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And please do check out this weeks Golf Monthly column on the tales of Lee Westwood
It’s always going to be a tough act following such a thrilling Open Championship like the one at Muirfield, but the Canadian Open is one of great prestige and one that has attracted a great field this week (even most of the players are sponsored by RBC). Snedeker, Mahan, Kuchar, McDowell, Schwartzel and other big stars lead the betting this week.
This tournament is going back ‘home’ you could say, with it being held at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. It was held here for over 20 years right up until 2000 when Tiger Woods claimed a famous victory hitting probably his greatest ever shot on the 72nd hole. You have to check it out below.
It has since only been held here in ’04, ’08 and ’09 which does not give us a lot of course form to go on. You can check out who performed well at Glen Abbey below.
But this week like it has been on the Tour for a while, is about shooting low numbers. As you can see Nathan Green shot -18 in ’09 and Chez Reavie shot -17 the year before that! So statistically, you have to be looking at GIR, putting, rounds in the 60’s, scoring average and other similar areas that would aid low scoring.
Of the market leaders, Brandt Snedeker really does catch our eye but at 14/1 we just couldn’t find real value out of that. With questions marks over whether he is back to his best, we have decided to look elsewhere and have a few names we are very confident in.
Chris Kirk (55/1 SkyBet)
There are some players on the PGA Tour who dominate the statistics but then somehow never seem to be up there on the final day. Ken Duke was a great example of that before he won the Travelers, and Kirk is another. So he’s been on our radar for months now, but it finally seems like the American has added some end product to his game. 22nd two weeks ago followed by a 9th place last week is a great improvement. Although Kirk has never played this course, he did finish T4 last year, albeit on a different course. But we can take solace from that, as last year’s winner Scott Piercy finished T6 the year before, on different courses. Kirk ranks 22nd in strokes gained-putting, 10th birdie average, 17th scoring average, 1st total eagles, 2nd total birdies, 1st scrambling and 10th in all-round ranking! How he has not won yet is incredible. Kirk has a solid game shown by these statistics, and two consistent finishes could be all he needs to go on and claim that elusive 1st title of 2013.
Graham DeLaet (35/1 Bet365)
Delaet is the man everyone is talking about in Canada at the moment and he will definitely prove to be a popular choice with a lot of punters this week. His season has been very reminiscent of Billy Horschel’s prior to his first title, constantly knocking on the door week after week before hopefully getting the win he deserves. Nobody can argue how well he has been playing and the only thing that perhaps has let him down, is the putter! But you have to think in his home country with thousands of fans likely to be following him, the adrenaline will be pumping and that short stick should finally get hot. And after all he does rank 76th in total putting, which is not bad. Last week saw the Canadian take part in his first major, where he made the cut, which shows how well he has been playing. He said playing at Muirfield was “a lot of fun” and was really excited about the upcoming Canadian Open. He has played at Glen Abbey in ’09 where he made the cut, which will give him vital course knowledge. And as we all know, DeLaet is a different animal four years on. He ranks 1st in GIR, 2nd in total driving, 1st ball striking, 6th total birdies and 19th scoring average. Definitely has a huge chance in his home country.
Jerry Kelly (80/1 Totesport) PULLED OUT
The American is a really solid pick this week, a man who knows the course well, shoots low and is in good form. He seems to have a liking for Glen Abbey, finishing 5th in ’09 and 37th in ’08. Course form does not seem to be vital, but it will give him an extra advantage. But Kelly is impressive statistically and is a very consistent tee to green player. He ranks 7th in driving accuracy, 46th scoring average, 51st all-round ranking, 16th scrambling, 25th total putting and 34th proximity to the hole. And he showed just how low he can go last time out, shooting a -18 to come T4 at the John Deere Classic. With Duke, Mickelson and last week Austin, it seems like the old boys are showing the young’uns how to play recently, so let’s hope Jerry Kelly continues the trend!
If you’re up for a laugh, see if you can say “Jerry Kelly” 5 times in a row real fast…
Matt Jones (66/1 Various)
We have been itching to back Jones for the last couple of weeks so now is the time to jump on him. He’s in stunning form at the moment, with his last two outings being 7th and 2nd. And he might not have made the cut here before, but he certainly knows how to shoot low. His last two finishes were -11 and -17 whilst he lies 9th in actual scoring average, 6th total driving, 12th all-round ranking, 4th scrambling, 41st total birdies and 54th total putting. It just feels like Jones is still under the radar despite his form and it will be interesting to see whether he can continue in Canada. And the Australian will definitely take confidence from his fellow countryman Nathan Green, who came out on top at Glen Abbey back in ’09.
David Hearn (66/1 Totesport)
Hearn definitely has to be regarded as Canada’s number 2 behind DeLaet. He’s had a really consistent year in 2013, with his best finish coming last week, a T2 at the John Deere Classic where he shot -19 and agonizingly lost in a play-off on the 5th hole to Jordan Spieth. It has been in the tournaments where you need to shoot low where Hearn has played his best stuff this year, which excites us. What we like even more is Hearn grew up under an hour away from Glen Abbey, so he will feel right at home! And playing in your home Open is always going to get the juices flowing. He finds himself 17th in birdie average and 33rd actual scoring average. And as for his abilities with the short stick, say no more – 5th total putting and 14th strokes gained-putting. That could prove vital if he is to go and win this. The Canadian also made the cut here back in ’08 which will give him course knowledge others will not have. Just like DeLaet, Hearn is part of ‘Team RBC’ and will want to impress them in their sponsored event.