Frazzled previews the 2016 RBC Canadian Open from Glen Abbey Golf Club and he has selections of Jim Furyk, Roberto Castro, Michael Thompson and KJ Choi.
Event & Venue:
The 107th edition of the Canadian Open takes place this week and once again under the sponsorship of the Royal Bank of Canada it has attracted quite a high quality field with 5 of the Top 25 in the World rankings taking part. However with the PGA Championship at Baltsurol just one week away, it is understandable that many golfers will take the chance to recharge after The Open Championship at Royal Troon which provides us with what was the most memorable duel that we have ever seen on the final day of a golf major.
This is the 28th time that the Open will be staged at the Glen Abbey Golf Club, Oakville, Ontario. The Glen Abbey venue was the first solo design by Jack Nicklaus, completed in 1976 and opened in 1977. It hosted 22 straight editions of this National Open until the Royal Canadian Golf Association decided to rotate venues from 2010 onwards and it takes over from Royal Montreal Golf Club, which hosted the event won by Tim Clark last year.
Brandt Snedeker won here in 2013, when the headlines were grabbed by the decision of Hunter Mahan to withdraw, when seemingly in control of the event, as his wife was having a baby. It returned here last year and Jason Day landed a nice bet for us at 14/1 and also the victory sparked a run of form that saw him win the PGA Championship followed by a host of other titles since. However, Day will be looking to bounce back here after a disappointing Open Championship and throwing away the WGC Bridgestone Invitational over the final few holes.
Course Characteristics & Requirements:
Glen Abbey is a classic design with tree lined fairways of average width and has a number of elevation changes with "Valley Holes" on the back 9 between the 11th and 16th holes, including the "Sixteen Mile Creek" stretch between the 13th and 15th. It measures 7,253 yards and plays to a Par of 72. The course was renovated prior to the 2004 renewal of this event and was lengthened by over 100 yards and toughened up. However there are still plenty of birdies to be found but accurate tee to green play is essential given that the greens are below average size and are set to run to a faster 12.5 on the stimpmeter this week.
All of the greens are now bentgrass after 8 were changed prior to the 2015 renewal and the remainder were altered after last year's event. This might change the dynamic a little with the different surfaces and last year's leaderboard illustrated that putting was important with winner Day finishing 3rd in Putting Average, runner up Bubba Watson finishing 7th and other like 3rd placed David Hearn and 7th placed Charley Hoffman also ranking in the Top 10 in this category. Course form has correlated quite well with tracks such as Riviera, home of the Northern Trust Open and Torrey Pines, which is the hole of the Farmers Insurance Open. Whether that link remains as strong, with tthe changes in the putting surfaces is debatable, but form at these venues is still worth noting, while form at other Jack Nicklaus designs is also something to pay close attention to, as players do tend to play well at multiple Nicklaus tracks.
This is a venue where low scoring has been needed to contend and the winning scores of 017 by Jason Day last year, -16 by Snedeker in 2013 and scores of -18 by Nathan Green in 2009 and -17 by Chaz Reavie in 2008, are likely to be needed again. The scoring may well be lower than this as the weather is set to be warm, but with plenty of rain forecast and some thunderstorms. Whether this results in reduced event is questionable, but with the greens likely to be more receptive to approach shots, we could see something like -20 being needed to win this week. This is a course that yielded 92 eagles last year, which was the most at any venue since 2008 and with the longest of the Par 5 holes being 558 yards, they are only out of reach for the very shortest hitters. However many of the Par 4 holes measure in excess of 430 yards, so power off the tee should still confer an advantage as approach shots into these relatively small greens will be easier the further down the bag you can go. This is a venue however where a hot week with the putter is likely to be crucial, as was evidenced last year and we will mix our selections between excellent putters and those that can find the greens with regularity and who will hopefully have a big week with the flat stick.
With the PGA Championship next week, we are reluctant to select players that will surely have their eye on that prize and with Jason Day fitting into that category and also not impressing when defending titles so far, we will pass him over, as we will do with Dustin Johnson, who must surely be focused on winning his second major in a row.
Jim Furyk is a Canadian Open specialist and looks overpriced this week on the back of what proved to be a disappointing Open Championship at Royal Troon, which followed a poor display at Firestone, where he had previously performed very well.
However prior to those efforts, he had returned from injury with very impressive showings when second in the US Open and 21st in the Quicken Loans National, despite an opening 73 leaving him with plenty of ground to make up.
Furyk is a dual winner of this event in 2006 and 2007 and he was 9th at this venue in 2013. He also justified our each way selection last year with a 4th place finish in the event, so he clearly has both event form and very solid form at Glen Abbey. Last year he played the Par 4 holes better than anyone with a -6 score, but gave strokes away on the Par 3s and that ultimately cost him.He is going to have to raise his game from the last few weeks, but we are getting a bigger price here (16/1 advised last year) than we would have been if he arrived here on the back of a very strong display in The Open and with that in mind, he is worth backing at 28/1 with Bet365, although the the 25/1 with Paddy Power (7 places each way) might be preferable for some people.
1.75 points each way Jim Furyk at 28/1 with Bet365
Roberto Castro is our first pick in the First Round Leader market as well as an interest outright, as he is a player that can make some extremely fast starts to tournaments and has some very solid course form, which includes a 67th place finish in 2013. He is also having a very solid year and has risen to 104 in the latest World Rankings after recent displays which have included a 2nd in the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow, 11th in The Memorial Tournament at "Jack's Place" and last week's 11th in the Barbasol Championship. He has also finished 8th in the AT&T at Pebble Beach and 4th in the Sanderson Farms and he has secured his spot at the PGA Championship next week, so there is very little pressure on him.
Castro ranks 27th in Round 1 Scoring Average and over the past number of years, he has flew from the boxes with opening rounds that have included 62 in this season's Sanderson Farms. The last season he was in comparable form was in 2013, when he opened with 65 in Phoenix, 63 in the Humana and when he led the field in The Players Championship after Round 1 and also 66 in the AT&T National and 65 in the Deutsche Bank. He has an excellent tee to green game and ranks 10th in Driving Accuracy, 13th in GIR and 22nd in Strikes Gained Tee to Green. His putting has also improved and he ranks 72nd in Putting Average, while he is 38th in Par Breakers. He is in the mould of a player this week that has all the tee to green attributes and we are simply looking for a good week on the greens to see him go very close. He looks a big price at 80/1 with Paddy Power to be first round leader and he is also worth a decent each way bet with Boylesports or BetVictor at 80/1 in the outright market, with the lack of emphasis on driving distance very much in his favour.
1.25 points each way Roberto Castro - Outright win at 80/1 with Boylesports and BetVictor
1.25 points each way Roberto Castro - First Round Leader at 80/1 with Paddy Power (7 places each way)
KJ is our 3rd pick this week as the 8 time PGA Tour winner showed signs that he is on his way back to form after a little mid season slump. He was in outstanding form at the beginning of the season, with finishes that included and in the Farmers Insurance Open and 5th in the Northern Trust (link noted above), but he has shown little from last February until he posted a 20th in the Barbasol Championship last week. This was after he opened with a pedestrian 72, but closed with an excellent 63, which should have provided him with huge encouragement for this week.
Like Castro, the lack of emphasis on length off the tee will be very much in his favour and his putting and around the green skills could be very important this week. He ranks 18th in Scrambling, 33rd in Strokes Gained Putting and his driving accuracy of 20th should mean that he gets to approach most of the greens from the fairway. He also has winning form on Nicklaus designs, with a win in the 2007 Memorial Tournament and last week's closing finish does not seem to have been picked up by the market. He looks a decent each way bet at 150/1 with Boylesports, while 5/1 for a Top 20 Finish also looks reasonable.
1 point each way KJ Choi - Outright win at 150/1 with Boylesports
1 point win KJ Choi - Top 20 Finish at 5/1 with Bet365 and Skybet
Michael Thompson is very interesting this week, given that he badly needs another solid finish to try and secure his card and make the Fedex Cup playoffs and he arrives here on the back of a very encouraging display in the Barbasol Championship, where after an opening 72, he finished with rounds of 64, 68 and 65 to finish 4th. This is not typical of a player that ranks 38th in Round 1 Scoring, but who can tend to fall away as a tournament progresses.
Thompson has some excellent form on Jack Nicklaus designed courses and they include the following;
- 1st in the Honda Classic in 2013 to give him his sole PGA Tour win
- 2nd in the 2015 Hotel Fitness Championship on the Web.com Tour at the Nicklaus designed Sycamore Hills venue.
- 8th in the 2013 Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village
He has also secured an 11th in the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open and has been 17th in the Northern Trust in the past.
With this week in mind, it is encouraging to see Thompson ranking 48th in Putting Average, 30th in Par 5 Scoring Average and also 22nd in Par Breakers and 30th in the important Eagles per hole category. He may come up short again, but you are getting a huge price on him to compensate for this. We will play him in the First Round Leader market and also have a small interest each way and in the Top 20 Finish markets.
0.75 points each way Michael Thompson - First Round Leader at 150/1 with Skybet
0.5 points each way Michael Thompson - Outright win at 200/1 with Betfred and Bet365
1 point win Michael Thompson - Top 20 Finish at 7/1 with Betfred and Skybet