RBC Canadian Open 2018 Course Preview

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RBC Canadian Open 2018 Preview

Course: Glen Abbey Golf Club designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1976

-Par 72, 7253 yards; Played here 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2015-2017

-Fairways: Mix between Bent & Poa grass

-Rough: Rye Grass and Kentucky Bluegrass

-Greens: Mix between Bent & Poa grass

-Average green size about 5,600 sq. ft. (smaller than average on TOUR)

-Field: 156 players; Cut is Top 70 with possible MDF

-Past Champions

2017: Jhonattan Vegas (-21) in playoff over Chaz Hoffman

2016: Jhonattan Vegas (-12)

2015: Jason Day (-17)

2013: Brandt Snedeker (-16)

2009: Nathan Green (-18) in playoff over Retief Goosen

2008: Chez Reavie (-17)

British Open Recap

I’m not sure we could ask for much better of a finish yesterday (except if Tiger had won) but I don’t think I’ve seen a Sunday that exciting, especially in a major, in quite some time. Congrats to Francesco as he 100% deserved it as anyone who doesn’t make a bogey on the weekend at Carnoustie is something else. If there was one thing I hammered home in my preview last week it was recent form and my god, Francesco had it and continues to be the hottest player on the planet. He’s now racked up THREE wins in his last 6 starts along with 2 2nd place finishes and a T25 at the U.S. Open. My fade of him was clearly a mistake as he’s on what seems like a Tiger-esque in 2000 type of run. He also kept up with other trends as he had a previous Top 10 in a British Open and had MC’d in 2017 which continues the streak of winners having not finished better than T30 the year before their win. Overall it was a fantastic tournament in which the wind was a factor and there was a very slight draw bias but it wasn’t like 2016 where half the field was out of it and Molinari managed his win despite the “worse” draw. I certainly will go into my good and extremely bad on my DraftKings preview later this week. Onto to the oddly strong field at the RBC Canadian Open.

Glen Abbey GC

This week the TOUR moves up north as we hit Ontario for the RBC Canadian Open (Jhonattan Vegas Open). Played since 1904, and designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1976, this is the 3rd oldest continuously run PGA tournament on TOUR (after the British and U.S. Opens) and features the signature “Valley Holes.” The Valley Holes are #11-15 and starts with the famous #11 tee shot which is 100 feet up from the fairway and ends at “16 Mile Creek.” These 5 holes, as the name suggests, are holes that go down into a valley and are well below the other holes on the course. The “16 Mile Creek” is in play on 4 holes and represents some of the biggest trouble on the course. Glen Abbey features 85 bunkers and 4 ponds (that are in play on 7 holes) and despite most finishes being well under par, there are always hazards lurking. Trends that show up year after year are both driving accuracy AND distance as the field averages about 50% fairways hit here compared to the TOUR average of 61%. The driver heavy course has the average Driving Distance here of about 296 yards compared to the average 282 on TOUR. Let’s look at the scorecard below and see where the scoring is taking place:

Hole Par Length Rank Avg Strokes. BoB (2017) O/U Par
1 4 417 9 3.95 88 -0.05
2 5 527 18 4.404 276 -0.596
3 4 437 7 3.987 89 -0.013
4 3 197 11 2.933 97 -0.067
5 4 433 14 3.851 117 -0.149
6 4 458 3 4.117 69 0.117
7 3 156 8 2.974 87 -0.026
8 4 485 2 4.181 49 0.181
9 4 414 12 3.92 96 -0.08
10 4 443 6 4.035 72 0.035
11 4 452 5 4.071 66 0.071
12 3 202 4 3.071 61 0.071
13 5 558 16 4.687 197 -0.313
14 4 457 1 4.233 48 0.233
15 3 141 13 2.879 99 -0.121
16 5 516 17 4.434 266 -0.566
17 4 436 10 3.942 88 -0.058
18 5 524 15 4.702 203 -0.298
72 7253 70.371


As we see above, 3 of the easiest holes are Par 5s. We get a rare 4 Par 5s this week so being well under par on those this week will certainly yield the most success. In particular, #2 saw 23 eagles last year, which represents about 1/3 of total eagles made in the field for the week. On the other hand, we’ll notice that no Par 4 is under 400 yards and 3 of the harder holes can definitely give players some trouble. #14 and #8 each saw less than 50 total birdies and along with scoring on those 4 Par 5s, players will need to use strong GIR, Scrambling, and Putting to save strokes on the Par 4s.

Key Stats

So, what’s it going to take to compete? Gaining fairways and driving distance on the field will get you a leg up as well as being able to scramble when you’re missing greens. As I said above, players need to be dominant Par 5 scorers with the ability to also avoid bogeys on Par 4s. As I look as past approach dispersions (via fantastynational.com) as well as potential landing zones it seems that Proximity from 125-150 shows up a lot with also the potential for 200+ as you include Par 3s and going for Par 5s in two shots. I think both are important to include as well as SG: APP in general.

One more note that isn’t exactly a “key stat” but important to note is I wouldn’t take TOO much into account guys coming over from Scotland this week. Jason Day won in 2015 after a Monday Open finish and 7 people in the Top 10 played the week before. In 2016, 7 of the Top 15 played the week before. Last year, 10 of the Top 18 played the week before. Lastly, in 2017, Hoffman and Poulter finished 2nd and 3rd after Top 20s the week before. (All of these trends from KENNY KIM @kendovt on Twitter). More from Kenny: 15 golfers were T5 or better last year, and of those, only 4 were outside the T20 in GIR for the week. All 4 were Top 10 in Driving Distance. 8 of 15 were Top 30 in BOTH Driving Distance and GIR.

Stats I think I’ll be targeting include SG: Ball Striking (Player’s rank in both total driving AND GIR), SG: APP (emphasis on Prox. 125-175 and 200+), Par 5 Scoring, GIRs Gained, Scrambling, BoB Gained, and Fairways Gained. Please note that there should always be some emphasis on SG: T2G but since that is used each and every week I don’t include it in stats that I’m “targeting.” I will go into more depth on my finalized stats, players who’s form I like, course history, and more in my DFS article in the next day or two.

That’s all for the course preview! Follow me on Twitter @sscherman and follow @AmateurHour_Pod too for picks, podcasts with FIRE guests, and weekly picks to win.

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