The 110th Canadian Open takes place this week as the newly-scheduled final tune-up event ahead of the US Open. As a result, the field is among the strongest the Canadian Tour stop has seen, with four of the top 10 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking in attendance, including world No. 1 and reigning PGA Championship and two-time US Open winner, Brooks Koepka.
Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas will make their respective debuts at the Canadian Open as part of the 156-player field. Both players got a head start on the preparation for Hamilton Golf and Country Club after missing the cut at the Memorial.
Among those taking the week off ahead of 2019’s third Major is new world No. 8 Patrick Cantlay following his win at last week’s Memorial Tournament. Cantlay excelled in ball striking all week and put together a Sunday round of 64 to surpass Adam Scott and 54-hole leader Martin Kaymer. Reigning Masters champion Tiger Woods is also taking the week off following his T9 finish at the Memorial and ahead of his return to Pebble Beach Golf Links, where he won by 15 strokes in 2000.
The course: Hamilton Golf and Country Club
Hamilton Golf and Country Club will host the Canadian Open for the sixth time and the first since 2012. Two former champions of the course are in this week’s field, with those being Scott Piercy (2012) and Jim Furyk (2006). They won with four-round scores of minus-17 and 14-under par, respectively. World No. 2 Dustin Johnson won the 2018 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Course.
The course was designed by Harry Colt in 1914. Among Colt’s other designs are Muirfield, Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, and Royal Portrush. The latter will be the site of the 2019 Open Championship in July.
Hamilton Golf and Country Club is a par 70 measuring 6,966 yards. There is only one par 4 topping 450 yards, with the par-4 5th hole coming in at a drivable 317 yards. Only one par 3 is under 200 yards; both par 5s are reachable in two at 542 and 550 yards.
The shorter course puts an emphasis on positioning within the fairway off the tee. The greens are relatively small but heavily sloped, requiring players to carefully place their approach shots below the hole.
Key stats to consider for the RBC Canadian Open
The key stats best tailored for Hamilton Golf and Country Club’s design are Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green, Fairways Gained, Par 4 Efficiency: 400-450 Yards and Opportunities Gained.
These stats are well-suited for the short but tight design and difficult green shapes. With only two par 5s, golfers will need to create their own scoring opportunities on the shorter par 4s.
My model at Fantasy National looks at performance over the most recent 36 rounds for all players in the field.
RBC Canadian Open: Sleepers and value bets
Johnson has slipped all the way to No. 94 in the world after closing out the 2018 season at 66th. Formerly ranked as high as No. 6, the two-time Major champion is being greatly discounted due to his recent play; his lone top-10 finish in the 2019 season was a seventh at the RSM Classic in November.
Ranked just 164th in Driving Distance this year, Johnson will benefit from the shorter Hamilton GCC. He ranks 13th in the field in SG: Approach over his last 36 rounds. He made the cut in each of the first two Majors of the year but struggled mightily over the weekend at the PGA Championship.
Only three golfers have more top 10s on the European Tour than van Rooyen this year. The South African is ranked No. 90 in the OWGR but is still searching for his first win on either the PGA Tour or European circuit. He finished T8 at the PGA Championship for his best finish to date in a Major.
van Rooyen has played just three PGA events this year; the PGA Championship, the WGC-Mexico Championship, and the WGC-HSBC Champions. He’s the 28th-best player in the field by world ranking, but he’s 38th by the odds at DraftKings, representing tremendous value.
Bradley’s been slipping down the world ranking since his T16 finish at The Players Championship, but he finished inside the top 50 in both Majors. The 32-year-old had already collected two top 10s prior to the unofficial fifth Major, including a 10th at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He leads the field in SG: Approach and is third in Opportunities Gained.
His Tour rank of 13th in Round 1 Scoring Average this year makes him a good pick for a First Round Leader bet, as well.
RBC Canadian Open: The winner
Furyk is the only two-time Canadian Open champion in this year’s field. A short hitter like Johnson, Furyk leads the Tour this year in Driving Accuracy, he leads this week’s field in Fairways Gained, and he’s a surprise 13th in Opportunities Gained.
His lack of distance worked against him at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, as he missed the cut, but that won’t be an issue north of the border with the course measuring about 500 yards shorter. Furyk shouldn’t carry the concerns of the higher-ranked players in the field who are more likely to be looking ahead to next week’s visit to Pebble Beach and the significantly tougher US Open conditions.