This article is part of our Yahoo PGA DFS Picks series.
RBC Canadian Open
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Oakdale Golf and Country Club - Par 72 - 7,264 yards
Field - 156 entrants
Purse - $9M
The entire landscape of international golf once again overshadows the RBC Canadian Open after Tuesday's remarkable announcement of an agreement between LIV and the PGA Tour sent our world into a frenzy, but preparations at Oakdale Golf and Country Club ensue as the Toronto venue earns hosting duties for the first time ever.
Handicapping a 156-man field becomes even trickier with an unfamiliar site involved, but we do expect this course's primary defense to be the five-inch rough that lines its fairways, thus placing an emphasis on driving accuracy, though players should be able to keep driver in the bag often with five sub-400 yard par-4s littering the scorecard. A potentially difficult front nine includes a stretch of four par-4s from holes 3-6 that each measure at least 463 yards, but a scoreable back nine features a pair of reachable par-5s and plenty of birdie or better opportunities. Per usual, approach play will be paramount. As for the weather, cool temperatures and the possibility for scattered showers exist early in the week before the wind is slated to strengthen near the finish line Sunday afternoon.
2022 - Rory McIlroy (St. George's G&CC)
2021 - None
2020 - None
2019 - Rory McIlroy (Hamilton G&CC)
2018 - Dustin Johnson (Glen Abbey GC)
2017 - Jhonattan Vegas (Glen Abbey GC)
2016 - Jhonattan Vegas (Glen Abbey GC)
2015 - Jason Day (Glen Abbey GC)
2014 - Tim Clark (Royal Montreal GC)
2013 - Brandt Snedeker (Glen Abbey GC)
Key Stats to Victory
Birdie or Better percentage
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Sam Burns - $46
Burns rebounded from back-to-back missed cuts at the Wells Fargo Championship and the PGA Championship by posting consecutive top-20s at the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Memorial Tournament, but I still expect him to come in slightly under-owned this week with names like Rory McIlroy ($50), Justin Rose ($47) and Tommy Fleetwood ($45) getting a ton of buzz. Burns easily is top-3 among this field in terms of win equity, and he just racked up 18 birdies on a difficult Muirfield Village track, rising to third in Birdies or Better Gained over his last 24 measured rounds. During this stretch, he's also ninth in SG: Putting and seventh in par-5 efficiency.
Tyrrell Hatton - $45
Hatton's been so solid across the board en route to five straight top-20s since the RBC Heritage, most recently tying for 12th at the Memorial Tournament where he gained a season-high 5.6 strokes putting. Over his past 24 rounds, he's second to none in par-4 scoring, seventh in SG: Approach and ninth in BoB Gained. Additionally, he's gained at least a stroke off the tee in every single measured event he's played this season. The Englishman probably warranted a $47 or $48 salary this week.
Shane Lowry - $44
Much like Burns, I don't think Lowry will get the attention he might deserve in lineups here, especially with Canadian hero Corey Conners sitting right there at a dollar discount below the burly Irishman. The concern with Lowry is that he won't be able to make enough putts to contend if this turns into some sort of 20-under-par birdie fest, given he's outside the top-120 in both SG: Putting and putting from 5-10 feet over his last 24 rounds. However, he's top-5 in SG: APP and overall proximity during this span, and he gained a collective 14.6 strokes from tee to green across his last two outings.
Chez Reavie - $32
The 41-year-old's lack of distance off the tee shouldn't be too bothersome at Oakdale, and the flat stick has been hot for Reavie as he ranks No. 1 in both SG: Putting and putting from 5-10 feet over his last 24 rounds. He's also seventh in overall proximity within this sample, and he's been especially strong with his irons from 175-plus yards, which helps combat the aforementioned deficiency in the power department. Reavie is located in a bit of a dead zone on the board -- those who decide against deploying an onslaught of stars and scrubs will find themselves flocking to a lot of popular plays in the $28-$30 (e.g. Lipsky/Hodges/Martin) and $34-$36 (e.g. Cole/M. Kim/Hubbard) ranges for their mid-tier options in more balanced builds.
Ben Martin - $30
A reliable Martin won't fly under the radar with just one missed cut throughout his past 10 starts, and he'll model favorably this week as well, thanks in large part to a solid combination of driving accuracy, approach play and par-4 efficiency over his last 24 rounds. I'm comfortable targeting more volatility at reduced rostership in GPPs, so Martin would profile better as a cash-game consideration for me.
Akshay Bhatia - $30
Returning to the topic of volatility, Bhatia might be more susceptible to a missed cut than Martin, but I believe the former's ceiling is a win at this point, which is that much more rewarding at potentially lower rostership as Bhatia comes off an MC in Ohio where he still managed to gain over two strokes off the tee though just 36 holes. Over his last 24 rounds, Bhatia is fourth in eagle rate and 14th in Opportunities Gained, correlating nicely with DFS upside, particularly in GPPs where features like streak bonuses are necessary for top-1% outcomes.
Aaron Cockerill - $28
Cockerill's DP World Tour results being hidden from Yahoo's Game Log is a blessing in disguise, because plenty of casual gamers would love to see the T13-2-T21-T16-T10 stretch of finishes from the Jonsson Workwear Open through the Soudal Open when clicking on the Canadian. On the DPWT this season, he's fifth in stroke average, eighth in putts per GIR and 17th in driving accuracy. From a betting perspective, I think he's certainly live for Top Canadian honors this week, which can be found at 16-1, and there's a massive drop-off in talent below him in that market.
Carson Young - $24
Young has gained strokes both approaching the green and with the flat stick in five consecutive starts from the RBC Heritage through the Charles Schwab Challenge, notably notching top-25 results in four of those outings. I project him to be the highest-rostered player among a pretty weak $21-$27 range, however, so you might have to eat the chalk with Young here as he fits into both stars/scrubs and balanced lineups.
Ludvig Aberg - $20
Delving into the minimum $20 salary, we find a not-so-hidden gem in the form of Aberg, who's secured fully exempt status through the 2023-24 season thanks to his finish atop the PGA Tour University Rankings. Before turning pro this week, the top-ranked amateur recently joined Jon Rahm as the only collegiate golfers to win the Ben Hogan Award twice. Aberg gained an impressive 3.1 strokes on approach in his most recent appearance at the PGA Tour level at March's Valspar Championship.
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