Golf

Five predictions for the Charles Schwab Challenge, including a playoff possibility

The Charles Schwab Challenge never disappoints.

Fort Worth’s PGA Tour stop at Colonial Country Club always entertains fans and crowns a worthy champion. The tournament is a who’s who of the sport when it comes to champions from Ben Hogan to Jack Nicklaus to Tom Watson to Phil Mickelson to Jordan Spieth.

Justin Rose joined that prestigious group last year, and will be looking to join Hogan as just the second player in the tournament’s history to win consecutive events.

Will that happen? We take our best guesses going into this year’s event --

Rose falls short

Justin Rose is the No. 3-player in the world, the best in this week’s field. But he doesn’t make history by doing a feat that only Hogan has done in this tournament.

Expect Rose to play well and be in contention, but this is a deep field with five of the Top 10 players. Rose talked about the difficulty of repeating as champion on Wednesday.

“It’s just hard to win. That’s the first thing,” Rose said. “I think there should be a greater chance of winning somewhere where you have already won. I feel like there is all those good old sayings, you know, horses for courses or it fits my eye. That’s going to apply for me this year.”

There’ll be a playoff

The Colonial hasn’t had a winner decided via playoff in five years when Adam Scott defeated Jason Dufner on the third extra hole in 2014.

The previous playoff before that? 2009 when Steve Stricker defeated Tim Clark and Steve Marino.

So let’s stick with the five-year plan and go with another playoff determining the winner this time around.

In its history, Colonial has only needed 11 playoffs to determine a champion.

Our best guess? Louis Oosthuizen wins a playoff over Rickie Fowler on the second extra hole.

Spieth contends

Jordan Spieth has endured a tough stretch of golf for the last year-plus, but showed signs of life at last week’s PGA Championship. His third-place finish is a promising sign.

Driving accuracy remains the No. 1 issue for Spieth, and Colonial does not give players much margin for error with wildness off the tee. But this course suits Spieth well, and he’ll be in contention come Sunday.

Spieth will try to become the 13th player to win this event multiple times.

Frog factor

J.J. Henry and Tom Hoge rank among the most familiar with Colonial, playing collegiately at TCU.

Each are in the field this week and will be among the fan favorites.

Henry is playing in his 18th consecutive Colonial, making the cut seven times. He missed the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson earlier this month, but made the previous two in tournaments he played.

Hoge, meanwhile, received a sponsor exemption. He started well at the AT&T Byron Nelson before finishing T67th. This will be his third Colonial, making the cut each of his previous two times.

Hoge fininshed T17 in 2016, earning $93,800.

Blast from the past

Expect plenty of names from yesteryear to be playing on the weekend.

Tim Herron, the 2006 champion affectionately known as “Lumpy,” had a solid tournament a year ago, finishing T11 and earning $163,300. He’s got the longest active starts streak in the tournament as this will be his 21st straight Colonial.

Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, is in the field and coming off qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open during sectionals earlier this week in Dallas. He’s playing well, and this is a course where you don’t have to be a big bomber to compete.

Also keep an eye on former champions Kenny Perry and David Toms. Perry is a two-time champion who is making his first return since 2015, and Toms is back for the first time since 2016.

Toms won the 2011 tournament, capping a stretch of eight consecutive cuts made.

Another name in the field? Tom Purtzer, the 1991 champion who is playing for the first time since 2005. At 67, Purtzer is the oldest player in the field.

Bonus: Did you know?

Nick Taylor became the fifth player in tournament history to card a double-digit number on a par-4 last year, taking a 10 on No. 9. That’s the first double-digit score carded on a par-4 since Dennis Paulson made a 12 on No. 9 in the 2001 tournament.

The others on the list? Tommy Armour III had a 10 on No. 9 in 1990; Lee Rinker made a 10 on No. 9 in 1996; and Mark Calcavecchia made a 10 on No. 17 in 1996.

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