June 6, 2023, 3:42 pm
The PGA Tour returns after another exciting playoff finish saw Viktor Hovland come from behind and claim his first PGA Tour victory on mainland USA soil. Hovland was able to outlast Denny McCarthy, who at one point had a two-stroke lead on the back nine but was not able to hang on to what would have been his first career Tour victory.
This week the Tour heads north prior to next week’s U.S. Open for the RBC Canadian Open. The Canadian Open is one of the oldest running national opens in the history of golf as this will be the 111th edition of the tournament. This week features a new course to the PGA Tour as the tournament will be played at Oakdale Golf & Country Club.
Rory McIlroy has dominated recently at this event having won the last two editions played in 2022 and 2019 (there was no Canadian Open in 2020 or 2021 due to Covid restrictions). Rory will try to pull of a three-peat at the same event on three different courses over a five-year period, which I can assure you has never been done before.
An interesting note about this event: a Canadian has not won this event since 1954 when Pat Fletcher took the honors. This is probably the strongest collective group of Canadians the Tour has had (Conners, Svensson and Hughes are all winners so far this season) so it will be interesting to see how they perform.
Oakdale Golf and Country Club will be host to a PGA tournament for the first time. The course the professionals will be playing this week is a hodgepodge of three separate 9-hole courses on the property. Located just outside of Toronto, Oakdale will play as a par-72 at just over 7,200 yards. From what I have read up on the course, it will play fairly similar to last year’s host venue at St. George’s Golf & CC.
Fairly thick rough will be protecting the course and penalize those who miss the fairway (although not quite as harshly as last week). The fairways are not particularly flat, which will lead to a lot of uneven lies for golfers to contend with.
The greens are mostly Bentgrass with Poa blended in, as is the case with most greens in the area. The greens also feature a lot of false fronts and are elevated in nature, which could cause some issues around the green for some. The green sizes are below average and will be average in speed for putting.
This week is a non elevated event, but there are some strong names up top, especially Europeans. It is a tough spot on the schedule for this event with a major next week and an elevated event last week (and another elevated event in two weeks), but headlining the field is the aforementioned back-to-back defending champion, Rory McIlroy.
Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Adrian Meronk are some of the top internationals to be in the field this week. RBC sponsored golfers such as Sam Burns, Cam Young and Sahith Theegala will also be making an appearance this week.
This week if also obviously a big week for the Canadian golfers on tour that include Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Adam Svensson, Mackenzie Hughes and DP World Tour staple, Aaron Cockerill.
Note that we are back to a full 156-player field with the traditional cutline of T65 and ties advancing to the weekend.
In addition to the stats listed below this week, I will look at comp course performance as well. Some of these will include Detroit GC, St. George’s Golf & CC, and TPC River Highlands.
Here are the key stats I am considering when building my lineups this week.
- SG: Approach– Iron play is always on this list and forever will be. It is the most correlated long-term stat with success. Golfers will need good approach play to give them ample opportunities to score.
- Birdie or Better Gained– I am projecting somewhere in the 20-under par range for victory this week. That obviously means lots of birdies will be required to be near the top of the leaderboard.
- Proximity 100-175– Playing at just over, 7,200 yards, there will be a lot of wedge shots.
- Fairways Gained- It looks like the rough is going to be one of the main defenses this course will out up this week. Keeping it in the fairways and being able to control distance and spin for birdies attempts will be key.
- SG: Putting- With lots of scoring comes lots of putts made. I will be zeroing in on the 5-10- and 10-15-foot range with the course having smaller than average greens, I expect a majority of birdie and par putts to be from this range.
Follow me on Twitter @mlafem10 for additional thoughts as the week goes on and I’d be happy to help out with any lineup questions you have. Let’s make some money!
Round 1 Props
Thrive Contest Plays for Thursday’s Round 1 Action
Justin Rose 69.5 Stokes: LESS (100 PTS)- Rose has been playing exceptional golf so far this season and I expect that to continue this week. Rose ranks 5th in the field in birdies gained over the last 50 rounds while also being in the top 10 in bogeys avoided. Justin finished 4th in this event last year albeit at a different course, but I do expect this course to play fairly similar. Playing as a par 72, I see no reason why Rose won’t be able to set himself up for a nice week with a round under 69.
Matt Fitzpatrick 3.5 Birdies: MORE (80 PTS)- Fitzpatrick quietly crept into the top ten last week at the Memorial, gaining strokes across the board. A higher-scoring birdie fest is not the ideal setting when thinking to deploy Fitzpatrick, but he is certainly talented enough to eclipse this number. He is a solid driver and can get hot with the putter.
Cam Young 4.5 Birdies + Eagles: MORE (110 PTS)- I picked on Cam Young last week and it proved to be correct. This week however is a completely different set up and one that I think Young can take advantage of. His driving prowess could set him up to overwhelm this course and Young has traditional done quite well on easier courses. The putting can leave a lot to be desired, but his wedge game is top notch in this field and I expect there to be a lot of opportunities for Young to score and we just need a few of them to drop.
Props Record YTD
DFS Top Tier Play
Sam Burns is usually a better bet and DraftKings play. Burns has shown the capability of winning (5 wins in the past two seasons), but he is also very live to blow up and miss the cut by a million. I would not deploy Burns in cash game builds, but for tournaments I am very interested. Burns does his best work on easier courses, which I expect to be the case this week. The ability to fill it up on the greens will be key this week, and while not on Bermuda, he is still a plus putter on any surface. A 4th last year in an arguably top-heavier field on a very similar course set up has me excited to get an ownership discount on Burns to gain leverage on the field. I expect most will either start with Rory or Hatton (or even Rose in more balanced builds), giving us a fairly unique start to our lineups.
Others Considered: Rory McIlroy ($11,500), Cam Young ($9,300)
DFS Mid Tier Play
The former Georgia Bulldog is a birdie maker, and that is the profile of player I am targeting this week. The iron play has been a little shaky as of late, which has led to not-so-shot results, but if we dig a bit deeper, I think there is room for optimism. Mitchell has been almost exclusively playing elevated events with the best players in the world and even with shotty iron play, has been able to find a way to consistently make cuts. The last time Mitchell played in a weaker field event was back in February at Pebble Beach where he finished 4th. The week before that, Mitchell played in a birdie fest that was a non-elevated event at the AMEX where he finished 22nd. Keith’s biggest weapon is the driver and I think he can propel his driving ability to position himself to be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Others Considered: Ludvig Aberg ($8,300), Brendon Todd ($7,900)
DFS Value Play
If I am going to play Robby Shelton, it is going to be on an easier course set up like we have this week. He ranks top 40 in the field in strokes gained total in easy scoring conditions and can be deadly with his wedge play. Shelton ranks inside the top 15 in the field with approaches from 125-150 and 150-175 yards. Shelton also ranks inside the top 20 in the field in SG:APP, which is always a stat this is going to pique my interest. Off the tee can be a bit of adventure with Shelton, but in this price range, everyone is going to have some warts. Shelton has proven the ability to flash some upside with four top 25 finishes this season. Full disclosure, Mark Hubbard would be my first choice in this range, but early ownership reports that he is likely to be quite popular. That’s not to say you can’t roster him, just be careful with your other roster spots if you do.
Others Considered: Nate Lashley ($7,300), Chez Reavie ($7,100)
Sam Burns +1400
Sahith Theegala +3000
Ludvig Aberg +8000
Eric Cole +9000
Mark Hubbard +13000
Sam Bennett +30000
Position Player Name DK Salary G Sam Burns $10,500 G Keith Mitchell $8,900 G Ludvig Aberg $8,300 G Robby Shelton $7,100 G G REMAINING BUDGET $15,200 for 2 golfers