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Five longshots to keep an eye on at the Charles Schwab Challenge

Brendon Todd Brendon Todd - The Canadian Press

It’s been three days since Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship.

Since then, the Florida native has had the luxury of parading around the Wanamaker Trophy and getting after it cheering on the NHL’s Panthers in their Eastern Conference Final series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

But the same can’t be said for yours truly. 

We’re right back to work for this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge. 

Despite being scheduled the week after a major, the field this week at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, is surprisingly strong. It is once again headlined by world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and a bunch of notable names who always seem to be hovering near the top of the oddsboard. 

Scheffler continues to stand head and shoulders above his competition as the best player in the world. However, his struggles with the putter have seen the 26-year-old New Jersey native win just twice in his last 28 starts, a number that could be two or three times higher if he and his flatstick would get on the same page. 

This week, I’ve decided to take it easy in the outright market, and target some names lower in the field that could be in store for a good week and crack the top 20 at Colonial.  

Cameron Davis (+210 Top 20) 

It was a disappointing start to the year for Cameron Davis. 

After an impressive showing at the Presidents Cup, Davis has either missed the cut or finished outside the top 30 in seven of his next nine PGA Tour events. He has made just one cut between November and March in North America. 

However, something must have clicked for the 28-year-old Australian in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., as he finished tied for sixth at the Players Championship and hasn’t looked back since. 

In his last six starts, Davis has four finishes inside the top 20, with three of those coming inside the top 10. 

Look for Davis to use his length off the tee to his advantage this week as Colonial doesn’t demand players to be long off the tee for success, but it certainly doesn’t hurt either. 

Brendon Todd (+240 Top 20) 

Colonial Country Club must fit Brendon Todd’s eye really well, as the American has finished inside the top 10 here in both of his visits to the Charles Schwab Challenge. 

The tree-lined course with its tight fairways plays right into Todd’s game. The 37-year-old Pittsburgh native is someone who is accurate in every aspect of the game but just lacks the length to compete with the game’s elite week in and week out. 

Par 4 scoring will take priority this week as Colonial only features two par 5s, one of which will be the easiest hole on the course, and the other playing as a true three-shot hole. 

Todd enters this week 16th in par 4 scoring average and 21st in birdie average. 

In 2022, Todd entered this event with top-20 finishes in just two of his previous 14 events before finishing in third. In 2021, he had just two finishes in the top 20 leading to this event before tying for eighth. 

This year, he enters with two top 20s in his last 14 events once again, so look for Todd to once again use this week as a spot to get himself in the mix on Sunday.

Hayden Buckley (+270 Top 20) 

I stumbled upon Hayden Buckley in the final hours of my PGA Championship prep last week. Buckley and I have a love-hate relationship, as in I hate how much I love him. 

The 27-year-old who hails from Chattanooga, Tenn., hit the ground running in 2023, finishing solo second at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Naturally, as someone who drafted him in fantasy golf, I was thrilled. 

What I wasn’t thrilled about, however, was when Buckley missed the cut in five of his next six starts. The result? I dropped him. 

Since I dropped him, Buckley has tee’d it up five times and has made all five cuts with two top-10 finishes. 

A big reason for his success has been his improved play on approach. 

Buckley has gained strokes on approach in five straight events and has been consistently gaining strokes with the driver. In fact, he hasn’t lost strokes to the field driving since the 2022 Valero Texas Open. 

He enters this week fourth in SG: Driving and seventh in Total Driving. So I expect him to find a lot of fairways this week to give himself plenty of birdie opportunities. 

Buckley, similar to Todd, is one of the top players in the field this week when it comes to Par 4 scoring average. 

Mark Hubbard (+490 Top 20) 

Nobody was more disappointed to see Mark Hubbard withdraw from the AT&T Byron Nelson earlier this month than me. 

I had him circled as a 120-1 outright with a game trending in the right direction, and the 34-year-old Denver native making the cut at the PGA Championship is all I needed to be right back on him this week. 

Hubbard has gained strokes on approach in four straight events, a stretch that includes three top 30s. 

He isn’t the strongest off the tee, so I’m hopeful that taking the driver out of his hands off the tee this week will work in his favour. 

Hubbard ranks 24th in Par 3 scoring, and 40th in Par 4 scoring average, with the biggest blindspot in his game coming on the Par 5s where he ranks a paltry 160th. 

He’s made two trips to this course, making the cut both times, but his best finish here is a tie for 52 in 2022. 

That being said, I will roll the dice on him to crack the top 20 at this number. 

Carson Young (+750 Top 20) 

The final dart of the week lands on Carson Young. 

Young has very quietly finished inside the top 20 in three of his last four 72-hole stroke play events on the PGA Tour, with his last missed cut coming at the two-man team event in New Orleans.  

The 28-year-old South Carolina native has gained on approach and with the putter in four straight PGA Tour events and enters this week on the heels of qualifying for the U.S. Open at Northwood Club and Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas, Texas, setting a course record with a 62 along the way. 

Young is definitely not one of the longer hitters on Tour, so I’m hopeful he can ride this heater into Colonial, a track that could suit his game really well.