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Handicapping

The RBC Canadian Open Predictions

Event: RBC Canadian Open
When: July 27-30, 2017
Where: Glen Abbey GC – Oakville, ON
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by: Evergreen of Predictem.com

We are just about through July and we already have three Majors in the rear view so it is crunch time for the PGA Tour as it heads into the run-up for the FedExCup Playoffs. Those players that have had a down year and still need a couple good showings to get inside the cut line for the first playoff event are running out of chances but it only takes one win to get in and the field is wide open this week at the RBC Canadian Open. Dustin Johnson is the heavy hitter teeing it up this week with Open runner-up Matt Kuchar also favored to contend. No Canadian player has won their national championship since 1954 but there are plenty that think that streak could be broken with guys like Graham DeLaet, Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor all playing well. Most of the big named Euro players are staying home for another week or two so this field is heavy on American players but that has not stopped a recent run of dominance by the international contingent. Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela) is the defending champ with Aussie Jason Day winning in 2015 and South African Tim Clark getting the W in 2014.

The Canadian Open has used a rotation of host courses since its inception back in 1904. Glen Abbey has hosted the most of any course and will see its 29th Open this week. The 7,253 yard, par-72 layout was Jack Nicklaus’ first solo project and, like most other Nicklaus courses, has seen continuous change over the years. What has not changed since the late 1970’s is the signature valley portion of the course that descends to the valley floor before coming back up and is bordered by a creek that serves as a hazard on holes in that stretch. The course provides a high-scoring environment in most years but players will be challenged to hit greens that are smaller than average by Tour standards. Those that can hit the greens will have quality birdie looks almost by default and many will fall as most greens at Abbey are notoriously easy to read and roll true. The overall vibe of the course is very recognizable as a standard Midwest style with tree-lined fairways and Jack made good use of both fairway and greenside bunkers. There have been years where the scores have been down due to blustery summer winds but this will be a shootout in the absence of noteworthy weather conditions.

Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the players that we think can win it all. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at Bovada Sportsbook (50% bonus up to $250 FREE and your credit card will work there!). Here are our picks to win the 2017 RBC Canadian Open.

Charley Hoffman (20 to 1 odds to win)

DJ and Kuchar will almost certainly be factors this week but Hoffman is the first guy on my list to provide some actual value. He has been consistent in 2017 with eleven top-25 finishes overall, including a runner-up and third place run. He has been no worse than 22nd in any of the three Majors and has moved to 38th in the world ranks. He enters the week at the 13th best performer in off-the-tee metrics and has the 3rd most total birdies so far behind a top-45 GIR putting average. Charley has never been a standout in any one category but he is above average in length, scores well on par-5’s and can attack a course where some others are forced to lay-up. He is a solid overall player that has strong results in full field evets this season, maybe a bit weaker field means a win?

Tony Finau (25 to 1)

Finau is one of the longest players in this week’s field and he uses that length to set up easy approaches. That formula has worked as he enters the Canadian Open as the 6th best in terms of greens hit and he has putted well enough to lead the Tour in total birdies to this point. Tony is top-15 in both birdie and scoring average and is top-8 in both off the tee and tee to green metrics. He really has all the angles covered to be a consistent contender but still struggles with some poorly timed mistakes. He is riding a streak of eight straight made cuts so perhaps those mistakes are being phased out as the year goes on and Finau will have a couple of contending runs through the rest of the season.

Ian Poulter (40 to 1)

Poulter fought well at Royal Birkdale last week on his way to a T14. That is a solid showing but what really stood out to me was that Ian was very disappointed in his performance. Considering he was one week away from losing his fully exempt status about two month ago, you might think any positive result would be welcomed. That does not appear the case with Poults and he seems to have that fire to return to his top form, one that has produced numerous wins on all Tours. His lone chance came at the Players this year where he wound up T2 but he has shored up much of his game and has only missed two cuts since the calendar flipped to 2017. He is a solid 11th in tee to green performance but really shines on and around the greens where he ranks 2nd in scrambling and 3rd in bunker play. He makes the most of his rounds and limits his mistakes to produce the 22nd best scoring average despite being outside the top-125 in birdies per round.

Head-to-Head Matches

Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with 5Dimes Sportsbook for the best array of single round matches and a the best variety of prop bets.

Keegan Bradley v. Graham DeLaet (pick to win: Bradley)

The gut pick here is to take DeLaet as he will have full support of the galleries and his proficient iron play puts him near the top of the field in that category. He just hasn’t played well in Canadian Opens however, perhaps buckling under the stress of trying to win one for the home team. Bradley won hypothetical matchup in each of the last two tournaments they both have played in and by quite large margins so the recent results are with Keegan. Bradley also hits a few more fairways on average and averages the same amount of birdies per round despite DeLaet being the better putter. Bradley is doing a bit more with less on the stat sheet, especially as of late, and I think that is a good sign for another quality week for him while Graham will have to deal with the weight of a nation on his mind.

Keegan Bradley v. Graham DeLaet (pick to win: Bradley)
Kevin Chappell v. Chez Reavie (pick to win: Reavie)

Both of these journeyman pros have has quiet but nice seasons with some really nice results in Majors for each as well. Reavie is the pick here based on his better performance rates at hitting fairways and greens as well as edges in putting and scoring. Chappell is the longer player and can challenge the course a bit more but Glen Abbey is not so long as to eliminate the shorter hitters and any Jack designed course will require a full bag, not just the long ball. Chez is also the better scrambler of the two and should be able to grind out a few more tough pars through the week and get the win here.

Good luck and good golf.

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