After one of the most fascinating duels you’re ever likely to see at last week’s Open Championship, it’s off to Canada for the third oldest championship in golf. A weak field is propped up by RBC golfers such as Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk. Any time you have Mike Weir in at $6,600, you know it’s not the most stellar field!
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With four par 3s, 10 par 4s and four par 5s, this 7,253 yard par 72 has hosted the Canadian Open a few times including most recently in 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2015. The fairways are average in width but are not too important to hit with Jason Day only hitting 37.5% of fairways en route to victory last year. Typical of a Nicklaus design, the greens are hard to hit with undulations and well protected by bunkering. It should be noted that during the past 12 months, a number of the greens have been re-laid with bentgrass greens, rather than the poa annua/bentgrass mix which was previously used.
This is likely to be the strategy used by most people, but with the gulf in class between the top two and the rest of the field, this has to be a stars and scrubs week. Dustin Johnson and Jason Day are expected to be 30%+ owned so remember to differentiate your teams lower down the order.
Dustin Johnson ($12,500) – If I had to choose out of the top two, I’d go for DJ; however, I couldn’t put you off playing both. DJ, however, has slightly better form with his US Open and Bridgestone wins followed up with a top 10 at The Open. He has form at this course having finished 2nd in 2013 despite starting out with a 75. We know he can dominate the par 5s with his big driving, and if his minds at the task he could win with ease. There is a slight risk of WD being the week before a major; however, his three starts before majors this year have yielded results of 1-5-3 so I’m hoping he’ll be honing his game for next week’s PGA Championship.
Matt Kuchar ($10,600) – Fade Kuch in Majors, play him in regular tour events. If you remove his performances at The Open and the US Open where he finished T46 in both, his recent form reads T3-T4-T6-3-T3. Outstanding. Add in his course form from 2015 and 2013 of T7 and T2, and there is potential for another high score. Kuch is surprisingly strong at par 5 birdie % (28th) despite not being the longest off the tee. He is likely to be highly owned; however, after disappointing some last week, and with the two above him taking up ownership, I’m hoping he’ll be lower owned than expected.
Brandt Snedeker ($10,300) – Sneds is a difficult one. A boom or bust play; however, in this field and at this price he is likely to be fairly contrarian despite having won on the course in 2013. Having finished T22 at The Open, he has now either finished top 25 or missed the cut in his last 10 tournaments. Having finished with two good performances in a row, he does looks to be warming up nicely for a tournament he likes. I expect him to be less than 10% owned, the lowest of the top tier.
Tony Finau ($9,300) – Coming off yet another great performance in a major, Finau looks like he could challenge having finished 22nd here last year tidying up with a round of 65. His game looks to suit the course perfectly, sitting 3rd in driving distance he is able to take full advantage of the par 5s. While he doesn’t have as many top 10s as I’d want this year from a player at this price, the re-laying of the greens to bentgrass makes him a worthwhile play as one of the best bentgrass putters on tour.
Emiliano Grillo ($8,500) – There is potential that Grillo will be chalk this week; however, with top 12s in his last two tournaments in much more impressive company, he looks a strong play. Finishing T22 last year, including an opening 64, he has shown a liking for the course, and given the change to bentgrass he should be afforded even more opportunities on his preferred putting surface. Last year he had four double bogeys which had they been just bogeys would’ve placed him in 5th. Hopefully we can expect something more like that this year.
Bryson Dechambeau ($8,100) – A few weeks ago, after his performances at the Masters and the RBC Heritage Bryson was the toast of the DFS community; however, that was followed by four MCs. He has steadied the ship with three made cuts including a T15 in the US Open, and is now coming to the time when he needs to score big to secure his tour card for next year. His strong tee to green game should suit the course, and given the players around him, I expect him to be relatively low owned.
Harold Varner III ($7,800) – A potential for Rookie of the Year, HV3 has got better throughout the year and made the cut as his first major last week at The Open meaning he has now made nine consecutive cuts. Within that streak he has three top 10s and a further two top 25s showing that he’s not just making up the numbers. He is long off the tee and eats up par 5s so I expect the course to suit him nicely. He has managed at least 60 points in all of his last eight tournaments, except The Open, but with four reachable par 5s I expect HV3 to go back to his fantasy friendly self this week.
Jimmy Walker ($7,700) – This is a hugely knocked down price for a player of this calibre. While he hasn’t had the strongest year, his recent play (outside the majors) has been promising with three consecutive top 30 finishes in regular tour events. Despite the disappointing year, he still eats up par 5s (10th in birdie %) and has eight top 25s in 18 events. He has no course form, however, being long off the tee with a great short game, this course should suit Walker well.
William McGirt ($7,700) – Last week, McGirt went over to Europe for the first time and missed the cut which was highly unsurprising. He was, however, 7th the week before at the Bridgestone, with a win just four tournaments ago at The Memorial. Having finished runner up at this course in 2013, he lay 9th at half way last year before a poor 3rd round landed him at T34. He is a far better player this year with 10 top 25s, while the runner up position in 2013 was one of just three top 25s that season. Hopefully the good vibes will see him have another strong finish at what seems like an unnecessarily low price.
Michael Kim ($6,900) – Michael Kim is a player who has been playing solid golf for a while now making 10 of his last 11 cuts, including a T11 last time out. In his last three strokeplay tournaments he has 8 rounds in the 60s showing he can score, and is coming into some good form. A safe cash game play at a great price.
Chad Campbell ($6,800) – This is without a doubt my favourite low end pick. Campbell is a bentgrass green specialist with good course form (11th and 16th in last two visits) and good current form (five made cuts in a row). There is no reason he should be this price, and he will be a core play for me this week. Ranks a very good 30th tee to green this season, but 153rd in putting he’ll be pleased to be back on bentgrass on which he has gained 0.5 more strokes per round than his average over the past two years. Adding to this, Campbell ranks 20th in par 5 birdie % which will be key in DK scoring this week.
Brian Harman ($6,800) – Brian Harman finished T34 last year; however, he opened with 65-67 to sit 2nd at halfway showing he can play the course. Like Grillo, he had four double bogeys which had they been just bogeys would’ve placed him in 7th. Having finished 8th last week at the Barbasol (as well as four made cuts in a row) he may be coming in under the radar and looks to be a great play at the price. A fantastic putter – 8th in strokes gained putting this season – he’ll be able to take advantage of his opportunities on the short par 5s which is he not often afforded.
Si Woo Kim ($6,700) – The second Kim in the bargain basement, and to be honest I can’t quite understand why Si Woo is below the $7k mark. Sitting 45th in the FedEx Cup rankings, he has 10 top 25 finishes already this season, including a playoff loss last time out when the world was still talking about Stenson vs Mickelson. Si Woo went 65-63 over the weekend with 13 birdies and an eagle during those two rounds. Sitting 25th in par 5 birdie % this season, he should be able to score on the most important holes and looks a good boom or bust play this week.
Camilo Villegas ($5,800) – In the last few days, Villegas has made a big call by pulling out of the Olympics. Not because of the Zika virus, but to concentrate on keeping his tour card. Coming back to a course where he’s fared well on his last two visits he looks like a good play at this low price. Last year he lay 6th before ending poorly to finish 22nd, while in 2013 he finished down the field but his performance included a round of 65. While he WD last time out which is a worry, before that he had made six of seven cuts. With motivation, and course form, on his side, he looks like a good low priced GPP option.
The World Ranking Play:
Matthew Fitzpatrick ($6,800) – So far, my world ranking plays have worked out pretty nicely, and I think this looks like the best of the bunch so I’ve no doubt he’ll miss the cut! Fitz is a top class player, ranked 10th in this field, while he’s priced with players such as Robert Allenby and Mike Weir. Madness. His recent form isn’t great with three MCs on the spin, but two of those were on the number while his MC last week can be forgiven given he was on the wrong side of the draw. Just five starts ago Fitz was coming off three poor performances and obliterated the field in Sweden showing his potential upside. At this price he’s definitely worth a play.
Danny Lee ($9,100) – Despite his great play at the Scottish Open, Lee looked a bit lost last week with rounds of 78-77. Recently, he has got into the habit of making the cut but finishing way down the field (prior to the Scottish Open he had three finishes in the 50s) which at more than $9k will not cut it. A shorter hitter who doesn’t have a top record on par 5s, I don’t expect this to be the course where he starts challenging for PGA titles again.
Bryce Molder ($8,100) – Molder may look like a decent play to some having been in great form before his missed cut last week. As a short hitter who prefers Bermuda greens, I don’t think that his first visit to the course will be a happy one. At the price, there are definitely better plays.