Today's Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, June 5 at 12:00 PM EST.
Cutoff time for this event is June 6 at 7:00 AM EST.
RBC Canadian Open - Event Preview
After a four-year stint at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario, it’s all change for the Canadian Open with Hamilton Golf & Country Club taking on hosting duties. It’s a real sea-change for the tournament, with Glen Abbey being somewhere the players could unleash bombs off the tee. Hamilton is anything but. One of the shortest tracks on the rotation at just 6,966 yards for its Par 70, Hamilton boats just two Par 5s and one Par 4 measuring more than 450 yards but don’t be fooled into thinking that the bombers will over-power it. Many of these fairways feature severe doglegs, and so shot-shaping with iron in hand off the tee will be a key feature this week.
This could be a second shot course. These greens are notorious for not drying out that well, and with some rain in the forecast, the players could be firing at the pins. Back when Jim Furyk was winning here in 2006 and Scott Piercy six years later, this was a golf course packed with thick trees. But an exercise to open up the playing area in the original vision of designer Harry Colt – that noted Links fanatic – means that many have been removed. This parkland track is peppered with bunkers, however, and one of its key defenses are the small Poa Annua greens, some of which are heavily contoured and sloping. The players will be praying for rain to slow these down. This is an old-fashioned golf course that will reward measured, classic tee-to-green play. It should be a fantastic week!
Weather Forecast for Hamilton, Ontario
There should only be a few showers, if any rain at all, with sunny spells being the dominant feature. Temperatures could reach 74°F, with the winds getting no more aggressive than 8-10 mph. Conditions look near perfect.
What We’re Looking For This Week
We don’t have a huge amount to work with this week, but the identities of the last two winners at Hamilton – Furyk and Piercy – at least offer something of a narrative. Both of those guys, at their best, are flushers: straight off the tee, precise on approach and, in Furyk’s case, a solid enough putter. It’s hardly earth-shattering analysis, but it’s confirmation that Hamilton is very much a second shot layout.
Remember too that there’s a major next week. Which players are motivated? Which are going through the motions for their sponsor? Which are already thinking about Pebble Beach? It’s a tough conundrum, but big players missing cuts or withdrawing is no coincidence in events like this. Try to decipher if those on your shortlist are teeing up for the right reasons in Ontario.
Architect Harry Colt was more renowned for his coastal Links tracks than inner city, parkland layouts, and there aren’t any specific correlated courses other than those which reward arrow-straight tee-to-green play. Thus, we’ll focus somewhat on premium ball-strikers this week, and those who excel at making birdie on Par 4s. If they are motivated to play well for four days, we might just be rewarded.
To Win Outright:
Corey Conners 80-1
It’s a return to Ontario, the place of his birth, for Corey Conners this week. That doesn’t necessarily dictate that a brilliant performance is forthcoming, but for one of the brightest young talents around, we certainly hope it lights a spark. An excellent driver of the ball, there’s also something special about Conners’ iron game, and those two aspects go together very nicely at Hamilton. He gained strokes on the Bentgrass green of Muirfield Village last week too, so perhaps the total package is just around the corner for the Canadian. Connors ranks 6th ON TOUR in Greens in Regulation, 16th in SG: Approach and 16th in Total Driving. (Risking 0.2 units to win 16 units).
Peter Malnati 150-1
It was a fantastic week for Peter Malnati at Muirfield Village. He ranked third for Strokes Gained: Approach, and his brilliance with his irons – if repeated – will also be rewarded this week. The 31-year-old is a frustrating talent. A former PGA TOUR and two-time http://Web.com Tour winner, he disappears off the radar for months on end, despite being excellent with his irons and a brilliant putter. Perhaps some more sustained form is around the corner, as Malnati has recorded four top-40s in his last six starts. Maybe a top-10 – or better – is on the horizon? In a week in which the top guns figure to be more focused on next week’s event, a sleeper is such a strong possibility this week and maybe, Malnati will slip through (Risking 0.2 units to win 30 units).
Mackenzie Hughes 125-1
While others in the field start thinking about the US Open, one player who won’t be short on motivation is Mackenzie Hughes. He returns to the city of his birth in Hamilton and he’s played this course dozens of time as an amateur. Those two things should serve as inspiration for a big performance in front of friends and family. Hughes hasn’t been playing badly of late, with a T8 at the Charles Schwab Challenge, and as somebody who has won both the PGA and http://Web.com Tour in recent years, we have no qualms about his ability to get the job done. This is an opportunity (Risking 0.2 units to win 30 units).
Talor Gooch 160-1
Back on February 3rd of this year, Talor Gooch was listed at 80-1 to win the Phoenix Open after shooting -16 and -24 the previous two events at the Farmers Insurance and Desert Classic respectively. Gooch followed solo fourth at the Desert Classic with T3 at the Farmers, and those two events could not be any different: the former a birdie-fest, the latter playing three rounds at the tough Torrey Pines South Course. That suggests Gooch is a versatile player who can hang in any conditions, so there’s no reason why he can’t go well again. After the Players Championship on March 17, Gooch took some time off to nurse a minor thumb injury and returned to action on May 26 for the Charles Schwab Challenge. He finished T29 before missing the cut last week at the Memorial. Now playing his third event in a row after a layoff, Gooch is being overlooked in a big way. Remember, going into the Phoenix open, he ranked first for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and second for Approach and now this extremely talented 27-year-old may well be an elite talent in the making and ready to pop. (Risking 0.2 units to win 32 units).
Head-to-head Matchups for the Canadian Open
HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUP below is for 72 holes:
Aaron Wise -106 over Adam Hadwin
Really, the target here is to fade Adam Hadwin. We found Hadwin v Wise at 888sport but you may be able to find other matchups. Bet365 has Keegan Bradley -120 over Adam Hadwin while Pinnacle sports doesn’t even have a H2H matchup that involves Hadwin and that caught our attention.
You see, Adam Hadwin is the highest ranked Canadian at a Canadian event and Pinnacle (the world’s sharpest book) doesn’t have Hadwin in a head-to-head against anyone? That’s telling to us and suggests that Pinnacle does not want to be exposed with fades against Hadwin. There are other telling signs too. For instance, Pinnacle has Aaron Wise as a -118 favorite over Daniel Berger and now we get Wise over Hadwin at a smaller price. The point is to find a way to fade Hadwin this week because all the signs say he’s likely “Dead Man Golfing” this week. Never mind the pressure of representing the host country as its highest-ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking, Hadwin hasn't recorded a top 25 in four months. Again, find a way to fade him whether it’s with Keegan Bradley (-120) at Bet365 or anyone else at a reasonable price. We found Aaron Wise at -106 (Risking 2.12 units to win 2).
#7031 Erik Van Rooyen -102 over Lucas Bjerregaard
Because he accepted Special Temporary Membership and this is his 10th start, Lucas Bjerregaard will officially qualify as a PGA TOUR rookie once he strikes his first tee ball at Hamilton. Bjerregaard is not off the radar, as he’s put himself on the radar with a several strong showings which included a 12th at the Honda Classic, a 4th place finish at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, 21st at the MASTERS and most recently a T16 at the PGA Championship on May 19, which was Bjerregaard’s last event.
Meanwhile, most causal bettors or fans have no idea who Erik Van Rooyen is and some hardcore fans aren’t aware either. The point is that Bjerregaard has so much more market credibility but Pinnacle had no issue with matching up a little known golfer against one that is gaining steam. They also had no problem making Bjerregaard a small and very appealing -114 fav. DO NOT BITE.
Erik van Rooyen is a supremely talented South African that has played mostly on the European Tour. In 2017 he won the Eye of Africa PGA Championship and the Hainan Open. At the PGA Championship two weeks ago, Van Rooyen finished T8. He rarely misses a cut no matter where he plays and if he chooses to attend, you can be damn sure that he likes the course. Van Rooyen is in his prime at 29-years-old and is starting to quietly make a lot of noise. He’s only 90-1 to win this event, which is another indication of the respect he’s getting from oddsmakers. Throw a couple of bucks on him to win and don’t miss him in this H2H (Risking 2.04 units to win 2).
The total risk for this event is 4.96 units and we'll update the results when it's official.
Others to consider for DFS or to win outright:
One of the most high-profile players in the RBC stable, Johnson has something of an obligation to attend the Canadian Open. One might think he goes through the motions in this event, but nothing could be further from the truth. A winner last year, with two other runners-up finishes, DJ tends to bring his best to Canada and that bodes well this week in a field where there are question marks over many. Brooks Koepka, as we know, doesn’t win many non-majors – not a bad problem to have, perhaps – while McIlroy, Kuchar and Thomas all missed the cut in Ohio, in various levels of distress. There are a few other lukewarm contenders but none really get the juices flowing like DJ, who has finished T2 at the Masters and in the PGA Championship within his last three starts. He loves Poa Annua and thrives on the Par 4s, among any other reasons to like his chances this week
When you look at the formlines of short hitters like Austin Cook, it’s easy to misconstrue missed cuts or lowly finishes as a lack of touch. But the reality is that players like the 28-year-old from Little Rock can only shine at certain courses – like Hamilton G&CC. Cook gained strokes on the field in all areas at Muirfield Village, and we particularly like him at layouts like Colonial, where he finished T19 with rounds of 65 and 67. The form is improving, and we’ll suggest that Cook has the recipe for success at Hamilton.
Cauley has to be feeling pretty good and relaxed coming into this one. An Inspiring T9 at Muirfield Village was a season-best finish that all but locked up his card for 2019-20. With that job done, the next objective is to win for the first time. He came within three strokes of champion Scott Piercy at Hamilton in 2012 and this is a course that will highlight Cauley's brilliant short game.
A missed cut at the Memorial last week should not take away from a mini renaissance for Matt Every. He putted terribly in Ohio but his tee-to-green game wasn’t in too bad shape, and that’s a continuation of T2 and T17 finishes at the Byron Nelson and Charles Schwab Challenge. At his best, Every is a strong operator from tee-to-green, and that is evidenced by a return of seven top-25s from 11 starts this term. And as somebody who has twice won at Bay Hill, the only surprise is that he hasn’t gone on to achieve better things in his career. Every ranks 10th in Birdie Average and 39th in Par 4 Scoring Average.
Mix and match any or all of the above with your own to create a DFS roster to look something like the samples below:
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RBC Canadian Open (Risking 4.96 units - To Win: 0.00)