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RBC Canadian Open Preview and Picks
by Matt Fargo - 07/19/2011
We follow up an exciting Open Championship, with Darren Clarke taking home the Claret Jug, with the RBC Canadian Open this week from Vancouver. This is always one of the more difficult tournaments on tour to breakdown because of the constant venue changes. The Canadian Open has been around for over a century and in that span, 37 different courses have played host. This year it returns to Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Shaughnessy last hosted this event back in 2005, when it was the Bell Canadian Open, which was won by Mark Calcavecchia as he finished at -5 and won by a shot over Ben Crane and Ryan Moore. Calcavecchia will not be on hand this week but both Crane and Moore are in the field. To say Shaughnessy was difficult that year is an understatement as it finished as the most difficult non-major of the year. Only eight players finished under par and expect more of the same this week.
While the weather leading up to this week has helped the course in keeping it soft, it still remains difficult because of the makeup. The greens at Shaughnessy are the toughest part of the course as they are small and the difficult undulations make them even more difficult. The first hole is the one to watch as it can put players in a hole early and make things difficult to regroup from. The last time the event was played here, it averaged close to +0.45 strokes above par.
A tournament following a Major usually lacks in star power and that is pretty much the case here as the field includes only two players from the top 10 in the world and five of the top 20. Luke Donald, ranked first in the OWGR, is the headliner and the top 20 is rounded out with Matt Kuchar, Charl Schwartzel, Paul Casey and Hunter Mahan. There are six past tournament winners, including two-time champion Jim Furyk, as well as 12 Majors winners.
The favorite this week is Luke Donald (+800) and for good reason as he is the world number one player and has had some success in Canada. He finished third last year at St. George's Golf and Country Club, two shots behind winner Carl Pettersson. Donald won the Accenture Match Play Championship but it should be noted that he has not won a stroke play PGA Tour event since 2006. May not matter here.
One player who is not ranked in the top 20 but who is a big draw is Rickie Fowler (+1500). He is coming off a solid Open Championship where he finished T5 with Sunday being his only day over par. While he has not won on tour this year, he does have eight top 20 finishes including three top tens. He did not play in the Canadian Open last year but being a different course will not hurt him.
As mentioned, Ryan Moore (+2500) finished T2 when this event was last played at Shaughnessy so he sets up well for the return to the course. After he missed the cut at the U.S. Open, he bounced back with a T2 at the Travelers before a disappointing T68 at the AT&T National. He had a respectable showing last week in the Open Championship with a T28 finish but his knowledge here is most important.
Spencer Levin (+4000) has put together a very solid season as he has missed only five cuts this year and of his 16 made cuts, 10 have resulted in top 25 finishes. Of those, three have resulted in top tens with a solo second at the Mayakoba Golf Classic being his best result. His other top five was a T4 at Pebble Beach which is a course that resembles Shaughnessy as far as similar in greens and grass.
For a longshot we will go with Ben Crane (+6000). Compared to his 2009 season, 2010 has been a major disappointment. After finishing with six tops tens last year, including two wins, he has just two this year and none since April. He missed the cut in both Majors, which were sandwiched around a T59 at the Travelers so he comes in cold but his runner-up here in 2005 will give him confidence.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the RBC Canadian Open – All for 1 Unit
Luke Donald (+800)
Rickie Fowler (+1500)
Ryan Moore (+2500)
Spencer Levin (+4000)
Ben Crane (+6000)