Pamela Maldonado gives her top picks for the RBC Canadian Open from Toronto, Ontario.
PAMELA MALDONADO: The PGA moves north over to Canada for the RBC Canadian Open, an event that was canceled in the last two years. Looking at the course, St. George's Golf and Country Club, a par 70, over 7,000 yards. The last time that this course hosted an event was back in 2010, which means we're not going to be able to utilize some of that course history.
You do have elevated tee boxes, uphill approach shots, thick rough, blind spots into really small sloped bent grass greens. There are five par 3s on this course, all over 200 yards, only one par 5 that's over 550, and two par 4s that are just barely over 475. So it is definitely a shorter course.
With that in mind, there are two ways that you can attack this week. Looking first to the iron players that can hit their mark on these really small greens or players that are really good with scrambling around the green and have good bent grass history. Now, there's two players that I like for this week.
Looking first to Matthew Fitzpatrick, plus 105 for a top 20, 16 to 1 for a win. I'm definitely interested in that top 20 odds. And although we were on him last week and he missed the cut, you have to look at the data. For Fitzpatrick, he lost 7 strokes putting last week. That is the single worst of his career. In the only two events where he has lost more than 3.2 strokes with the flat stick, both were at the Memorial.
Now, in the field, Fitzpatrick is fifth in strokes gained around the green, sixth in strokes gained tee to green, and top 25 in scrambling. Prior to last week, he was also a top 20 machine, with eight top 20 finishes in his last 11 events.
Now, Fitzpatrick has only had five missed cuts in the last 12 months. And looking at the last two times that he missed the cut, he followed that up with a tee 5 at the Valspar and a tee 2 at the Wells Fargo Championship. Definitely, this could be a good spot for Fitzpatrick to find a bounce back.
The second player that I like is Tony Finau, plus 125 for a top 20, 30 to 1 for a win. In the last 24 rounds, Finau was top 20 in strokes gained on the approach, top 20 in strokes gained of iron play of over 200 yards. And since I did mention that there are five par 3's, all of which are over 200, he's also top 25 in strokes gained around the green. Finau has actually gained strokes around the green in four straight events.
And he's actually top 25 in putting. That's actually true. Finau has gained or been neutral in his last six of his seven events with the flat stick. And he is coming off a tee 4 at the Schwab. Use some of that momentum into this week.
So those are two players that I like to contend this week for the RBC Canadian Open, looking to Matthew Fitzpatrick to have a bounce back after last week's missed cut and Tony Finau utilizing some of his tee 4 momentum into this week.
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