This week the PGA Tour heads to Glenn Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ontario for the RBC Canadian Open. From here on out, I’ll be covering where the Tour stops, and discussing the course, the field, and some players that I think will have a good chance at winning.
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Glenn Abbey Golf Course is a par 72 course that plays just under 7,300 yards, so it is incredibly short. It has 4 par 3’s, 10 par 4’s, and 4 par 5’s. Two of the par 3’s, holes 7 and 15, play less than 160 yards with the longest being hole 12 at 202 yards. This coupled with the fact that all but 4 of the par 4’s are between 400 and 450 yards means that it’s going to be extremely important that the players have their short irons dialed in. This is especially true for the bombers of the field, which I’ll get to in a minute. The par 5’s (holes 2, 13, 16, and 18) are 527, 558, 516, and 524 yards respectively, so for the longer hitters there’s not a green that can’t be reached in two. The only threats are the bunkers that are placed where the landing zones are, and the creek that could potentially come into play in almost every hole. Last year, many of the long ball hitters weren’t effected much by the rough, but the rough is much thicker around the bunkers so avoiding those areas altogether would be ideal.
The field this week has 156 players featuring world number 1 Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, and Jhonattan Vegas who is trying to be the first player since 2011 to win back-to-back-to-back tournaments. The top 70 players and ties will make the cut after the first 2 rounds. The heavy hitters, such as DJ, Bubba, Tommy Fleetwood, Koepka, and Finau will have a slight advantage over the rest of the field because they’ll be able to take wedges into the greens on the par 4’s which should put them in prime scoring position. However, since the course is so short, more precise yet shorter hitters will also be competitive since they are generally more consistent with approaches specifically and will be more capable of taking on the water and bunkers and going for the flag.
In this section I’ll pick three players that I think will have a chance at taking home a victory this week from 3 different tiers. In the top tier we have players such as DJ, Koepka, Fleetwood, Garcia, Finau, and Bubba. My favorite in this tier might surprise you.. if you know nothing about golf. I’m choosing Dustin Johnson. DJ finished T-8 and T-2 in the Canadian Open the past 2 years and has managed to always be in contention here. The only thing that his record at the Canadian Open is missing is a first place finish, and playing the way he’s been playing (with the exception of this past weeks Open performance) I believe he can do it.
In the middle tier we have players like Wesley Bryan, Keegan Bradley, and Billy Horschel in which I’m taking Keegan Bradley. Bradley is twelfth on Tour in strokes gained tee-to-green and second in strokes gained approach. He is also thirty-nineth in greens in regulation between 125 and 150 yards which is important from the fairways on the par 4’s and also off the tee on the shorter par 3’s. He’s also T-37 in GIR from 200+ yards which should give him the upper hand over most of the field in the par 5’s as well, so I’m looking for Keegan Bradley to end up near the top of the leaderboard.
In the bottom tier, I’m choosing Harold Varner III pretty much based on his recent form. He’s found himself in the top-ten in the past 2 events he’s played and arguably had a chance to win at the Greenbrier until he lost it on a couple of holes on Sunday. He’s improved significantly off the tee, and if he can manage to stick his approach shots like he did at the past two events and get his putter working, I could see him finishing in the top-twenty this week.
A short, easy course with a star studded field of bombers should make for an interesting week and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the winning score ended up be twenty under, or something close to it. Keep your eyes on DJ, Bradley, and HV III this week as I think they’ll be names that we’ll be seeing a lot of.