RBC Canadian Open

Davis Riley, a pre-tournament price of 250/1, won his first PGA TOUR event as an individual player (also won the 2023 Zurich Classic of New Orleans with partner Nick Hardy last season) at this past weekend’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial. 

Riley finished 14-under par and five shots clear of co-runners-up World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who now has two second-place finishes at Colonial in the last three years, and one of this column’s tips Keegan Bradley (one of two second-place finishes for this column last week as Thomas Pieters also finished runner-up at the Soudal Open on the DP World Tour). 


To his credit, Scheffler shot a 2-over 72 on Thursday and still found himself in the final pairing, albeit four shots back, on Sunday with Riley. 

Riley made just seven bogeys through four rounds. He also led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green at 11.4, ranked second in Approach the Green (7.9) and fourth in Putting. 

Rounding out the Top 10 were Collin Morikawa (4th), four players at T-5 including Mac Meissner, Sepp Straka, Pierceson Coody, and Hayden Buckley, along with three others at T-9 which included David Lipsky, Sungjae Im, and Robby Shelton. 

This week, the PGA TOUR heads north of the border to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada for the RBC Canadian Open. 

The last time Canada’s national open was played in Hamilton was in 2019 where Rory McIlroy, this week’s tournament favorite at 4/1, was winning by seven strokes. McIlroy also won the event at St. George’s two years ago. 

We had Tommy Fleetwood (16/1) in this column last year, but he settled for a runner-up in a playoff as Nick Taylor (70/1) made a 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole to prevent Fleetwood from earning his first PGA TOUR victory. 

Sahith Theegala (20/1) has two runner-up finishes this season (The Sentry and RNC Heritage). 

One of the second-place finishers to McIlroy on this Hamilton course back in 2019 was Shane Lowry (22/1), who won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans a few weeks ago while partnered with Rory. 

At 25/1 are Alex Noren, Cameron Young, and Corey Conners, who leads the Canadian contingent this week. 

Like his close buddy Scheffler, Sam Burns (28/1) is also a new father. 

The group at 35/1 includes Adam Scott, Tom Kim, and Maverick McNealy. 

Aside from Conners and Taylor, other prominent Canadian players in the RBC Canadian Open field are Mackenzie Hughes (45/1), Adam Hadwin (55/1), Taylor Pendrith (66/1), and Adam Svensson (80/1). 

The Event

The RBC Canadian Open, organized by national sanctioning body Golf Canada, was first played in 1904. The tournament has been held annually apart from World Wars I and II (1915-1918; 1943-1944), and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. This year’s RBC Canadian Open will mark the 111th edition, and it is the third-longest event on the PGA Tour behind The Open Championship and the U.S. Open. Furthermore, it is the only national championship that is a PGA TOUR-managed event. The Open Championship, the U.S. Open, and the Canadian Open have been referred to as the “Triple Crown of the PGA Tour”. Only two players in history have held this Triple Crown in the same year – Lee Trevino in 1971 and Tiger Woods in 2000. Meanwhile, only six players have won all three national opens – Trevino, Woods, Tommy Armour, Walter Hagen, Arnold Palmer, and Rory McIlroy.

Celebrated Canadian Open winners include World Golf Hall of Fame members Leo Diegel, Walter Hagen, Tommy Armour, Harry Cooper, Lawson Little, Sam Snead, Craig Wood, Byron Nelson, Doug Ford, Bobby Locke, Bob Charles, Arnold Palmer, Kel Nagle, Billy Casper, Gene Littler, Lee Trevino, Curtis Strange, Greg Norman, Nick Price, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy.

The event has been held all over Canada with Jack Nicklaus-designed Glen Abbey (in Oakville, Ontario) being the most frequent host having served as the venue for 30 Canadian Opens. Royal Montreal Golf Club is second with 10. Mississauga Golf & Country Club and Hamilton Golf and Country Club have each hosted, while Toronto Golf Club and St. George’s Golf and Country Club has hosted five.

A Canadian player had not won the Canadian Open since Pat Fletcher in 1954 until last year when Nick Taylor won at Oakdale in a playoff over Tommy Fleetwood. 

The Field

Seven of the OWGR Top 30 players are in this week’s 156-player field competing for a $9 million purse at the RBC Canadian Open.

Field Updates

  • Chris Gotterup OUT via W/D; Kevin Tway IN from alternate list.
  • Jimmy Stanger OUT via W/D; Henrik Norlander IN from alternate list. 
  • Anders Albertson OUT via W/D; Kevin Chappell IN from alternate list.
  • Kelly Kraft and Ryan Palmer IN via sponsor exemptions. 
  • Alejandro Tosti OUT via W/D; Austin Cook IN from alternate list.
  • Davis Riley OUT via W/D; Sean O’ Hair IN from alternate list. 
  • Monday Open qualifiers IN: Adam Long, Michael Blair, Jakob Chicoyne, Max Sear. 

The Course

Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ancaster, Ontario is located 50 miles south of Toronto. The course was designed in 1914 by famed architect Harry Colt and has hosted six Canadian Opens.

The 7,084-yard, Par 70 underwent renovations after the 2019 tournament ended. Martin Ebert and Tom Mackenzie renovated all three sets of nine holes (the other nine designed by Canadian architect Robbie Robinson in 1974) on the property. The goal was to return the course to Colt’s original design principles with Colt-inspired bunkers (including ragged edges and deeper pot bunkers), a complete rebuild of all greens including surrounding areas, new tee boxes, and an updated irrigation system. Hundreds of trees have also been removed to allow players to have more angles into the greens. 

Around 200 yards of length were added from the last tournament held at Hamilton, but the layout is still under 7,100 yards and is on the shorter side by PGA TOUR standards. There are various elevations on the track with some tee shots going downhill and some going uphill. 

The Bentgrass/Poa fairways are only a little over 30 yards wide (10th narrowest on TOUR) and the Bluegrass/Poa rough can be penal at 3.5″.

The Bentgrass greens (now 100% Bent as opposed to the old Bent/Poa mix) are 6,000 sq ft on average and are bigger after the renovations, but most are elevated and slope from the back to the front, which was a Colt trademark. They will be of average speed at around 12 on the stimpmeter over the weekend rounds. Short grass has also been grown around the greens to make chipping more difficult. Ebert also added some run-off areas toward the front of the greens (most will slope to the front) to encourage creative shots like bump and runs. 

Only the 3rd and 18th holes have water (Ancaster Creek) in play. 

Correlated courses include the last two RBC Canadian Open venues – Oakdale and St. George’s, along with Colonial (last week’s shortish Par 70), TPC Potomac, TPC River Highlands (also short Par 70s), and Innisbrook.

Recent History

​2023: Nick Taylor (-17/271); Oakdale; 66/1*
2022: Rory McIlroy (-19/261); St. George’s; 10/1
2021: No Tournament due to COVID-19
2020: No Tournament due to COVID-19
2019: Rory McIlroy (-22/258); Hamilton; 10/1**
2018: Dustin Johnson (-23/265); Glen Abbey; 7/1
2017: Jhonattan Vegas (-21/267); Glen Abbey; 125/1***
2016: Jhonattan Vegas (-12/276); Glen Abbey; 125/1
2015: Jason Day (-17/271); Glen Abbey; 9/1
2014: Tim Clark (-17/263); Royal Montreal; 66/1
2013: Brandt Snedeker (-16/272); Glen Abbey; 14/1
2012: Scott Piercy (-17/263); Hamilton; 50/1
2011: Sean O’Hair (-4/276); Shaughnessy; 100/1****
2010: Carl Pettersson (-14/266); St. George’s; 80/1

Playoff win over Tommy Fleetwood – *
All-Time Canadian Open scoring record – **
Playoff win over Charley Hoffman – ***
Playoff win over Kris Blanks – ****

Statistical Analysis

McIlroy was 5th for Strokes Gained: Approach and 2nd for Greens In Regulation when he won here at Hamilton in 2019. The entirety of the first two pages on that 2019 leaderboard were positive on approach for the week.

Strokes Gained: Approach (Last 24 Rounds)

  1. Corey Conners 31.3
  2. Kelly Kraft 23.5
  3. Akshay Bhatia 21
  4. Adam Svensson 18.2
  5. Aaron Rai 17.9
  6. Ryan Moore 17.4
  7. Shane Lowry 17.4
  8. Rory McIlroy 16.7
  9. Ben Martin 16.2
  10. Keith Mitchell 15.9
  11. Alex Noren 15.7
  12. Kevin Yu 15.2
  13. Sahith Theegala 15.1
  14. Seamus Power 15.1
  15. Jhonattan Vegas 12.7
  16. Joel Dahmen 12.6
  17. Chandler Phillips 11.6
  18. Bud Cauley 11.5
  19. Dylan Wu 11

Strokes Gained: Approach (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Corey Conners 39.3
  2. Keith Mitchell 27.4
  3. Aaron Rai 24.2
  4. Akshay Bhatia 23.2
  5. Kelly Kraft 22.9
  6. Shane Lowry 21.2
  7. Joel Dahmen 20.3
  8. Alex Noren 18.3
  9. Ryan Moore 18.2
  10. Greyson Sigg 18.1
  11. Doug Ghim 18.1
  12. Victor Perez 17.9
  13. Andrew Novak 16.6
  14. Daniel Berger 16.5
  15. Sahith Theegala 15.6
  16. Cameron Young 15
  17. Adam Svensson 14.9
  18. Rory McIlroy 14.3
  19. Jhonattan Vegas 14.3
  20. Kevin Yu 14.3
  21. Michael Kim 14

42% of approaches were wedges from 100-150 yards in 2019. With the lengthening of the course, it is prudent to put 150-175 into the Proximity buckets list. 

Average Proximity Gained 100-125 Yards (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Patton Kizzire 7.21
  2. Nick Taylor 6.36
  3. Cameron Young 5.81
  4. Troy Merritt 5.41
  5. J.J. Spaun 4.32
  6. Sam Burns 4.24
  7. David Hearn 4.14
  8. Adam Hadwin 3.87
  9. Ryan Moore 3.87
  10. Sam Ryder 3.83
  11. Charley Hoffman 3.69
  12. Joel Dahmen 3.6
  13. Aaron Rai 3.49
  14. Ryo Hisatsune 3.34
  15. Camilo Villegas 3.17
  16. Kelly Kraft 3.16
  17. Seamus Power 3.02

Average Proximity Gained 125-150 Yards (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Shane Lowry 10.47
  2. Chan Kim 9.98
  3. Ryan Moore 9.53
  4. Chesson Hadley 7.86
  5. Seamus Power 6.46
  6. Bud Cauley 6.38
  7. Max Greyserman 6.38
  8. Eric Cole 6.26
  9. Robby Shelton 6.1
  10. Josh Teater 5.97
  11. Cameron Young 5.73
  12. David Hearn 5.5
  13. Chandler Phillips 5.34
  14. Garrick Higgo 5.17
  15. Mark Hubbard 4.74
  16. Davis Riley 4.57
  17. David Lipsky 4.46
  18. Akshay Bhatia 4.37
  19. Aaron Rai 4.36
  20. Scott Gutschewski 4.17

Average Proximity Gained 150-175 Yards (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Daniel Berger 9.93
  2. Keith Mitchell 9.28
  3. Akshay Bhatia 9.02
  4. Tom Whitney 8.56
  5. David Skinns 7.95
  6. Kevin Chappell 7.93
  7. Kelly Kraft 7.44
  8. Scott Gutschewski 7.27
  9. Chandler Phillips 6.89
  10. Corey Conners 6.56
  11. Rory McIlroy 6.5
  12. Sam Ryder 6.48
  13. C.T. Pan 6.44
  14. Erik Van Rooyen 6.26
  15. Harry Hall 5.77
  16. Justin Lower 5.59
  17. KH Lee 5.57
  18. Greyson Sigg 5.56
  19. Bud Cauley 5.44
  20. Doug Ghim 5.07

Despite Hamilton being lengthened by nearly 200 yards, this is still a positional course that requires keeping it in the fairway and not necessarily bombing it off the tee. 

Good Drives Gained (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Aaron Rai 47.5
  2. Corey Conners 38.8
  3. Joel Dahmen 31.5
  4. Shane Lowry 30
  5. Alex Noren 29.7
  6. Brice Garnett 28.3
  7. Ryan Moore 28
  8. Daniel Berger 27.8
  9. Nate Lashley 27.3
  10. Ben Martin 26.9
  11. Kelly Kraft 22.9
  12. Rory McIlroy 19.8
  13. Kevin Yu 19.6
  14. Tom Whitney 18.9
  15. Rico Hoey 18.8
  16. J.J Spaun 17.7
  17. Kevin Dougherty 17

Driving Accuracy Percentage (2024 PGA TOUR season)

  1. Shane Lowry 78.13%
  2. Tommy Fleetwood 77.47%
  3. Aaron Rai 72.08%
  4. Tom Kim 70.03%
  5. Daniel Berger 69.68%
  6. Ryan Moore 69.11%
  7. Zach Johnson 68.95%
  8. Corey Conners 68.88%
  9. Rory McIlroy 68.57%
  10. Doug Ghim 68.15%
  11. Adam Hadwin 67.95%
  12. Nate Lashley 67.87%
  13. Carson Young 67.82%
  14. Akshay Bhatia 67.81%
  15. Cameron Young 67.44%
  16. Mark Hubbard 67.14%
  17. Alex Noren 66.72%
  18. Troy Merritt 66.15%
  19. Thorbjørn Olesen 65.85%

The greens at Hamilton were a Bent/Poa mix in 2019 but are now 100% creeping Bentgrass. 

Strokes Gained: Putting – Bentgrass Greens (Last 24 Rounds)

  1. Maverick McNealy 20
  2. Dylan Wu 19.1
  3. Beau Hossler 17.2
  4. Sahith Theegala 16.6
  5. Sam Burns 15.9
  6. Harry Hall 14.7
  7. Aaron Baddeley 14.5
  8. Thorbjørn Olesen 14.3
  9. Martin Laird 13.1
  10. David Skinns 12.9
  11. Matt Kuchar 12.2
  12. Adam Hadwin 121
  13. Victor Perez 11.7
  14. Eric Cole 11.5
  15. Mackenzie Hughes 10.1
  16. SH Kim 10
  17. Adam Scott 9.2
  18. Nicolai Højgaard 9.1
  19. Justin Lower 9

Strokes Gained: Putting – Bentgrass Greens (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Sahith Theegala 27.4
  2. Maverick McNealy 25.2
  3. Thorbjørn Olesen 24.9
  4. Justin Suh 24
  5. Sam Burns 23.6
  6. Eric Cole 22.9
  7. Harry Hall 20.6
  8. Aaron Baddeley 20
  9. Mackenzie Hughes 19.4
  10. Beau Hossler 18.6
  11. Justin Lower 18.5
  12. Adam Hadwin 15.6
  13. Nate Lashley 15.2
  14. Dylan Wu 15.1
  15. Austin Cook 14.9
  16. Matt Kuchar 14.5
  17. Chesson Hadley 13.8
  18. Tom Kim 12.6

Hamilton has narrow fairways, thick rough, and greens with new run-off areas. While the course should still be scoreable, potential for squares on the scorecard still looms. 

Bogeys Avoided (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Rory McIlroy 29.6
  2. Alex Noren 26.7 
  3. Aaron Baddeley 25.7
  4. Aaron Rai 24.6
  5. Sahith Theegala 21.7
  6. Keith Mitchell 17.5 
  7. Greyson Sigg 17.2
  8. Brice Garnett 17.1
  9. Ben Silverman 16.2
  10. Maverick McNealy 14.5
  11. Ben Griffin 14.2
  12. Mackenzie Hughes 14.1
  13. Sam Burns 13.6
  14. Kelly Kraft 13.4
  15. Henrik Norlander 12.7
  16. Bud Cauley 12.3
  17. Joseph Bramlett 12.3
  18. Taylor Pendrith 12.2
  19. Andrew Novak 12.2

There are a wide variety of Par 4s at Hamilton, most of which are on the smaller side including three holes measuring 346, 380, and 386 respectively. 

Strokes Gained Par 4s (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Alex Noren 32.9
  2. Rory McIlroy 30.1
  3. Maverick McNealy 29.8
  4. Justin Lower 27.4
  5. Martin Laird 25.9
  6. Tommy Fleetwood 24.9
  7. Shane Lowry 24.6
  8. Patton Kizzire 23
  9. Aaron Rai 21.6
  10. C.T. Pan 21.3
  11. Doug Ghim 20.6
  12. Sahith Theegala 20.5
  13. Mark Hubbard 19.3
  14. Joseph Bramlett 18.9
  15. Cameron Young 18.5
  16. Corey Conners 18.1
  17. Sam Burns 17.4

With the changes in the greens, Strokes Gained: Around The Green could be even more important than it has been in the past. 

Strokes Gained: Around The Green (Last 24 Rounds)

  1. Alex Noren 17.1
  2. Aaron Baddeley 16.2
  3. Martin Laird 14.1
  4. Joseph Bramlett 13.1
  5. Robby Shelton 13
  6. Jorge Campillo 12
  7. Chez Reavie 11
  8. Tommy Fleetwood 10.8
  9. Harry Hall 10.2
  10. Roger Sloan 9.9
  11. Maverick McNealy 9.7
  12. Carl Yuan 8.9
  13. Nate Lashley 8.5
  14. Zac Blair 8.5
  15. Brice Garnett 8.5
  16. Joe Highsmith 8.3

Strokes Gained: Around The Green (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Aaron Baddeley 22.1
  2. Mackenzie Hughes 19.5
  3. Alex Noren 18.3
  4. Maverick McNealy 17.9
  5. Robby Shelton 15.7
  6. C.T. Pan 15.4
  7. Zac Blair 14.4
  8. Bud Cauley 14
  9. Tommy Fleetwood 13.9
  10. Martin Laird 13.3
  11. Troy Merritt 12
  12. Austin Cook 11.8
  13. Stewart Cink 11.7
  14. Roger Sloan 10.5
  15. Nate Lashley 10.3
  16. Harry Hall 10.3
  17. Ben Griffin 10.1
  18. Wesley Bryan 10.1
  19. Taylor Pendrith 10

On a course like Hamilton, players must have distance control off the tee to set up second shots.

Strokes Gained: Total – Courses Under 7200 Yards (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Eric Cole 70.9
  2. Daniel Berger 70.6
  3. Sahith Theegala 55.1
  4. Sam Burns 51.1
  5. Seamus Power 39.4
  6. Mark Hubbard 36.8
  7. Beau Hossler 35.1
  8. Alex Noren 34.9
  9. J.J Spaun 34.2
  10. Rory McIlroy 32.9
  11. Adam Hadwin 29.9
  12. Stewart Cink 29.2
  13. Adam Scott 29
  14. Tom Kim 28.4
  15. Corey Conners 27.7
  16. Bud Cauley 27.6
  17. Greyson Sigg 26.8
  18. Tyler Duncan 26.6
  19. Taylor Pendrith 25.6

RBC Canadian Open Best Bets

Tommy Fleetwood 18/1 Bet365
Fleetwood lost in heartbreaking fashion in the RBC Canadian Open last year watching Nick Taylor make a 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole. While Fleetwood does not pop in terms of the modeled stats, save for Driving Accuracy and Around The Green, he fits the course correlation angle. Martin Ebert, who redesigned Open Championship rota courses Royal Liverpool and Royal Portrush, redesigned Hamilton as well. Fleetwood finished 2nd at Royal Portrush in 2019 and T10 at Royal Liverpool in 2023. A winner in Dubai earlier this year, Fleetwood is well-documented having never won on the PGA TOUR. Much like last year at Oakdale, this looks like a good spot for him to do so. 

Sahith Theegala 20/1 BetMGM
Theegala was in contention at a major championship for the first time in his career two weeks ago at the PGA Championship before a disappointing 2-over par final round dropped him to 12th. He picked up his first PGA TOUR victory last fall at the Fortinet Championship and has posted two runner-up finishes in 2024 at The Sentry and the RBC Heritage. Two years ago, he was runner-up to Xander Schauffele in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands, which is a comparable course to Hamilton. While he can be a bit erratic off the tee, he is terrific putting on Bentgrass greens, where he ranks 1st in this field over the last 36 rounds. 

Cameron Young 28/1 Bet365
Like Fleetwood, Cameron Young is still seeking his first long-awaited PGA TOUR victory. He has cooled a bit from the March/April form that saw him finish T-9 at the Masters, T-4 at PGA National, and T-2 at Innisbrook, which is a correlated course this week. Young is ranked Top 10 in this field for Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee over the last 36 and 50 rounds and not just due to length. He has the ability to play positional golf off the tee as well on courses where he has to club down. 

Maverick McNealy 35/1 Caesars Sportsbook
McNealy finished T-17 last week at Colonial, but he did so by doing something he rarely does, which is to lose strokes with the putter. Keep in mind that McNealy is the No. 1 putter in this field over the last 24 rounds on Bentgrass greens. He ranked 2nd in last week’s field for Strokes Gained: Around The Green, so the short game is in great shape, and he should take to Ebert’s challenge of wanting players to be rewarded for their creativity on those shots. 

Aaron Rai 45/1 Bet365
Rai was T-3 at the RBC Canadian Open last year at Oakdale and 13th the year prior in the same event at St. George’s. The Englishman finished a disappointing T-32 last week at Colonial due to ranking dead last of the 71 players that made the cut for Strokes Gained: Putting losing over -4.6 strokes over four days. Rai was 3rd for Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee, T-3rd for Greens In Regulation, 5th for Driving Accuracy, 6th for Scrambling, 7th for Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, and 7th for Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green last week at Colonial. He also has two Top 10s in his last six starts, so he has been knocking at the door of late. 

Daniel Berger 80/1 Bet Rivers
Berger has been on the comeback trail in 2024 after a back injury kept him out of action for the better part of 18 months. While the results have yet to be fruitful, he has made his last five cuts after going just 2-for-6 making the weekend to start the season. His ball striking has been solid, and this could be his breakthrough event to finally get in contention on his 2024 campaign.

Seamus Power 100/1 Bet Rivers
The Irishman has shown his fair share of inconsistency in 2024. However, he has his two best finishes of the season in his last three starts with a T12 at the RBC Heritage and a T16 at the Wells Fargo Championship where he ranked inside the Top 10 in both starts for Strokes Gained: Approach. Power plays his best on shorter, positional courses as evident by his two PGA TOUR victories at the Barbasol and Butterfield Bermuda Championships, plus Top 6s at the Sony Open in Hawaii, RSM Classic, and RBC Heritage.

Kelly Kraft 350/1 Caesars Sportsbook
A big longshot here, but Kraft, who is not fully exempt on TOUR and needed a sponsor exemption for entry this week, ranks 2nd in this field for Strokes Gained: Approach over the last 24 rounds. He has only played in three events thus far in 2024 and needs to post some good finishes in his limited opportunities for starts. Kraft was T-13 in this event two years ago at St. George’s. 

Placement markets, matchups, props, and any other futures, including for the U.S. Women’s Open, will be available Wednesday at VSiN.com/picks