This week we visit our neighbors to the North for the third longest running tournament on Tour, The Canadian Open. Once considered to be the unofficial fifth major in golf it has since lost clout when it was moved to September but is now located in July, although it is sandwiched between several higher profile events. Glen Abbey Golf Course has hosted the most Canadian Opens to date (29) and will be the host again this year. Holes 11 through 15 are known as the signature “Valley Holes” with Sixteen Mile Creek winding through to add more difficulty to the changing elevation.
Glen Abbey is a par 72 Jack Nicklaus design that plays just over 7,250 yards. There doesn’t seem to be any one particular formula when it comes to tackling this course. It plays somewhat tough off the tees so length will help but accuracy can balance you out if you don’t play quite as far. Jhonattan Vegas has won here back-to-back years and pounds the ball but isn’t exactly a sharp shooter when it comes to finding fairways.
Finding greens is also important, especially because a lot of them are protected by bunkers, but if you can scramble and have nice touch around the greens you can keep yourself in it. Also, trees and water will be obstacles on a few of the holes which makes accuracy and recovery crucial. Scoring chances are typically abundant with the leader reaching -20 on occasion and with 3 of the last 6 holes being par 5’s a late push for the win could be in the cards.
With one of the tougher holes on tour (the par 4 14th) and more hazards than last week, being able to avoid bogeys will be big. Also the cut line was at -3 last year so getting birdies or better will help golfers advance to the weekend. Typically success here is determined by a good overall game and especially by having a hot putter.
For what it’s worth 5 out of the 6 holes that aren’t straight will bend to the right, so Glen Abbey favors those that have a natural fade.
- SG: Tee to Green
- Driving Distance
- Birdie or Better
- SG: Putting
- Bogey Avoidance
- Driving Accuracy
We’re in the midst of a good stretch of golf from The Open, The Canadian Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and then the PGA Championship, so the positioning of this tournament and the historic prestige helps draw some bigger names. World number one Dustin Johnson will look for redemption from his missed cut at The Open last week. Other notable golfers include Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Bubba Watson, Tony Finau, Matt Kuchar, and the defending champ who’s looking to make it three straight, Jhonattan Vegas.
Big Dogs (8,700 and up on DraftKings)
- Dustin Johnson – in his last three tries here DJ finished 2nd, 2nd, and 8th. He missed the cut at The Open last week but he’ll be hungry for another top 10.
- Brooks Koepka – he might not be as good at getting to the green as the other four guys in this category but he is 6th in birdie or better and has an excellent game all around.
- Tommy Fleetwood – not the best at avoiding bogeys and scrambling, 142nd and 160th respectively, but he’s 2nd only to Dustin Johnson in this field at gaining stroke from tee to green and is coming off a 12th place finish at The Open.
- Tony Finau – in all three major tournaments so far this year Tony has been in the top 10. He’s the longest driver in the field which gives him a leg up on the competition and he was 5th here last year.
- Bubba Watson – he’s been very up and down this season, after missing the cut at the U.S. Open he won the Travelers Championship. Now he’s coming off another missed cut and looking to rebound yet again. In 2015 Bubba finished 2nd here so it’s a course that he knows how to navigate.
- Charley Hoffman – he’s in great form as of late and has a very good track record here. In his last four attempts Charley hasn’t placed worse than 20th, and his last three times here he hasn’t been worse than 16th.
- Matt Kuchar – in his last four times playing here he’s been 32nd, 9th, 7th, and 2nd. He’s definitely got a high floor but being 167th in length off the tee puts a lot of pressure on the rest of his game at this course, but the rest of his game is pretty darn good.
- Gary Woodland – last year at the Canadian Open Gary finished 4th which makes sense because this course fits his playing style. 10th in driving distance and 41st in stroke gained tee to green means he should set himself up for a lot of birdie attempts.
- J.B. Holmes – he’s missed his last two cuts but before that he finished 2nd, 3rd, and 13th in the three prior events. Just like Woodland, J.B. is long off the tee (26th) and good at getting from the tee to the green (35th).
Value (8,600 – 7,300 on DraftKings)
- Keegan Bradley – he’s 12th at gaining strokes from tee to green, T42 in driving distance but 199th at strokes gained putting. Last year he was 14th here so if he figures out his putter he will be dangerous.
- Byeong-Hun An – in his last six events he’s only missed the cut once and he’s 20th in driving distance and 21st in strokes gained tee to green. Ben An hasn’t played here yet but Glen Abbey should fit his game.
- Jamie Lovemark – he’s made his last four cuts and is in the top 50 in SG: tee to green, driving distance, and bogey avoidance.
- Chris Kirk – a very safe pick, Kirk is in good form with three of his last four events being in the top 25. He’s also tied for 9th at bogey avoidance, 14th at scrambling, 30th SG: tee to green, and 46th at birdie or better.
- Joel Dahmen – his last three starts have been 2nd, 5th, and 23rd. This year he’s 17th best at avoiding bogeys. Dahmen’s recent performance helps you overlook the fact that he was 144th here last year.
- Keith Mitchell – being 7th in driving distance and T12 at birdie or better, Mitchell is exactly the type of player that could make a deep run here. He’s also coming off a 7th place finish at the John Deere Classic.
- Brandt Snedeker – in his last five events he has two top 10’s and the last three times at this course he finished 5th, 1st, and 5th. The potential is certainly there but this year he is 136th in driving distance and 143rd in birdie or better.
- Ollie Schniederjans – he finished 22nd here several years ago and is coming off a 32nd and 26th place in his last two tournaments. He’s decently long off the tee (T56) and good at getting scoring opportunities (T41 birdie or better).
- Kevin Tway – out of his last seven tournaments he has three top 10’s and Tway bombs the ball off the tee (13th in driving distance). This could be another tournament where he has a chance to see the top of a leader board.
- Jhonattan Vegas – he’s won it back-to-back years and only puts you back $7,500. Nobody knows how he does it but what the heck, it might be worth taking the chance.
- Nick Watney – at 17th longest off the tee on tour and the fact that he’s done decent here in the past means he could definitely do well here again. He’s also only missed one of his last five cuts.
Sleepers (7,200 and under on DraftKings)
- Troy Merritt – coming off a win at the Barbasol Championship, which I hardly look at because my grandma could post a top 25 there, Merritt definitely has momentum on his side. It helps that he’s T49 in birdie or better.
- Martin Laird – his game matches pretty well with this course and two years ago he finished 2nd here. He did miss his last two cuts but by a thin margin.
- J.T. Poston – he’s made six of his last seven cuts and plays with a well-rounded skill set including a knack for avoiding bogeys (22nd).
- Stewart Cink – at this course he has a 5th place finish and in his last four events he hasn’t finished worse than 24th. What will help him here is his ability to get from the tee to the green efficiently (40th).
- Harold Varner III – coming off a 5th and 6th place finish, Varner certainly has a full head of steam. He was 23rd here last year and is 18th on the tour in driving distance.
- Sam Ryder – his last tournament was the John Deere Classic where he carded a 2nd place finish. Ryder hasn’t played here but he’s 19th at bogey avoidance and T52 at birdie or better.
- James Hahn – apparently Hahn likes playing at this course because his last two times here he finished 10th and 11th. At SG: putting he’s 128th but everywhere else he’s pretty solid.
- Alex Cejka – in his last four tournaments he hasn’t placed outside of 40th. He’s T183 at driving distance but has seen success at this course finishing 5th two years ago.
- Corey Conners – he hasn’t played particularly well here but in his last seven events he’s only missed the cut once. He’s long of the tee (T38) and decent at getting from tee to green (51st).
- Brandon Harkins – Hark missed his last cut but before that had four straight events where he was inside the top 40. He’s also 36th in driving distance and 16th at birdie or better.
- Seamus Powers – last year Seamus was 10th here and he placed 16th at the John Deere Classic. He’s long off the tee (T38) and has an excellent putter (T14 at SG: putting).
- Robert Garrigus – last year he was 5th here and in his last five events he has made three cuts, each of which he placed 30th or better. He’s also T21 at driving distance.
- Jason Kokrak – another long ball hitter (14th) Kokrak has a shot to make waves. He finished 3rd at the Greenbrier and is also ranked T49 at birdie or better and 61st at SG: tee to green.
- Sam Saunders – right behind Kokrak at the Greenbrier, Saunders finished in 5th. Last year he was 19th here and two years before that he was 22nd. Clearly he’s familiar with this course and he’s T25 in birdie or better so another top 25 at Glen Abbey wouldn’t be surprising.
- Mackenzie Hughes – I don’t like his stat line too much but last year he was the low Canadian at this event and he’s coming off a 13th and 16th place finish so why not roll the ole dice aye?
For a list of projected winners, see Mark’s article on pgadfsgolf.wordpress.com.
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