutive weeks in March 2021."

Each-Way Tips: Anniversary vibes for 110/1 Manassero

Matt Cooper: "Short and tree-lined, this week's venue calls to mind Club de Campo del Mediterranean where Matteo Manassero made his DP World Tour breakthrough, but also Hong Kong, Crans and Aloha where he landed top four finishes at the height of his career. That win at Wentworth, and even the recent win at Glendower, were among the trees, too.

"He backed up this year's win with fifth place in the Indian Open and he was the headline pick in the China Open where he made an average start (72 to be outside the cut line) before carding nice rounds of 69-67 to shoot up to T23rd in a shortened event.

"He's kicked off this week with rounds of 71-65 at Walton Heath in the US Open Qualifier, good for tied sixth and a return to major championship golf. He's a big price to celebrate in fine style this week."

Find Me a 100 Winner: Four to back from 99/1 to 289/1

Steve Rawlings: "Larrazabal hasn't impressed since returning to the fray following the birth of his son, missing the cut in Japan before finishing a disappointing 50th in China, so I certainly can't recommend him on current form.

"A return to the European mainland may help the 41-year-old, though, and a 10th victory on the DP World Tour is perfectly possible.

"He withdrew at the Belgian Knockout here back in 2019 on his only previous visit to Rinkven but he enjoys a tree-lined test, and this place should suit him.

"Form at the Diamond Course in Austria, where he led after round one back in 2012, holds up well here. A dreadful second round saw him slip to 20th, but he rallied to finish inside the top-10, suggesting he may just take to this track."

Course and current form stats

Andy Swales: "Rinkven International is a parkland course approximately 10 miles north-east of Antwerp city centre. Laid out in a dense wooded area of fenland, the course is relatively flat, has tight, tree-lined fairways, and is not long by modern standards. Its greens are smaller than the Tour average, as well as undulating.

"Once again, the players will tackle a composite layout taken from the club's North and South courses. Last year's course featured six par-four holes of under 400 yards. Rinkven first came to prominence in 2010 when the North Course hosted an event on the Challenge Tour won by England's Lee Slattery...

"Scotsman Richie Ramsay 80/1 tied-seventh here 12 months ago and on his most recent outing in China, sneaked into the top-20 with his highest finish of 2024 so far. The 40-year-old is a four-time winner on the DP World Tour and a renowned tough competitor."

Read the Punter's in-play blog during both of this week's golf events


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