Before next week’s much anticipated U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, The PGA Tour heads to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, for The 2019 RBC Canadian Open. Dustin Johnson won this event last season at Glenn Abbey Golf Club, but this year it will be held at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. (par 70, 6,967 yards) This venue has hosted three Canadian Opens in the past, with Scott Piercy taking home the big check in 2012 (-17), Jim Furyk in 2006 (-14) and Bob Tway in 2003. (-8)
With only three PGA events taking place here, we don’t have much data to go off, but as a shorter par 70, with some thin fairways, most players should keep their drivers in their bags on most holes. A majority of these fairways are surrounded by trees and it seems that setting yourself up for a strong approach from the short grass is more important than overpowering this track. Additionally, putting is a bigger factor at Hamilton than it is at most courses and these greens are POA grass if you are looking for splits. Piercy gained seven strokes on these greens and ranked T7 in PPR here in 2012, while Furyk led his field in PPR during his win in 2006.
Last, but certainly not least, as a par 70, par four scoring must be heavily weighted into our models. Specifically, par fours that fall between 400-450 yards, with eight of these 12 par fours landing in that range. Piercy led his field in par four scoring in 2012 and all three of The Canadian Open winners at Hamilton have ranked T10 or better in par four scoring. After back to back invitational sized events, this is a full field, with 156 players teeing it up north of the border. @Hunta512.
Dustin Johnson: (11,900)
DJ won this event last season by three strokes (-23) and the #2 ranked player in the world always seems to shine in Canada. If we exclude his WD after one round in 2008, Johnson is 4/5 at Canadian Opens, with a top ten in each of those made cuts. His last start was a solo second place finish at The PGA Championship and this was his 13th made cut in 13 starts this season and also his 9th top ten.
He easily ranks 1st in my model when looking at all these players current forms (L24 rounds) and also is 1st in total strokes gained when we compare all of these golfers last 100 rounds on par 70s. While his best friend Brooks Koepka might already have his sights set on defending his U.S. Open crown next week, I think DJ will continue to dominate in Canada and capture his third win of the season. (5.5/1 via Bovada)
Matt Kuchar: (10,500)
He broke many hearts with his fist MC of the season last week at The Memorial, making this an opportune time to attack Kuchar. People may still be bitter about the massive letdown and might be hesitant to roster him at this high of a cost, but not me. Prior to last week, he had made 16 straight cuts, with six top tens and two wins during that span.
He ranks 4th in SGT2G, 9th in SG on P4s, 4th in SG on P4s between 400-450 yards, and 15th in SGP in his last 36 rounds and is 8/12 in Canadian Opens, with five top tens. He has only played at Hamilton once (T34), but Kuchar’s accurate game and elite par four play should help him to a big bounce back performance. In his last two starts in the week before majors, Kuch has finished T7 and T2.
Webb Simpson: (9,700)
Simpson has no history at Hamilton and lacks experience in Canada (2/3), but should still flourish at this course designed for ball strikers. He has only missed one cut in his last 20 starts and his par four scoring has been tremendous, ranking 3rd in SG on P4s and 2nd in SG on P4s between 400-450 yards in his last 24 rounds.
Plus, he has gained strokes putting in his last two and should be well rested with his last event being The PGA Championship nearly a month ago. (T29) At $9,700, Simpson is a lock for a top 20.
Henrik Stenson: (9,100)
Stenson’s ball striking has been tremendous (1st in SG APP, 5th in SGT2G, 6th in fairways gained, 8th in GIR, and 5th in BS in L24 rounds) and soon he is going to post a very high finish. He has gained positive strokes tee to green and with his approaches in eight straight events and has made seven of those eight cuts, with four top 30s during that stretch.
This will be his first ever start in Canada, but Stenson’s tee to green game is so strong right now that he should absolutely finish in the top 20 of this weaker field.
Jim Furyk: (8,800)
Furyk was the 2006 champ at Hamilton and should have another great week at the short course, with his irons currently red hot. (70.8% GIR in L2) His par four play has also been trending up (6th in SG on P4s in L24 rounds), while Furyk remains to be an outstanding putter (21st in SGP in L24 rounds), that makes minimal mistakes. (7th in bogeys avoided in L24 rounds)
Plus, his best putting splits come on POA grass and as I said above, Furyk led the field in PPR during his 2006 win on these greens at Hamilton. The salary is elevated, but Furyk is a very safe option this week.
Bud Cauley: (8,400)
Last week at The Memorial, Cauley was excellent in his first top ten since November, gaining 9.1 total strokes at Muirfield Village. This was his fourth made cut in his past five events and Cauley ranks 11th in SGT2G and 10th in bogeys avoided in his last 24 rounds.
Finally, he has a 3/4 track record in Canada, with his best finish in fact being a T4 at Hamilton back in 2012. Not only do I believe he will make the cut here again, but Cauley has the chance at a top 20 or better if he can keep things going from last week.
Erik Van Rooyen: (7,800)
Rooyen missed the cut at The Made in Denmark two weeks ago, but the full time Euro player had made seven of his previous eight before this speed bump. In that stretch, he produced some very impressive finishes, including a T6 at The Indian Open, a T2 at The Trophee Hassann II, and most notably, a T8 at The PGA Championship.
In that start at Bethpage Black, EVR gained 5.6 strokes on APP and 8.1 SGT2G. Now, in his last four starts on The PGA Tour, he has finished T17, T22, T36, and T8, in that order. He isn’t a familiar name, but Van Rooyen should expose this weaker field and is one of my favorite values of the week.
Brian Harman: (7,600)
After a horrible stretch of golf (1/6), Harman has shown some serious signs of life the last two weeks, with a T31 at The Charles Scwhab and then a T27 at The Memorial. He has stuck 73.6% of greens and hit 75.9% of fairways over these past two events and this will be his second appearance at Hamilton.
In 2012, he finished T19 at this course and ranked 1st in PPR on these greens. He is always at his best on POA and if Harman’s improved ball striking can continue, he should make the cut in his fifth career Canadian Open. (3/4, with two top 25s)
Nick Watney: (7,500)
Watney has made three of his last four cuts on Tour and has looked outstanding the past two weeks, gaining 6.7 strokes per event. (T8 at The Charles Schwab and T22 at The Memorial) If we just look at all these players last eight rounds, Watney ranks 2nd in my model, due to some top notch ball striking (2nd in SGT2G, 7th in SG APP, 6th in GIR, 2nd in BS) and par four scoring. (12th in SG on P4s and 14th in SG on P4s between 400-450 yards)
His Canadian Open record may not seem the most appealing at a first glance (4/8), but Watney has made his last four cuts over the border and even though the result was a MC, he did tee it up at Hamilton all the way back in 2003. But, this was his first attempt at a Canadian Open and I am excepting at least a made cut from Watney this time around.
Corey Conners: (7,500)
This is a home town tournament for Conners. He is originally from Listowel, which is about an hour and a half from Hamilton. He has struggled in Canadian Opens (1/5), but is currently playing some steady golf, making six of his last eight cuts, with his win at The Texas Open being the highlight of this run.
His improved tee to green game fits Hamilton really well (8th in SG APP, 13th in SGT2G, 3rd in GIR, and 7th in BS in L24 rounds) and while I do worry about his putting (139th in SGP in L24 rounds), Conners should be able to grind out another made cut.
David Lingmerth: (6,900)
Lingmerth did his job last week at The Memorial (T41) and this was his fourth consecutive made cut on The PGA Tour. If we include his time on The Web.com Tour, he is now seven for his last eight.
His stats are nothing worth noting (1.65 SGT in L2), but we aren’t targeting Lingmerth for his flash, we are targeting the veteran for his cut making ability, especially in Canada. (3/4, with a T12 in 2013) At 175/1, he currently holds the best odds to win of all the players lower than $7,000 on DraftKings.
Nate Lashley: (6,700)
Lashley lacks upside, but is a fine cheap flier that has a legitimate shot of making the cut. He has made it to the weekend in three straight events and is a very solid eight for his last 11.
His approach game has been his strong suit (14th in SG APP in L24 rounds) and Lashley is a decent putter (38th in SGP in L24 rounds), who gains positive strokes on POA.
*Please note that some of these rankings are from Fantasynational.com