One week before the U.S. Open, the PGA Tour heads up north to the RBC Canadian Open. Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas highlight the field that will be attempting to best Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ancaster, Ontario and win one of the oldest tournaments on the circuit.
In this week’s preview, you’ll learn a little about the RBC Canadian Open, including an analysis on the course and previous winners. Plus, some picks to succeed this weekend.
After four straight years playing at Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, the tournament makes a return to Hamilton Golf and Country Club for the first time in seven years and the sixth time overall. The main thing that stands out about Hamilton is its length, a 6,966 yard Par 70 that makes it one of the shortest courses on tour.
But just because the course is short doesn’t mean it’s particularly “easy”. Many of the fairways boast drastic doglegs, bunkers all throughout, and small greens, some of which slope quite a bit. Iron play, particularly off the tee, will play a vital role in a golfer’s success this week.
The Canadian Open has been played annually for 115 years, making it the third oldest tournament behind The Open Championship and the U.S. Open. It has bounced around from a variety of courses in Canada, from the Jack Nicklaus-designed Glen Abbey to the Royal Montreal to Mississaugua to Hamilton, the site of this year’s event.
Last year at Glen Abbey, Dustin Johnson finished off a great tournament with a 66 on the final day, finishing with a score of -23 to win the RBC Canadian Open. Both Byeong-Hun An and Meen-Whee Kim were each runner-ups to Johnson, finishing three strokes out of the lead.
Some of the recent winners include Jhonattan Vegas in both 2017 and 2016, Jason Day in 2015, Tim Clark in 2014, and Brandt Snedeker in 2013. The last time this tournament was held at Hamilton Golf and Country Club was in 2012, when Scott Piercy shot a course-record of 263.
Here are some of the golfers that I’ll be closely following this weekL
Dustin Johnson – 11/2
The favorite to win, last year’s champion fares quite well on the other side of our northern border with two additional runner-ups in this tournament. He finished T2 in the last two majors (Masters, PGA), and is among the best in the game in SG: tee-to-green and SG: putting. He’s ranked second on the Tour in Par 4 Scoring Average, and is now playing a course littered in shorter Par 4s. DJ is a safe bet to be in contention come Sunday.
Matt Kuchar – 18/1
Kuchar is coming off of a bad week at the Memorial Tournament in which he missed the cut. But fortunately, missing cuts is an extreme rarity, as he hasn’t missed cuts consecutively in eight years. Kuchar leads the Tour in greens in regulation, which will come in handy for trying to hit on those smaller greens in his approach shots. I expect the FedEx Cup points leader to bounce back in Canada.
Scott Piercy – 25/1
It wouldn’t be right to leave off Piercy, the last winner at Hamilton Golf and Country Club who also set a record score. But it isn’t just previous domination of this course that makes Piercy interesting. He is putting together a really good season, with six top 10s and a T2 finish four weeks ago at the Byron Nelson. There’s a chance Piercy combines his momentum this season and his success at the course and puts together a strong tournament.
Corey Conners – 80/1
It’s a homecoming for the Canadian Conners, and he has some interesting qualities that may bring him success. He’s sixth on the Tour in greens in regulation and 16th in both SG: approach and total driving. Conners is someone who has a very capable driving and iron game, and gained strokes putting last weekend. He is a dark horse pick if there ever was one.
McIlroy, Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, and Henrik Stenson are other golfers worth mentioning, but this weekend, I’m going with Conners to shock the golf world and win in his home country.
The first round tees off Thursday morning at 7:00 A.M. local time from Ancaster, Ontario.