Field wide open at Charles Schwab Challenge

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This week is another chance for a player who hasn’t won in a while to get in the winner’s circle as the PGA Tour heads back to Texas for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.

Coming off an energized PGA Championship, the year’s second major, many of the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings won’t be teeing it up this week. That will open the door for some of those looking to move up into the top 125 in the standings as the playoffs get closer and closer.

But just because the biggest guns won’t be in the field (Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods just to name a few), there will still be more than enough big names to offer decent payouts.

We’re going to go with a guy who, at least this past week, is on his way back up the leaderboards: Jordan Spieth at 12-1.

The one-time wonderkid, Spieth has been struggling mightily this season.He finally posted a top-10 finish for the first time this year last week with a T3 at the PGA Championship. He survived last Sunday’s carnage with an impressive 1-over 71 and played solid for four straight days as he works to get his game back to top form.

Add in the fact the Tour’s back in his neck of the woods in Texas and maybe it’s time for him to hit on all cylinders. One more tidbit: He’s won here (in 2016) and also has two runner-up finishes.

The main reason we’re picking him is purely on this past week’s effort. It’s that simple. Before that, his form was anything but impressive. But he’s saying all the right things and with his impressive finish in last week’s event, hopefully his mind and game continue to synch up.

Then there’s the defending champion Justin Rose, the favorite at 10-1. He’s certainly a solid pick and one we will have in our top 5. But defending a title always puts extra pressure on a player with all of the other tournament obligations he will face.

Rose also struggled on the weekend at the PGA Championship, as did most of the field. But we’re going to take away the positives from his first two rounds where he was 3-under-par through the first 36 holes and hope he’s anxious to give it his best shot at defending last year’s title.

As for a long shot, sometimes you’ve got to take a flier and this week is as good as any with the star-power wattage down a little.

That would be Kevin Na at 50-1. He was an MC last week at the PGA Championship but finished fourth here last year as he posted a 9-under-par final round to vault up the leaderboard and into contention.

Overall, if you haven’t made a name for yourself yet on Tour, or are looking to get your name back in the headlines, this might be the perfect week.

Mesquite Amateur set

Welcome to Southern Nevada’s version of a golf major: The 2019 Mesquite Amateur.

It may not have the fanfare or the feel of the U.S. Open or the PGA Championship, but don’t tell that to the 644 entries in this year’s five-day, three-round tournament set to begin Monday in Mesquite.

The golfers, representing 40 states, will tee it up at six courses in the area. Included is the home base of the CasaBlanca Golf Club. There are four other courses in Mesquite being used: Conestoga, Falcon Ridge, Oasis-Palmer and Palms. The sixth course is Coral Canyon in St. George, Utah.

“It’s just a great event,” said Christian Adderson, the tournament’s director. “We’re the second largest amateur event in the nation. We provide a first-class tournament and we get people from all over the nation coming to play very competitive golf.”

Overall, players will have three rounds of tournament play and the top four in each flight will then move on to the championship round on the final day. The finale will be played at CasaBlanca.

The tournament, in its 17th season, saw Stanley Richins, from Yuba City, Calif., win the overall title in 2018. This year’s event features four men’s divisions with different handicap flights within each category.

The women’s division, featuring 145 women in five flights, is the largest number of entries the event has seen. Overall, there are 20 flights within all of the divisions.

It’s a daunting task for the tournament organizers.

“We partner with the SNGA and I have a great group of about 60 volunteers helping out that are the heartbeat of the event,” Adderson said.

For more information, go to: mesquiteamateur.com or casablancaresort.com

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About the Author

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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