This article is part of our PrizePicks Golf series.
PrizePicks offers a unique twist on DFS play in the form of Over/Under picks for individual players in almost every sport imaginable. You have the opportunity to pick two, three or four players per entry, and the goal is to predict whether the individual player will end up over or under the projected total PrizePicks provides. For PGA play, you are required to pick at least one Over and one Under play. The legend for scoring in this format is as follows:
|Double Eagle or Better||13|
|Double Bogey or Worse||-1|
Unlike your usual PGA DFS platforms, PrizePicks offers PGA gameplay on a per-round basis, not for an entire tournament. So, the projected totals you see today are for the individual rounds on Thursday, and once Thursday's round commences, you will see updated numbers for Friday, and so on.
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Today we'll be tackling the opening round of the RBC Canadian Open. Let's get to it!
Hamilton Golf and Country Club – Par 70, 6,966 yards
Before we discuss the particulars of this week's layout, we should begin by saying that tournament history Is a non-factor and should be excluded from your thought process. This tournament has jumped around from year to year, and while the previous winners on this course (Scott Piercy and Jim Furyk) are in our field this week, both victories happened several years ago, and I don't think their success here gives them much of an advantage.
Since the U.S. Open is only a week away, many players consider this tournament to be a reasonable tune-up for Pebble Beach. This situation carries a modicum of risk, though. Be sure to double-check your lineups before tee-off tomorrow, because tournaments like these are notorious for last-minute scratches from players who suddenly feel like their preparation for the Open would be better served by not competing this weekend.
This layout is under 7,000 yards and one of the shortest tracks on Tour currently, so you don't need to have the long ball to compete here. The challenge is keeping the ball in the fairway, as there are plenty of challenging holes where you can find trouble with an errant tee shot. Although you'll need accuracy off the tee to optimize your approaches, the ability to go low is possible and even probable, and I think we'll see a winning total of somewhere between 15 and 20 under par this week.
Another noticeable aspect of this course is the lack of Par 5's (2), which means that you'll need to notch a lot of birdies on Par 4's to compete. Putting statistics are incredibly volatile, and I rarely consider them. Unfortunately for DFS players, the hot putter will likely win the day here, and pinpointing those guys is mighty difficult. As a result, I'm going to focus on a metric that gives me a solid indication of who can roll it in with one putt consistently.
Par 4 Birdie or Better – Here's the statistic I'm talking about. We have several guys in the field who rank in the Top 10, and they will likely play a significant role in my considerations this week.
Driving Accuracy Percentage – You don't need to be long, but you do need to keep it out of the rough. More importantly, you'll need to land in the optimal spot for your iron approaches.
Strokes Gained: Approach to the Green – An obvious metric to consider this week.
No significant advantage for any tee-off time on Thursday.
Justin Thomas – 21.5
One glance at Thomas' stats tells you almost all you need to know about his chances this week. I'm going to give him a pass on his dreadful weekend at the Memorial, and although you have to factor in his wrist injury, a hot putter will help cement a top score here. He only trails Phil Mickelson in Par 4 Birdie or Better percentage, and his Strokes Gained on Approach is good for 4th on Tour. His driving accuracy (74th) leaves a bit to be desired, but you have to think Thomas is keen to get his game together for next week. A strong finish here will be a big confidence boost.
Scott Piercy – 20.0
I know, I know – I said that neither Furyk nor Piercy would have a significant advantage, but I like his chances to get to -4 on Thursday. He checks the boxes in all of the critical categories, with his Driving Accuracy (13th) and Par 4 BOB (14th) as the top highlights. Even though his win on this course was in 2012, it certainly doesn't hurt that he's had some success on this layout.
Bud Cauley -19.0
Cauley came in 4th on this course in 2012 and is coming off a 9th place finish at the Memorial. He also tends to come out of the gate quickly, which helps us for Thursday. He isn't spectacular in any of our key categories, but recent play and a familiarity with the course are pluses in my book. If we drill down on Cauley, we see some great short game stats. He's 14th on Tour in putts per round and is second on Tour when scrambling from 10-20 yards.
Dustin Johnson – 23.5
I don't like betting against the World #1, but I think this O/U is just a little too high. He'd have to go 6-under to get here, and even though this course if primed for shellacking like this, I don't think it will come from Dustin in the first round. He tends to come alive more on moving day, and while he averages 68.7 strokes in Round 1 play, he's yet to card a -6 total in the first round this season.
Brooks Koepka – 22.5
What can you say about Koepka that hasn't already been said? While his history as a Major-killer is well-documented, his results in non-Majors aren't all that shabby either. A T2 at the Honda Classic and 4th at the Byron Nelson are highlights in that category, and he's been able to start hot in almost every tournament. Let's do the math for 22.5, though. He'll need to shoot a 64 to get to this number, and while he's certainly capable of that, he's only broken that threshold once this season, his opening round of 63 at the PGA Championship. I do not doubt that he'll contend this weekend, but I think this total is a little too optimistic.
Jim Furyk – 19.5
I like Furyk as a DFS play this weekend, but he's known for getting into high gear after making the cut. His stats play right in the sweet spot for this course(1st in driving accuracy, 8th in Par 4 Scoring), but his ability to convert birdies on the Par 4's (71st) might limit his production, especially in Round 1, where he rarely breaks 70.