PGA Tour Picks: RBC Canadian Open Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
A little advice from Jack Nicklaus apparently goes a long way!
Patrick Cantlay won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation's best collegiate player in 2011, and he and the Golden Bear have had a relationship ever since. Last Friday morning before Cantlay's round at Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament, Jack gave Cantlay a few words of advice because Nicklaus felt Cantlay was way too talented to have just one career PGA Tour win.
Make that two as Cantlay shot a final-round 64 to win the Memorial by two over Adam Scott and four over 54-hole leader Martin Kaymer. Cantlay's bogey-free 64 was the best-ever final round by a winner at the Memorial. He finished at 19-under 269, and only Tom Lehman's 268 in 1994 was lower at the Memorial. Cantlay also joined Tiger Woods as the only former Nicklaus award winner to win Nicklaus' tournament. It was the fourth straight Top 10 finish this year on Tour for the former UCLA Bruin, and Cantlay is up to No. 8 in the world, a career high. Our winning pick was Scott, so not too shabby.
This week, the PGA Tour takes a rare trip outside the United States for its only stop in Canada: the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Hamilton, Ontario. It's the first time it has been held there since 2012. This tournament, believe it or not, is the oldest continuously-running non-major on Tour as the first Canadian Open was in 1904. Some consider the Canadian Open as part of golf's "Triple Crown" that also includes the U.S. Open and British Open.
Alas, this event can't really catch a break. It had been held the week after the British Open, meaning pretty terrible fields as that's arguably the worst spot on the Tour schedule being not just after a major but the only major golfers have to travel overseas to play.
On the bright side, it's no longer after the British Open but now the week before the U.S. Open - and during the Stanley Cup Finals, although no Canadian clubs (per usual) are playing in that. As part of some PGA Tour schedule changes this year, the Canadian Open has absorbed the spot previously held by the St. Jude Classic. That tournament has shifted after the British Open and has taken over the former WGC event at Firestone. In hopes of attracting a strong field, the purse for this year's Canadian Open was increased from $6.4 million to $7.6 million.
The defending champion, albeit at Glen Abbey Golf Course also in Ontario, is Dustin Johnson. He finished at 23-under 265, three shots clear of the field. He was the first American to win the event since Brandt Snedeker in 2013. When it was last held at Hamilton Golf & Country Club seven years ago, Scott Piercy won at 17-under 263 by a shot over Robert Garrigus and William McGirt. This will be the sixth time the Canadian Open is played at Hamilton G&CC. It's the 100th anniversary of the first one ever held there.
No Canadian has won his national championship since Pat Fletcher in 1954, although Mike Weir came close in 2004, losing in a playoff to Vijay Singh. There are 12 Canadians in the field this year.
Golf Odds: Canadian Open Favorites
Color me a bit surprised that world No. 1 Brooks Koepka (+650) is playing this week ahead of next week's U.S. Open - and the fact he didn't play at the Memorial, which is a bigger tournament. Koepka didn't play this tournament in 2012 when it was at Hamilton. He hasn't teed it up since winning the PGA Championship.
Koepka isn't the Bovada betting favorite: Defending champion Dustin Johnson is at +600. He was No. 1 in the world when he won last year at 23-undeer 265, three clear of the field. Tied for third-round lead with Kevin Tway, Byeong Hun An and Whee Kim, Johnson shot a 6-under 66.
Rory McIlroy is playing this event for the first time and is +1000, while Justin Thomas is +1600 and Matt Kuchar +1800. McIlroy comes off a shocking missed cut last week. Kuchar and Thomas also missed, but at least Thomas had an excuse coming back from injury. Amazingly, Kuchar hasn't missed consecutive cuts in eight years. He was a runner-up in the 2013 Canadian Open.
Golf Odds: Canadian Open Picks
For a Top 10 this week, go with McIlroy (-120), two-time tournament champion Jim Furyk (+400) and Bud Cauley (+450), who was T4 in this event in 2012 and comes off a Top 10. Go Rory (+240) as top European and Kuchar (+1200) as top American.
Head-to-head, I like Sergio Garcia (-135) over Henrik Stenson (+105), Kuchar (+105) over Justin Thomas (-135), Cauley (-150) over Jason Dufner (+115), and McIlroy (-110) over Johnson (-120).
We'll go with Kuchar to win. He has seven Top 10s this year and clearly isn't going to miss the cut after doing so last week. Kuchar also has contended as this tournament a few times, albeit not on this course (34 th in 2012).
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