"Oh, Canada!" by Gavin St. Ours is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Golf

The RBC Canadian Open at St. George’s

The RBC Canadian Open: Move over, Hockey! The Canadian Open is back!

 

Course Review (St. George’s Golf Club – Etobicoke, Ontario)

St. George’s Golf Club was built in 1929 under the direction of Stanley Thompson. It’s rarely actually the venue for this event due to logistics issues, but make no mistake; this course is phenomenal. The terrain is rolling and deep, the fairways have more tuns than Le Mans, the course overall is in a densely populated area, and the greens are relatively small. This course requires precision, above everything else.

 

Memorial Review & RBC Canadian Open Preview

Brendan Steele T20 at +350 (finishing 10th) and Will Zalatoris T5 (finishing 5th) were our two cashes this week. We washed for the week, but didn’t get any help from Hideki (who was DQ’d for the rare marked club). We very narrowly missed a +8 for the week, as Sungjae Im narrowly missed a Top 5 cash (+700). Overall, it was fun, but it’s time to head north.

The RBC Canadian Open has only been held at this venue five times. The last time (2010) featured a less-than-memorable final day and an even less memorable finish. This year, the field is decent, but not anything resembling what we’d see for a major event. Highlighting the field this week is Scottie Scheffler, who has four wins this season. Though some major names are missing, Cameron Champ has the 25th best odds this week. The field is a bit deeper than advertised.

 

Metrics to track this week

The St. George’s course requires precision. From the winding fairways, rolling terrain, and small greens; accuracy comes at a premium this week in Etobicoke. Recent Form will also be important, as it is every week, but Driving Accuracy and many of the Strokes Gained categories will be valued most this week.

  1. GIRP
  2. Strokes Gained: Approach
  3. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
  4. Recent Form
  5. Strokes Gained: Total

 

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

 

Off the Tee – Three Players to finish in the Top 40

 

Hayden Buckley +350

Hayden Buckley is the 111th ranked player in the FedEx Cup standings. We don’t expect him to T-40 this week, but if there ever was a tournament perfect for his style, this is it. Buckley finished 13th at Corales Puntacana, 12th at the Sony Open, 8th at Shriners, and 4th at Sanderson Farms. He has not made a cut since the Mexico Open, but Buckley is an accurate ball striker and this course rewards those types.

Buckley is 29th in GIRP, 20th in Driving Accuracy, 14th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, and 93rd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. Aside from that, he’s sub-par in every other category. The thought process with Buckley is, he’s finished well in smaller events this season, so a smaller event with a tight course is in his wheel house.

 

Joseph Bramlett +275

Joseph Bramlett is a 34 year old graduate of Stanford and a veteran of the Korn Ferry Tour. He’s still making a comeback in golf following a serious injury, but the precision with his GIRP is noteworthy. On the season, Bramlett has finished 20th at the Sony Open, 28th at the Puerto Rico Open, and 33rd at the American Express. He’s likely not going to be able to stay on Tour if he continues to struggle, so this is an excellent event for him to get some key FedEx points.

Bramlett is 37th in Birdie Average, 17th in GIRP, 6th in Driving Distance, 41st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 71st in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 82nd in Strokes Gained: Approach. We don’t expect a T-20 or anything wild like that, but we expect Bramlett to play to his strengths and be competitive on cut day, with a decent shot at a Top 40.

 

Scott Gutschewski +275

Scott Gutschewski probably won’t stay on tour past this season, if we’re being honest. Even so, nearly every player on tour has a particular set of strengths that gives that player an advantage in specific events. This is one of the select few events Gutschewski has a decent shot at finishing well. The 45 year old has two Top 40 finishes on the season (18th at Valero Texas Open & 39th at Butterfield Bermuda Championship).

Steve Gutschewski is 59th in Sand Save Percentage, 61st in Eagles (holes per), 16th in GIRP, 40th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 68th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, and 56th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He’s not great at much, but Gutschewski ranks high in most of the critical categories we believe to be important for this week’s event.

 

 

Middle of the Fairway – Two Players to finish in the Top 20

 

Nick Hardy +700

Nick Hardy at T-20 is a stretch, but so was Brendan Steele last week to T-10 and it happened. He has yet to finish inside the Top 20 of any event on Tour this season. Despite the awful numbers, this is a 7 to 1 bet for a guy to finish T-20. It’s not really that complicated. Like others on this list, Hardy is very good in one particular area: GIRP. His last event was a 21st place finish at the Zurich Classic, so it’s not impossible.

Hardy is 36th in Eagles (holes per), 25th in GIRP, 69th in Driving Distance, 33rd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, and there’s nothing else even remotely close to Tour average (beyond what we listed). Nick Hardy is basically just the baseball equivalent of a guy who doesn’t allow walks. He’s a longshot play here but maybe worth the dice roll, at those odds.

Rasmus Hojgaard +275

Look, I totally get it if you’d rather not risk money on a Danish Pro who just turned 21 two months ago. However, he’s an extremely accurate golfer, even for his age. He has three professional wins on the European Tour already, and he’s coming into this event in decent form. Last week, he finished 51st at the Porsche European Open. Prior to that, he finished 10th at the Dutch Open and 16th at the Betfred British Masters.

Hojgaard’s advanced numbers aren’t a big enough sample to qualify him for rankings against other PGA golfers, but when you break them down, he stands-out with the small sample size. Hojgaard is 12th in GIRP against the qualified field of candidates. Of those, only three of the men ahead of him are playing in this week’s event. The only big concern for him is driving accuracy. Hojgaard is only hitting around 55%, which puts him around 175th in the rankings.

 

 

Short Putt – Two Players to finish in the Top 5

 

Adam Hadwin +750

Hadwin’s odds this week are off. Given his strengths and the course, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Hadwin had three Top 10 finishes in a row (The PLAYERS, Valspar, & Valero), but then went fairly cold until last week’s Memorial (18th). He’s currently the second-best Canadian player and will look to score his second career PGA Tour win this week. The 34 year old is ranked 51st in the FedEx Cup standings.

Hadwin is 12th in Sand Save percentage, 56th in Scoring Average, 37th in Birdie Average, 27th in GIRP, 46th in Driving Accuracy, 30th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 18th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 66th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 37th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 34th in Strokes Gained: Total. With those kinds of metrics, Hadwin should be much closer to +400 going-in. Take advantage of the big value here.

 

Tony Finau +550

Tony Finau is finally getting back on track. After a slow start, Tony now has two Top 5 finishes in his last four events (2nd at the Mexico Open & 4th at the Charles Schwab Challenge). Once know as a potential “next guy up” in the sport, Tony has drifted over the past few seasons, occasionally pushing in some events, but he’s certainly not the guy we thought he might be. The 32 year old is 63rd in the FedEx Cup standings this season.

Tony is 54th in Scoring Average, 69th in Birdie Average, 26th in GIRP, 64th in Driving Distance, 24th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 20th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 19th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 37th in Strokes Gained: Total. Finau may never reach the levels we expected, but his metrics indicate he’s a good fit for this tight course.

 

 

In the Cup – Three Players to Win

 

Sam Burns +1600 & Top 5 at +330

Sam Burns has blossomed into a bonafide star on the PGA Tour. The 26 year old from Shreveport has three titles this season and is in tremendous form. He has three wins on the season (Sanderson Farms, Valspar, and his last event, the Charles Schwab Challenge). Burns has three Top 2 finishes in his last six events and has shown no signs of slowing down in his breakout season. Sam is currently 2nd in the FedEx Cup standings.

Sam Burns is 9th in Scoring Average, 4th in Birdie Average, 12th in GIRP, 22nd in Driving Distance, 12th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 19th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 23rd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 7th in Strokes Gained: Total. It’s really hard to imagine Burns won’t be in contention this week, given his metrics, the course, and the field. Take him to win and to Top 5.

 

Scottie Scheffler +700

Eventually, we’re going to hit on a Scottie Scheffler winner. It’s just a matter of time at this point. Scheffler has joined Burns as one of the few players on tour in the past few seasons to win at least three events in a season. Scheffler has wins at the WM Phoenix Open, API, WGC Dell Match Play, and The Masters. He’s certainly grabbed most of the headlines this season, and he’s leaving us with little choice but to pick him.

Scheffler is 5th in Scoring Average, 3rd in Birdie Average, 2nd in GIRP, 16th in Driving Distance, 63rd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 13th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 30th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 26th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 16th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 6th in Strokes Gained: Total. At this point, betting anyone else to win and not hedging with Scottie is probably a mistake.

 

Corey Conners +2200

Canada’s best golfer is ready to steal the show on Sunday. Corey Conners has only one victory in his career on the PGA Tour. He’s the 30th ranked golfer in the FedEx Cup standings and looking for a signature win. His only previous victory was at the Valero Open, but the RBC Canadian Open is a rare opportunity to put him in the same class as other Canadian heroes like Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, and Celine Dion.

Corey Conners is 27th in Scoring Average, 51st in Birdie Average, 4th in GIRP, 27th in Driving Accuracy, 8th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 37th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 21st in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 24th in Strokes Gained: Total. Corey Conners isn’t the best candidate to win this week. He’s probably not even Top 5, but don’t you want to tell your kids someday, you picked Canada’s first Canadian-born winner of the Canadian Open since Karl Keffer in 1914?

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