The Charles Schwab Challenge has a crack field led by recent PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas as the Tour returns to its longest-standing venue, Colonial.
There is not much harder than backing up a major win the following week but no player is better built for it than Justin Thomas, whose love of tournament golf and racking up wins has been so heavily influenced by Tiger Woods that he will see this week as a critical test.
He profiles perfectly for Colonial, a course he has played twice for one Top 10. That does not tell the story though. Colonial is a genuine all-round test. Thomas ranks 1st in Par 4 Scoring, 2nd in Putting Average 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green, 2nd in Bogey Avoidance and 5th in Scrambling.
Augusta is probably the key correlation course and Thomas has finished Top 21 in his last two trips to Augusta including a T-8 this year. If he handles the major win, he should be right in the mix.
Korean warhorse Sungjae Im is a statistical dream this week and his price is arguably the best value on the card. Im ranks 3rd in Scrambling, 3rd in Bogey Avoidance, 3rd in Par 4 Scoring, 5th in Ball Striking, 6th in GIR, 9th in Strokes Gained: Around The Green and 15th in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green.
With some strong Augusta form he is a major player this week.
Young Chilean rising star Mito Pereira announced himself on the world stage with a stunning PGA Championship performance that saw him stand on the 72nd tee with a one-shot lead. He blew it with one of the worst drives of all-time but he did a remarkable job on a super tough course.
Pereira ranks 4th in GIR, 6th in Par 4 Scoring, 7th in Bogey Avoidance and 12th in Ball Striking. Looks a super hope.
TPC Deere Run is the other great course guide and Lucas Glover won the last John Deere Classic after a Top 10 the year prior. Glover ranks 11th in Ball Striking and 14th in Driving Accuracy. Finished Top 23 in his last two starts at Colonial.