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Fantasy Preview: 2018 RBC Canadian Open

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After an exciting week in Scotland, it’s off to Oakville, Ontario for the RBC Canadian Open. Despite the unfortunate slot on the calendar, a quality field has been assembled this week for this event. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson will no doubt be the main attraction at Glen Abbey as he looks to claim a title that he has come so close to winning in the past. Big names like Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson and Tommy Fleetwood are all in the field too, which should make for an exciting week in Canada.

After the difficulty of Carnoustie last week, Glen Abbey will play entirely different, and you can expect much lower scores. It’s a par-72 measuring over 7,200 yards, and length off the tee will hold a significant advantage this week. One of the reasons for this is the four par-5’s. each of which will be reachable for the longer hitters. There is plenty of room off the tee as well, which will give an even greater advantage to good drivers of the ball. Strokes Gained-Off the Tee and Birdie-or-Better Percentage will be key areas to focus on this week.

Last year, Jhonattan Vegas retained his Canadian Open crown when he defeated Charley Hoffman in a playoff after both men had posted a total of 21-under par.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Dustin Johnson 13/2
  • Brooks Koepka 11/1
  • Tony Finau 16/1
  • Tommy Fleetwood 16/1
  • Bubba Watson 22/1
  • Charley Hoffman 25/1
  • Matt Kuchar 25/1

His high salary and skinny betting odds are sure to turn some people off this week, but Dustin Johnson (7/1, DK Price $11,700) is the man to be on. Johnson has been knocking on the door at Glen Abbey for some time. The World No. 1 has twice finished runner-up here in the past, and last year he finished T8.

Johnson missed the cut last week at The Open Championship, which was his first missed cut on the PGA Tour in over a year. It was one of those weeks for the American, as every putt seemed to graze the hole. He also played the 18th hole dreadfully, dropping five strokes on the finishing hole in two rounds. Johnson may well be able to take his frustration out on Glen Abbey this week, where he has a scoring average of 68.58 over his previous 12 rounds.

Johnson’s play all year has been excellent, and it’s no surprise that over his previous 24 rounds he leads this week’s field in both Strokes Gained-Tee to Green and Strokes Gained-Total. The American is also ranked seventh in Strokes Gained-Putting over the same period. With the number of birdie chances he’s bound to give himself this week, it’s that excellent putting that could well give him the victory this week. Johnson is also No. 1 in the field for Birdie or Better Percentage on par-5’s, and with four gettable par-5’s in play this week, he should be able to take advantage and score heavily. Johnson is the rightful favorite here this week, and I’m taking him to put on an imperious display and finally win the Canadian Open.

Another man with excellent form at Glen Abbey is Charley Hoffman (25/1, DK Price $8,700). Hoffman has finished in the top-20 in his last three visits to Glen Abbey, and last year he came so close to capturing the title before succumbing to Jhonattan Vegas in a playoff. Hoffman will probably feel he should have taken the title, and recent signs are that he may be coming into form at just the right time to launch another attack on this championship.

Hoffman has been showing a resurgence with his game as of late, and he has now recorded four consecutive top-20 finishes worldwide heading into this event. Much of this has to do with the way in which he has been playing the par-4’s. Over his previous 12 rounds, Hoffman ranks fifth in this field for performance on par 4’s. Hoffman is also ranked fifth in this field for Birdies or Better Gained at Glen Abbey over his last 12 rounds, and he has always played the Par 5’s excellently at this event, ranking third in this field for Par-5 Performance over the same period. At $8,700, Hoffman looks tremendous value at a golf course he has always played well.

Keith Mitchell (100/1, DK Price $7,400) comes into this event having recorded a top-10 finish at the John Deere Classic. It was a performance where Mitchell dominated off the tee, and he led the field that week in Strokes Gained-Off the Tee, gaining a massive 5.3 strokes in that department. It’s an aspect that I believe will be of great importance this week, and Mitchell has shown that he can utilize these attributes to compete at Glen Abbey.

Over his previous 12 rounds, Mitchell sits 10th in this field for Strokes Gained-Tee to Green and 18th for Ball Striking. Mitchell has been able to use his excellent play off the tee this season to score on par-5’s, and the American sits 15th in Par-5 Performance over his last 24 rounds. Coming off one of his best performances tee-to-green at the John Deere Classic, it’s worth taking a chance on Mitchell this week on a golf course that should suit his game.

Recommended Plays

  • Dustin Johnson 7/1, DK Price $11,700
  • Charley Hoffman 25/1, DK Price $8,700
  • Keith Mitchell 100/1, DK Price $7,400
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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giancarlomag

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. JR

    Jul 26, 2018 at 3:45 am

    And here’s why you shouldn’t back DJ – 13/2 in a field of over 100. Agree on Hoffman, Koepke and Finau though. My best outsider is Abraham Ancer at 150/1.

    • Fin

      Jul 29, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      Ya missed out JR! Close miss on Ancer all the same.

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