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Canadian Open 2016 Preview
Our scribe gives his tips for the upcoming PGA Tour event, The Canadian Open. The tournament gets underway this Thursday at Glen Abbey Golf Club.
Last week was a bloodbath. There’s no other way to put it. After reaching such highs a fortnight ago, I was handed a thorough beating by Royal Troon. All the research and prophecies came to nought as Henrik Stenson delivered a masterclass to reel off a three-stroke victory. Some may say it was magnets, but I reckon it was just masterful golf.
As joyous as it was watching Mickelson and Stenson slug it out, there was a tinge of disappointment. Another major goes by without so much as two dimes to rub together. Something has to change.
So with just a week’s break before the final major of the year, we find ourselves in Canada – America’s less attractive cousin – for the aptly named Canadian Open.
Now, considering it’s sandwiched between two major championships, the organisers have managed to put together a fairly competitive field. The lineup includes 35 players returning from The Open Championship, among them the top two players in the world.
Unsurprisingly, they dominate the top of the betting, with the rest given little to no chance at all. However, that only enhances the value of backing a couple outsiders. There are a few who have caught my eye, so let’s get into it why don’t we?
Canadian Open | Thursday 21 July - Sunday 24 July | Glen Abbey Golf Club
2015 Jason Day -17 | 2014 Tim Clark -14 | Brandt Snedeker -16 | Scott Piercy -17 | Sean O’ Hair -14 (playoff)
Dustin Johnson 11/2 | Jason Day 11/2 | Matt Kuchar 18/1 | Brandt Snedeker 25/1 | Jim Furyk 30/1 | Danny Lee 40/1
William McGirt (50/1 Win & 11/1 Place)
He could easily have qualified as my “horse for the course”, McGirt clearly loves the layout at Glen Abbey. He has two runner-up finishes to his name – in 2012 and 2013 – and has made five cuts in as many starts at the Canadian Open. His recent form is also promising, where he has finished in the top-10 in two of his last four starts. The only drawback is his recent win at The Memorial, which came just over a month ago, but he is definitely worth having a go on at 50/1.
Emiliano Grillo (40/1 Win & 88/10 Place)
Grillo is quickly becoming one of my favourite players on tour. He’s had a great rookie season so far and his results are definitely on an upward curve. He’s finished in the top-15 in three last four starts, topping out with a T12 at Troon. Last year he caused a bit of a stir here with an opening round 64 en route to a T22. The fairways are tough-to-hit here at Glen Abbey so you want to be extremely long or extremely accurate. Grillo is the latter. He is also twice the player he was back then, so there’s no reason why he can’t string a couple low rounds together here. He’s competed in some top notch fields in recent weeks and the drop in class should see him right toward the top of the leaderboard.
Bryce Molder (70/1 & 16/1 Place)
Molder may have missed the cut at last week’s Barbasol Championship, but he was on a pretty solid run before that. Five top 25 finishes in his last seven starts has me believing he can challenge this week. He has a superb short game, where he leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: around-the-green and ranks 11th in strokes gained: putting. He’s made just one career start at Glen Abbey, but it resulted in a T16. Any sort of improvement and we could be in the money this week.
Horse For The Course
Jim Furyk (30/1 Win & 66/10 Place)
For the second week running, I’ll be going with Furyk. After starting brightly at Royal Troon, the 46-year-old faded badly to finish mid-field come Sunday. However, with a drop in class, I expect him to challenge here. He has notched top-15s in each of his last three starts at Glen Abbey, including a solid fourth-place finish last year. He has also taken the Canadian Open title twice before, so he clearly has an affinity for it. He’s still a quality golfer and should have no problem finishing in the top 20 in this field.