Coming off a riveting Memorial tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus, the PGA Tour returns this week (much like your favorite DFS golf writer) when the players will tee off Thursday at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club. The RBC precedes the 2019 US Open this year, hosting a stronger-than-normal field which includes 4 of the top-6 players in the world. The par 70 course has hosted the tournament 5 times, most recently in 2012 and 2016. A tight course with penalizing rough just off the fairway, this track lends itself as excellent prep for a traditional US Open.
5. Adam Hadwin (Darkhorse)
Arguably the top Canadian for some time now on the PGA Tour, Hadwin has a complete game that should fit nicely at Hamilton. At just 60/1 odds, he’s also a nice mid-level pick to win outright- not to mention you’d be rooting for the “hometown” hero (sorta, he lives in British Columbia technically). With 577 FedEx Cup points, he currently sits in the middle of the pack as race to the playoffs discussions start to heat up with just 2 majors to go (note the early season finish starting this year). Hadwin has made the cut in each of his past 5 starts, and sports a runner-up finish at the Desert Classic back in January. It’s a risky pick, but definitely a fun one to make for the local pro.
4. Matt Kuchar
Kuchar is quietly putting together a career year in 2019, ranking first in the FedEx Cup standings as we pass the midway point of the season. He ranks in the top-10 on Tour in several key stats, including scoring average, greens in regulation, and strokes gained: total. His biggest hinderance this year has been his length off the tee- averaging a hair under 291 yards. However, with Hamilton’s short layout and Kuch’s superb knack for finding the fairway off the tee (70.2% good for 10th on Tour), he is poised to have a great finish this week north of the border. Ignoring a missed cut earlier at the Memorial- Kuch hasn’t finished worse than T12 since THE PLAYERS.
3. Brooks Koepka
Ranked #1 overall in the Official World Golf Rankings, Koepka is in prime form once again leading into golf’s 3rd major of the season next week in California. A common critique is his performances aside from majors, but he has been red hot regardless of the venue as of late. Along with his runner-up finish at the Masters and win at the PGA at Bethpage, Brooks also sports a win at the CJ CUP @ 9 BRIDGES and a T2 at The Honda Classic. He ranks in the top-20 on Tour in SG: off the tee, SG: approach the green, SG: tee to green, and SG: total. However, around the green and on the putting surface he ranks outside the top-100 in many categories. In 2018 he had a 1-putt % of 41.13%- which was good for 30th on Tour. This year, that number has dropped to 38.36% ranking him 146th on Tour. It’ll be interesting if he can get back to his 2018 putting form at Hamilton, who’s greens are similar to Bethpage and Pebble Beach.
2. Rory McIlroy
Every week Rory plays he is a top-3 favorite, but this week is a bit perplexing because he has never included the RBC Canadian Open in his event rotation. However, with the new Tour schedule this event becomes immensely more attractive to highly ranked players, as it can serve as a tune-up ahead of the US Open. While Rory is known for his length off the tee (he is averaging 315 yards – 2nd on Tour), it’s been his strokes gained: approach the green stats that have turned heads. Despite hitting less than 60% of fairways off the tee, he ranks 9th this season in GIR % and and 14th in proximity to the hole. His putting has also been stellar, ranking 16th in putting average at 1.725 and 3 putting just 2.05% of the time. McIlroy’s game looks fantastic heading into this week, coming off a win at THE PLAYERS and great finishes at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, Wells Fargo Championship, and PGA Championship. Look for Rory to make a push this ahead of the 3rd major of 2019.
*Winner Prediction* Dustin Johnson
DJ’s name just comes up at the top (or near the top) of the leaderboard here every season. The 2018 champion, his record here is one of the best that any individual player has at an annual PGA Tour stop: 2017: T8 | 2016: T2 | 2013: T2. The short layout incentivizes DJ to make the most of par 5s, which this year he has done averaging 4.51 strokes (12th on Tour). DJ is also inching towards another major title, as he finished 2nd in both the Masters and PGA Championship this year. Johnson as the defending champ is the favorite, but don’t be surprised if someone else on this list gives him a run for his money.
Erik van Rooyen-100/1
Harold Varner III-150/1
Some sad news to share out of TWN this week- I am currently on vacation in Italy and thus can not set a DraftKings lineup. Apparently the laws change as you go overseas, just like when you go across state lines back in the US. I will make up for it next week with multiple DFS lineups for the US Open. Ciao!