The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
We’ve got just one more week until another major is on the docket for the PGA tour. But first, they’ll be stopping at Hamilton Golf and Country Club for the RBC Canadian Open.
It’s a 156-player event where top 70s and ties will make the cut. This field is strong up top, but things start to get dicey once we get below the $8,000 price range on DraftKings.
We don’t have any data for Hamilton because it lasted hosted an event in 2012. This course has narrow fairways and thick rough, so it sets up like an accuracy course, which means less emphasis should be put on distance.
You can read my full course breakdown here.
Key metrics to focus on: Greens in regulation, Strokes Gained: Approach, par-4 and par-5 scoring, birdie scoring, Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
Best DFS Plays for RBC Canadian Open
$10,000 and Above (DraftKings Pricing)
This course fits everyone in the top pricing tier this week.
This looks like a bounce-back spot for Matt Kuchar ($10,500 DraftKings; $11,300 FanDuel) after he missed the cut last week. It sets up well for his 65.8% Long-Term Driving Accuracy (LT DA) and his excellent approach game. He’s likely the most expensive guy I’d pay for in cash games, but I’ll be starting my cash roster below this pricing tier.
Outside of Kuchar, I’d rather just go overweight on Dustin Johnson ($11,900 DraftKings; $12,600 FanDuel) in tournaments.
Over the past 75 weeks, he’s hit 70.2% of greens in regulation (GIR) while averaging 18.1 birdies per tournament. More importantly, he should thrive on the par 4s as his -3.1 adjusted strokes on them is among the best marks in the field. And per Fantasy National, DJ ranks sixth in par-4 efficiency from 400-450 yards over his past 50 rounds.
Additionally, DJ ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach and second in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking over the same time frame. Even if approach game is lacking this week, he’s more than capable of minimizing damage with his short game.
This course is right in Webb Simpson’s ($9,700 DraftKings; $10,800 FanDuel) wheelhouse.
Simpson has hit 63.6% of fairways over the past 75 weeks, and he’s one of six golfers in the field who has averaged better than -1.0 adjusted strokes on par 4s. Simpson also ranks first in the field in par-4 efficiency from 400-450 yards. His game is pretty well-rounded, ranking ninth in Strokes Gained: Approach over his past 50 rounds and second with his 63.7% scrambling rate, which should help if/when he has any errant approach shots hitting into these small greens.
Scott Piercy’s ($9,300 DraftKings; $10,500 FanDuel) form is starting to turn a corner. Over his past four tournaments, he owns an excellent 68.1 recent Adj Rd Score in which he’s hit 70.8% of GIR and 69.1% of fairways. Although it’ slightly concerning he’s lost strokes on approach over his past two tournaments, he’s still been solid from tee-to-green.
Given this course sets up like a ball strikers course and accuracy, you’d have to mention Henrik Stenson ($9,100 DraftKings; $10,600 FanDuel).
Stenson has hit 70.7% of GIR and 70.8% of fairways over the past 75 weeks. Overall, he ranks first in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach over his past 50 rounds. Stenson has gained over 4.0 strokes on approach in six of his last seven tournaments and hasn’t lost strokes since the WGC-Mexico event in February. He just needs to find a hot putter one of these weeks.
Jim Furyk ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,100 FanDuel) is a prior winner here, notching a victory at Hamilton when it hosted this tournament in 2006. Not that a victory at a course 13 years ago is ever a reason to roster someone. However, he’s a good fit for the course.
He shouldn’t find much trouble off the tee with his 72.2% LT DA, and he has an excellent short game with his 63.4% scrambling rate. Additionally, the 49-year-old ranks 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach over his past 50 rounds.
Keegan Bradley’s ($8,500 DraftKings; $9,900 FanDuel) +1.0 adjusted strokes on par 4s is a slight concern, but it’s hard to ignore a guy who is tied for first in Strokes Gained: Approach over his past 50 rounds. He’s solid at hitting fairways, hitting 67% of them over the past 75 weeks. Bradley also ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and sixth in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking. He’ll always be held back by his putter, which has been dreadful, ranking 145h in Strokes Gained: Putting.
Overall, Keegs has gained strokes on approach in every round in which Shotlink data is available dating back to the Wells Fargo Championship in May 2018. He hasn’t gained strokes putting since the Famers Insurance Open in January.
Daniel Berger ($8,000 DraftKings; $9,700 FanDuel) is priced as the No. 20 golfer, but he carries a top-15 LT Adj Rd Score.
He excels at hitting fairways with his 64.5% LT DA, and even though his 30th-ranked approach game is nothing to write home about, most golfers in these lower pricing tiers this week have some warts. He does, however, have five-straight made cuts to his name and ranks 18th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking over his past 50 rounds.
Sung-jae Im’s ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,600 FanDuel) has slowed down after his hot start to the year, but he’s intriguing this week without a lot of slam dunks in the low pricing tiers.
His approach game has struggled of late, although he does rank 25th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and 13th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. He should be able to keep the ball in the short stuff with his 67.4% LT DA, which should set up for cleaner approaches. His -0.2 adjusted strokes on par 4s is a top-15 mark in the field, while he’s also been able to capitalize on par 5s, averaging -5.6 adjusted strokes on them.
Aaron Wise ($7,800 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) ranks just 80th in Strokes Gained: Approach, but he’s been able to gain strokes on approach in three of his past four tournaments. And outside of his approaches, he’s been solid everywhere else, ranking 16th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 19th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.
Almost none of Alexander Noren’s ($7,700 DraftKings; $9,200 FanDuel) individual metrics stand out, but he’s priced as the No. 27 golfer and carries the 10th-best LT Adj Rd Score in the field.
Zach Johnson ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel) is in a similar boat to Noren. ZJ is priced as the No. 28 golfer and has a comparable 69.2 LT Adj Rd Score. Although, ZJ’s approach game has been decent over his past 50 rounds, ranking 15th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 23rd in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Nick Watney ($7,500 DraftKings; $8,800 FanDuel) is an intriguing play with his 68.8 recent Adj Rd Score. He’s made the cut in three of his past four tournaments and has gained strokes on approach in four-straight events.
Joaquin Niemann ($7,700 DraftKings; $9,000 FanDuel) ranks 15th in par-4 efficiency from 400-450 yards. And while he doesn’t have any high finishes to his name this year, his metrics look good, ranking 17th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 12th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and 15th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Corey Conner’s ($7,700 DraftKings; $8,900 FanDuel) putter continues to hold him back, but he’s hit 70.5% of GIR and 64.2% of fairways over the past 75 weeks. Further, he’s been dominant in every facet over his past 50 rounds with the exception of his short game and putting. In that time frame, he ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, third in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and seventh in Strokes Gained: Approach.
$6,900 and Below
Sepp Straka ($6,800 DraftKings; $8,000 FanDuel) is incredibly volatile with his 43% missed-cut rate over the past 75 weeks, but he’s hit 70.5% of GIR in that time frame. He also ranks 19th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and 19th in Strokes Gained: Approach over his past 50 rounds. I wouldn’t use him outside of tournaments, though.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more golf coverage!
Note: Strokes Gained and efficiency data via Fantasy National.
Pictured above: Webb Simpson
Photo credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports