PGA DFS RBC Canadian Open Preview

If you need PGA DFS to preoccupy yourself while the NBA drags the finals out to the end of the summer, you’re in luck! As always, my goal each week is to offer targets in each price range, identifying two to three low-cost/reasonable floor targets as core pieces for all my lineups.

In DFS golf, it’s all about getting your guys to the weekend, first and foremost. Generally, I will fill out my roster with guys in the $7,100-$9,000 range. The factors I consider are event history, course layout versus player strengths, recent form, and prime bounce back candidates who are playing well, but happened to miss the cut the prior week.

One factor does not necessarily outweigh another. And, like any good speculative decision-making process, instincts always play a role. Of course there’s my personal favorite factor–as is the same with other fringe DFS sports–the DK pricing model has no clue what the fuck it is doing!

All that in mind, let’s take a look at the RBC Canadian Open (CO) information to clarify some unique characteristics that you may want to consider before lineups lock.

Event Information

Course: Hamilton Golf & Country Club  Ancaster, Ontario  Par 70  Yardage 7,000

The new PGA Tour schedule effective this season has moved the CO from a late July event each year, to what will now be the annual precursor to golf’s third major championship of the season, the US Open. This year specifically, the CO returns to Hamilton CC where is hasn’t played host since 2012.

Just so we have some reference for how long ago that was, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. During that year, The Artist beat out an underwhelming group of movies, including The Help and Moneyball, for the Best Picture Oscar.

Canadian singer, Carly Rae Jepsen, poses for photographs following an APTN interview at the Landmark Hotel, London. Thursday, April 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short)

Canada’s own, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” finished the year as the number two song on the Top 100 Billboard charts. LeBron James was winning his first NBA title with the Miami Heat. And, Eli Manning slayed the mighty Patriots for his second Super Bowl win over TB12 in as many tries. I was just graduating from college, and still had hair.

Yep. 2012 was a loooooooooong time ago. Needless to say, course history and past statistical data is going to be tough to weigh when breaking down this year’s CO, from a fantasy or gambling perspective. But, that certainly isn’t going to stop degenerates like yours truly. Here are the past seven CO winners and their scores:

Year Course Player To Par
2018 Glen Abbey Dustin Johnson -23
2017 Glen Abbey Jhonattan Vegas -21
2016 Glen Abbey Jhonattan Vegas -12
2015 Glen Abbey Jason Day -17
2014 Royal Montreal Tim Clark -17
2013 Glen Abbey Brandt Snedeker -16
2012 Hamilton Scott Piercy -17
Keys to Success

My top two stats to weigh this week in order are:

  1. Strokes Gained: Ball striking (SG: BS)
  2. Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green (SG: T-G)

When there is unfamiliarity and a lack of past performance to draw from, ball striking is my favorite stat to fall back on. It combines a player’s total driving rank (accuracy and distance) with their greens in regulation ranking.

Think of it like the OPS metric for baseball, and quarterback rating for football. Or, perhaps the gigawatt for time travel. The point is that it’s a solid reference point for any player’s performance from the tee box to the green.

A similar metric that will reflect tee-to-green play, relative to other players is the strokes gained metric. With putting being almost every player’s make or break stat week to week, and insufficient historical data, these are the most comprehensive stats to indicate where a player is at with their game. You could make an argument that they should be considered every week, regardless of event history, and/or course setup.

To help sift through the field regarding just the key stats I put the table below together using all data from the official PGA Tour website. It is listed in order of each players’ composite ranking, an average of each players’ ranking in the two key stats for this week. Sort as you wish:

NameSalaryComposite RankBSSG: T-G
Brooks Koepka117006210
Matt Kuchar105009.5415
Rory McIlroy112009.5181
Justin Thomas1000011175
Corey Conners750011.5716
Keegan Bradley850013818
Bubba Watson8900212814
Dustin Johnson1190023.5434
D.J. Trahan670026.51340
Scott Piercy9300311052
Aaron Wise7800311547
Jim Furyk880034.54425
Henrik Stenson910036.54924
Sungjae Im7900373935
Webb Simpson9700395820
Hank Lebioda670039.53544
Ryan Palmer820049.53762
Alex Prugh670055.510101
Matt Every7400605268
Sergio Garcia95006111111
Nick Watney7500634779
Russell Henley7500645573
Talor Gooch7100667557
Dylan Frittelli730066.58449
Joaquin Niemann7700679341
Kramer Hickok7400695286
Bud Cauley840069.510534
Jason Dufner870071.57469
Carlos Ortiz63007231113
Trey Mullinax730072.58461
Kevin Tway770072.58758
Harold Varner III7100747276
Cameron Davis690074.56881
Sebastián Muñoz7200778074
Kyoung-Hoon Lee7400786987
Nate Lashley6700826995
J.J. Spaun70008257107
Sepp Straka680083.545122
J.B. Holmes7600859575
Adam Hadwin83008555115
Adam Schenk68008766108
Josh Teater7000898296
Daniel Berger800097.589106
Ryan Armour72009891105
Danny Willett740010111587
Brice Garnett660010151151
Fabián Gómez650010162140
Adam Svensson6500102.514659
Lucas Bjerregaard800010369137
Alex Noren7700104.575134
Tyler Duncan680010758156
Zach Johnson760010917345
Shawn Stefani7300109.595124
Roberto Castro690011012793
Jim Knous6800110101119
Harris English730011064156
Roger Sloan6800114.5102127
Chase Wright6200114.561168
Scott Stallings7200115.515972
Cameron Tringale7100116111121
Johnson Wagner6800116.567166
Wes Roach6100117.577158
Martin Laird7200118.595142
Bronson Burgoon650011989149
Danny Lee7300120130110
Brandon Harkins7000120.5124117
Scott Brown6700122128116
Jonas Blixt7800124144104
Brandt Snedeker9000124.517970
Hudson Swafford6500125.5125126
Austin Cook8100126106146
Jimmy Walker790012716490
Seth Reeves600012763191
Anders Albertson6000127.5135120
Denny McCarthy7300127.5117138
Ben Silverman6900133.5113154
Jim Herman6100140110170
Nick Taylor7100143163123
J.J. Henry6300146.5140153
David Hearn7000147117177
Graeme McDowell7600149.5138161
Wyndham Clark7000150133167
Tom Hoge6600153.5174133
Roberto Díaz6800153.5142165
Bill Haas7100153.5196111
Brian Harman7600154169139
Peter Uihlein7400154.5140169
Dominic Bozzelli6300155117193
John Chin6000155.5107204
Sam Saunders6600157171143
Peter Malnati7100158.5199118
Julián Etulain6400159.5191128
Mackenzie Hughes7500160.5185136
Sangmoon Bae6600162142182
Brian Gay7200162.5154171
Brady Schnell6700163152174
Richy Werenski6600165170160
Ollie Schniederjans7000167161173
Robert Streb6700168181155
Stephan Jaeger7000169.5189150
Kyle Jones6100175.5162189
Alex Cejka6600178193163
Chris Thompson6000180174186
Jonathan Byrd6600184.5191178
Rod Pampling6100186.5198175
Kelly Kraft6500187194180
Whee Kim6300189178200
Chris Stroud6900189199179
Ben Crane6600189180198
Scott Langley6400189183195
Joey Garber6400189176202
Seamus Power7200189.5195184
Martin Trainer6100190.5185196
José de Jesús Rodríguez6400192197187
Curtis Luck6700203.5202205
Cody Gribble6500204205203
Shane Lowry8600000
Erik Van Rooyen7800000
Luke Donald7100000
Padraig Harrington6900000
Nicholas Lindheim6900000
Zack Sucher6900000
David Lingmerth6900000
Chad Campbell6800000
Brandon Hagy6500000
Ricky Barnes6500000
Austin Connelly6400000
Richard T. Lee6400000
Albin Choi6400000
Collin Morikawa6400000
Mike Weir6300000
Drew Nesbitt6300000
Michael Gligic6300000
Chad Collins6300000
Ryan Yip6200000
Tom Lovelady6200000
Matthew Anderson6200000
Will Claxton6200000
Tyrone Van Aswegen6200000
Jake Knapp6200000
Chris Crisologo6200000
Joseph Deraney6200000
Marc-Etienne Bussieres6100000
Zachary Bauchou6100000
Paul Barjon6100000
Derek Fathauer6100000
Josh Whalen6000000
Colt Knost6000000
Richard Jung6000000
Michael Blair6000000
Martin Piller6000000
Joey Savoie6000000

*player without data have not played in enough PGA events for stats to qualify

Price Range Targets

Chalky McChalkerson (Five figures to 9.1k–9 players)

I had Matt Kuchar all over the place in DFS last week, and paid dearly as he missed his first cut of the season. That brings me to a great PGA DFS lesson: don’t get mad when you miss, tee it up again!

It really isn’t much deeper than the simple law of averages with missed cuts. Even the most consistent guys are typically going to miss a handful every year. The more important factor to weigh, is whether or not it’s the start of a rough patch from a streaky player, i.e. Hideki Matsuyama. Or, just a blip on the radar of what is a very productive season.

In the case of Kuchar, it’s the latter. He’s missed just four cuts in each of the last two seasons. His average finish in his next event has been just above 20, with three of those finishes coming inside the top-10. Shit, you’d have to go back to July of 2011 for the last time Koooooooch actually missed two consecutive cuts!

The point is: cuts happen. Don’t be too angry and/or afraid to run back your misses. Besides, we all want to see if his caddie tipping policy remains consistent outside the USA.

Going on the lower side, Henrik Stenson’s game is great fit for a shorter track like this. He needs to rack up some more top 10s to factor into the FedEx standings. This thin field is a prime opportunity to do just that.

Sweet Spot (9k to 7.1k–52 players)

The DK pricing gods continue to disrespect Canada native, Corey Conners. He wasn’t great at last week’s Memorial, finishing T-65, but quietly made it his fifth check cashed in six starts since his breakthrough win at the Valero Texas Open in April. I expect he’ll be fired up to compete for his homeland’s National Championship.

Im (Source: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Finally getting the DK respect is old man Jim Furyk. At this point, the more shrewd GPP players are likely not sleeping on either him or Conners. For pivot purposes, Sungjae Im and Aaron Wise have a great combination of key stats and price.

Sneaky Low % Owned (7k and below–about 91 players)

There is a lot to unpack from this range. With the CO’s “Open” format, players from all the different developmental tours (, Latin America, Mackenzie, etc..) can earn their way into this field to get a taste of playing with the big boys.

With that type of dynamic, it’s important to identify guys who are more likely to thrive under those circumstances than turtle. That said, I give you Exhibit A: Drew Nesbitt….

As you can see, comfort and self-confidence was not an issue for the Toronto native, in his first PGA start back in March, where he made the cut. The southpaw is also coming off his first professional win on the Latin American Tour.

Another young, ultra talented native is Chris Crisologo. He made some headlines at last year’s CO with a 353 yard drive in his first ever appearance in a PGA event as an amateur. He’ll be back as a professional this year, trying to improve on his T-45 finish from 2018.

Someone else who makes for a very interesting dart throw is Zach Sucher. He bounced between the PGA and minor league tours over the past few seasons before taking all of last year off to deal with some injuries.

Now back and pain-free, he’s starting to find his game. Two of his last three starts were inside the top-5, including a T-2 in last week’s REX Hospital Open. In May, after not appearing on the PGA Tour in nearly two years, he made the cut in both of his starts, including a T-35 at the Byron Nelson, his second best career finish in 35 PGA Tour starts.

A couple of other guys who should be eager to tee it up are Paul Barjon and Michael Gligic. The Frenchman Barjon, won last week’s Mackenzie event.

Gligic is in the midst of a true breakout campaign on the Tour, and is well on his way to earning his PGA card for next season. He will also be a hometown hero, as he was raised about 15 minutes down the road from Hamilton.

Best Bounce Back Candidates
  • Matt Kuchar–See above.
  • Keegan Bradley–Stands out from a statistical perspective in my table above. Not a guy who makes a habit of missing back to back weekends.
  • Rory Mcilroy–Side note: I used my Rory pick in a season long pool for last week’s Memorial. Seemed reasonable considering he was notching top-10s at an 80% clip, without a missed cut all season, and has an immaculate history at Muirfield. Golf makes no sense. Yes, I’m still angry.
  • Justin Thomas–For whatever reason, Muirfield victimized a ton of big names including Tony Finau for his first MC of the season.
  • Aaron Wise–Had made five straight weekends before last week’s MC.
  • Matt Every–Playing his most high-level, consistent golf in years.
Best Course History Plays

Not much going on here since they haven’t played at Hamilton in so long. For what it’s worth, Furyk, Kuchar, and Dustin Johnson all have the best track records in this event over the years. Also, super random: Ricky Barnes has made seven cuts in eight career CO appearances, including five straight, with three finishes inside the top-20.

Stenson (Getty Images)

Core Players

Last season, I started including my core players to build around in all my lineups. I try to identify targets before prices are released to stay focused, and avoid editing my lineup 2,000 times ten minutes before lock.

These selections are players that I believe have top-25 floors with top 10 upside, and a reasonable case to win. More detailed results are to come as the season moves along. This week’s selections:

  1. Furyk
  2. Kuchar
  3. Conners
  4. Stenson

Good luck in Canada! Don’t hesitate to reach out on twitter compliments and insults are always welcome. Also follow my new podcast! New episode coming next week for the US Open.


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