The PGA Tour stays abroad for another week, with the next stop teeing off Thursday morning from Glen Abbey in Ontario, Canada. The RBC Canadian Open attracts some quality golfers – although nothing like the field this past weekend – but enough to give you plenty to think about as you set your lineups f0r this weekend. Here are a few golfers at every price range to help you narrow down your options.
Bubba Watson ($11,100) – He has missed the cut at the last two majors, but in between he had a win at the Travelers and a T13 at Greenbrier. On a short course (just over 7,200 yards), his length will give him plenty of scoring chances, even if he is not putting those drives exactly where he wants them.
J.B. Holmes ($9,900) – He had a T16 at Glen Abbey in 2009, so you know he is capable of a strong performance here this weekend. The missed cut at the Open Championship gave him a bit more time to travel and prepare for this weekend, so he should be able to revert to the form he has had most of this season, with a win, four top tens, and, most importantly, a fantasy scoring average approaching 70.
Brooks Koepka ($9,200) – If you read my PGA Insights article from yesterday, you know I am leery of rostering anyone who made the cut at the Open Championship. I think Koepka might be the exception. He is young, and just looks like a beast out there on the course, and right now, he is playing too well to leave behind, at least for me. His last three tournaments: T3 at the St. Jude Classic, T18 at the US Open, and a T10 last weekend at the Open Championship. This tournament has seen plenty of first-time winners over the years, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this be the weekend Koepka finally breaks through.
Will Wilcox ($9,200) – What this course lacks in length, it makes up for with some tricky fairways. Last time this tournament was played here, in 2013, it had the fourth-lowest fairways hit percentage of the season, making things like scrambling and bunker saves vitally important. Because even if you’re missing fairways, you need to give yourself shots at birdies if you want to have a chance (top 16 in 2013 were all -10 or better). Wilcox leads the PGA Tour in Sand Save percentage, and is seventh in scrambling. He is making all of my lineups this weekend.
Editor’s Note: Will Wilcox has withdrawn from this week’s PGA event due to a wrist injury.
Tony Finau ($9,200) – He missed the cut at the John Deere Classic, and didn’t play at all last weekend, so this is a vote for the time off doing him some good. If he can get back to the form he had prior to the John Deere, he should be a lock to finish respectably this weekend, with the overall game to give himself plenty of scoring chances on this course. Before that MC, he had put together a string of six straight top-25 performances, including two top-10’s and a T14 at the US Open.
Graham DeLaet ($9,000) – The first Canadian to make the list, he won’t be the last. When he finishes even halfway decently, he does it with a lot of birdies, and more than his fair share of bogeys, but as we all know, birdie-bogey is worth more fantasy points than par-par.
Steve Stricker ($8,700) – He has yet to finish in the top-25 after a return from back surgery, but his last tournament was a very respectable T35 he achieved by not shooting any rounds over par (with a low round of 65) at the John Deere Classic. If his game is rounding back into form, he will cost more than this soon, especially in a field so devoid of talent, because he is capable of toppling even the very best players in the world when is game is going well.
Chris Stroud ($8,000) – He’s got two top-10 finishes in his last four tournaments, and in the other two he finished T37 (Greenbriar) and T32. The T32 came at the Barbasol Championship, this past weekend, so he stayed sharp without making the trip to the UK. He hasn’t shot a single round over par in those four tournaments, and if he can keep that up, against this field, he should see a good result at the end.
David Hearn ($7,100) – You are going to notice a pretty obvious trend for these last four picks: they are all Canadian. I am not saying all four of them should be in your lineup, but when you are choosing from among the lesser options, trying to get the guy you are pretty sure will at least make the cut and hoping for more, why not give yourself every possible advantage? Hearn is definitely the most accomplished of the bunch, with three top ten finishes this year so far this year, including a T2 at Greenbrier just a few weeks back (he lost in a tiebreaker).
Nick Taylor ($6,900) – This Tour rookie has made 13 of 23 cuts, and his only top ten of the year was a win at the Sanderson Farms Championship back in November. His most recent success was a T27 at the Crowne Plaza back in May. However, he is also the kind of player with the ability to put up 20 birdies at THE PLAYERS (coupled with 14 bogeys), and that ability to rack up strokes will be extremely valuable this weekend.
Adam Hadwin ($6,500) – His two best finishes this year have been a T5 at the Crowne Plaza and a T18 a couple of weekends back at the John Deere Classic. The performance at the John Deere was telling, though – he needed a 28-foot birdie putt on 18 just to stay above the cut line, and when he drained it, he responded by shooting 69-65 over the weekend to fly up the leaderboard. He had 16 birdies against only 4 bogeys that week, and that combination of consistency and shot-making ability could have him racking up fantasy points this weekend even if he only finishes somewhere in the top 40.
Roger Sloan ($6,200) – He has missed more cuts than he’s made this year, but over the past two weeks (John Deere and Barbasol) he’s finished T18 and T48, without having a single round over par. He has holed 37 birdies over that span, exactly the kind of scoring you want to see out of a player about to attach Glen Abbey.