This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
RBC Canadian Open
Hamilton Golf & Country Club (6,967 yards, par-70)
$1,368,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner
Although the prize pool has been boosted by a significant $1.4M to $7.6M this year, the RBC Canadian Open still failed to entice an exceptional field as U.S. Open preparations begin for many of the game's best down at Pebble Beach. For the first time ever, the excitement level surrounding Canada's Open will be forced to compete with the NBA Finals as well, as the Raptors duke it out with a dynasty on the road before returning to Toronto for Game 5 this coming Monday. Play at Hamilton Golf & Country Club just down the road in Ancaster, Ontario will be wrapped up by then, as a collection of entrants make their last-ditch efforts to join the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking by June 10 and therefore qualify for next week's major in last-minute fashion. The forecast just north of the border looks quite promising throughout the tournament with high temps occasionally reaching the upper-70s, a moderate breeze surpassing no more than 10 mph and relatively sunny skies.
Recent Past Champions
2018 - Dustin Johnson (Glen Abbey)
2017 - Jhonattan Vegas (Glen Abbey)
2016 - Jhonattan Vegas (Glen Abbey)
2015 - Jason Day (Glen Abbey)
2014 - Tim Clark (Royal Montreal)
2013 - Brandt Snedeker (Glen Abbey)
2012 - Scott Piercy (Hamilton G&CC)
2011 - Sean O'Hair (Shaughnessy G&CC)
2010 - Carl Pettersson (St. George's G&CC)
Key Stats to Victory
Strokes Gained: Approach
Proximity > 200 yards
Par-4: 400-450 scoring
Ontario's Hamilton Golf & Country Club has been the site of the Canadian Open on three separate occasions throughout the 2000s, but this will be the first edition since a huge number of trees were removed from the grounds during major renovations. With just two par-5s and handful of dogleg par-4s, the venue still can't simply be overpowered, however. Additionally, a trio of par-3s measuring over 200 yards will place even more of an emphasis on precision with long irons. Nonetheless, scoring conditions should be prime given the wind remains tame, while par-breaker percentage plays an even greater role in determining DFS success. Scott Piercy racked up 20 birdies and two eagles en route to his winning 17-under performance here in 2012, so the course is clearly gettable.
FanDuel Value Picks
Dustin Johnson, $12,600 - Although it'll be his first crack at Hamilton G&CC, DJ has already enjoyed quite a run at the RBC Canadian with a T8, two runner-ups and a three-stroke victory throughout his past five appearances. You'd be hard-pressed to find many folks that can putt better on poa annua surfaces than the defending champ, who also leads the PGA Tour in SG: Total during the 2018-19 campaign. Additionally, Johnson has gained an average of 8.3 strokes from tee to green over his last five events, which includes a pair of second-place results at the Masters and PGA Championship.
Brooks Koepka, $12,500 - We already know Koepka's primary focus will be on capturing his third consecutive U.S. Open title next week at Pebble Beach, but that doesn't change the fact that he's currently the best player in the world and could effortlessly make mincemeat out of the lowly competition in Canada if motivation remains. Up to third on Tour in birdie average, fourth in holes per eagle, seventh in GIR percentage and second in proximity from 175-200 yards, Koepka makes for quite a DFS darling as his price would indicate.
Webb Simpson, $10,800 - Placing T29-T18-T16-T5 in his last four starts dating back to the Masters, Simpson ranks fourth in proximity from over 200 yards and sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 12 rounds. Extending the sample size to his last 24 rounds, he ranks third in P4: 400-450 efficiency and fifth in driving accuracy. Mix in the fact that only three players have posted a better scrambling percentage all season, and Simpson looks like a legit contender in what will be his first RBC Canadian Open appearance since 2010.
Brandt Snedeker, $10,300 - The last time Hamilton G&CC hosted the event, Sneds tied for third in terms of putting average and holed an average of 4.75 tweeters per round on the way to a T34, just one year before his win at Glen Abbey. He rocks an elite short game and is coming off back-to-back top-20s at the Charles Schwab Challenge and PGA Championship.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Jim Furyk, $10,100 - Finding the winner's circle at the 2006 edition of the Canadian Open played at Hamilton, Furyk strolled to two scores of 65 or better that week as he ultimately led the field in putting average and collected 20 total par-breakers. He's still relevant more than a decade later at 49 years old, currently residing at 32nd in the FedExCup standings thanks to top-25s in more than half of his 15 starts this season. Hamilton's modest length should once again work in Furyk's favor, while he leads the PGA Tour in driving accuracy and ranks 13th in GIR percentage.
Adam Hadwin, $9,300 - A slew of gamers will make a conscious effort to include at least one Canadian in their lineups, with the likes of Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes looking awfully appealing in the sub-$9K range. This presents a chance to pivot to a less talked about, but much more experienced Hadwin at just a few hundred dollars more. Hadwin reps more than just an accurate tee ball, as he also ranks 11th in proximity from over 200 yards and 30th in total birdies this season.
Joaquin Niemann, $9,000 - To put it kindly, Niemann has been atrocious with the flat stick. He's lost an average of 1.6 strokes putting over his last 20 tournaments and it has led to just one top-25 all season despite making the cut in 13 events. On the flip side, the Chilean has gained an average of nearly three strokes tee to green over that same 20-tourney span, so the ball-striking upside is there. Niemann ranks 10th in proximity and just needs an average putting week to produce major value at only $9K.
Nate Lashley, $8,000 - Dropping all the way down to $8K, you just need Lashley to make the cut among a 156-man field in cash-game formats. He's done a great job of this throughout the 2018-19 season, advancing to the weekend in nine of his 12 starts en route to a quartet of top-25s. Over his last 24 rounds, Lashley ranks 14th in SG: Approach and he recently qualified for the U.S. Open in a three-for-two playoff scenario at sectionals this Monday.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
Examining the five players listed over $11K, it's tough to endorse Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas or Matt Kuchar despite all three of them potentially fostering much less attention than usual as Johnson and Koepka present significant appeal. If I was forced to deploy a super-contrarian lineup in a GPP, however, game theory would lead me to a squad that begins with Thomas and Kuchar. Thomas' wrist injury is still a focus among the casual gamer but it shouldn't really be much of a concern at this point, and a second-round 80 at the Memorial will shy even more folks away. He simply endured a brutal seven-hole closing stretch at Muirfield as the rust stemming from his absence continue to shake off. Kuchar also missed the cut at the Memorial as he lost over three strokes on approach shots. This marked the first time Kuchar had lost more than 0.3 strokes on approach since the 2018 Northern Trust, so it's basically a fluke.