Expert Picks for RBC Canadian Open
After a quick start to the season, highlighted by three straight top-20s, Kim hit several rough patches. Last week, however, he finished a season-best T5 at The Open Championship. In two career Canadian Tour starts, Kim finished T3 in 2009 and T8 in 2008. While those results did not come on this week's course, his uneven season could provide quite a value for those that climb aboard the comeback train early.
John Merrick [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #110
Prior to a disappointing 59th-place result at the John Deere, Merrick had compiled three consecutive top-15s. On Tour, he ranks fourth in total driving, 13th in scoring average and 16th in greens in regulation. Merrick has played in two of the last four Canadian Open events, finishing T36 and T50. However, the optimism over a new hot streak is why you'll want to strongly consider Merrick.
Spencer Levin [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #169
Over his last nine starts, Levin has four top-15 finishes, while missing just two cuts. Aside from a nightmare round of 11-over 81, he had an otherwise impressive showing at The Open Championship. After missing two cuts up north, Levin finished T54 in the Canadian Open a year ago, but will surely improve upon that -- thanks in large part to his 11th-rated scoring average.
Ben Crane [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #106
While Crane has only competed in this event once, it happened to be at Shaughnessy in 2005. He entered the final round in 14th, but rallied to earn a share of second by matching a Sunday best round of 4-under 66. However, Crane has been struggling since he withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship back in March due to injury. His impressive 2005 performance could cause him to be overvalued, but keeps him in the conversation of middle-tier options.
Jim Furyk [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #21
After looking masterful at times a year ago, Furyk continues to lay one egg after another this season. Prior to finishing T48 in The Open Championship, the 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year had missed four straight cuts. Furyk won this event in both 2006 and 2007 as the only two-time winner in this week's field. Furyk didn't compete at Shaughnessy in 2005 and may not be worth the risk given all his current struggles.
Geoff Ogilvy [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #157
Aside from a top-five at the Masters, Ogilvy has been (for the most part) very forgettable this season. The Australian won four Tour events from 2008-10 while finishing as a top-10 player in the FedExCup standings twice. Ogilvy has missed three of his last four cuts, but is far too talented to keep struggling for so long.
Ernie Els [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #41
After missing the cut in four of his last five Tour starts, it has been a rough season for Els thus far. In 12 stroke play events, he's yet to record a finish better than 15th. A coach working with Els recently blamed the struggles on his mental approach to the game. Once Els can find the key and get that lock turned, expect some great performances. Until then, name value could cause Els to be an overrated asset.
Carl Pettersson [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #152
The fact that Pettersson is the defending champion of this event could cause too much hype, especially since the venue has changed. However, he finished T11 in this tournament in 2008 and has made eight of his last nine cuts this season. In that span, Pettersson picked up a pair of top-10s. Still, the Swede isn't sitting high in any major statistics, so he's far from a safe start.
Patrick Cantlay [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #177
Currently sitting on top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking by a wide margin, Cantlay has been very impressive in each of his first three Tour starts as the 19-year-old UCLA product has finished 24th or better each time out. Highlights include a round of 4-under 67 in the U.S. Open and a course round 10-under 60 at the Travelers Championship. The kid is putting up some great numbers and is clearly not feeling any pressure. A little northern exposure shouldn't bother Cantlay a bit.
In his two starts at this tournament, T54 last year and T26 in 2004, Campbell has yet to make much noise. However, he's coming off a surprising T5 finish last week at The Open Championship, his first top-10 finish of the season. Campbell currently ranks seventh in greens in regulation percentage, but will need to ride all that momentum to make an impact this week.
Back in 2005, Atwal finished 10th at Shaughnessy. Over his last six starts this season, he's finished 18th or better on three occasions, highlighted by a top-10 at the Byron Nelson and a top-20 at the John Deere. The combination of prior success on this course and some good recent finishes could propel Atwal as a deep sleeper selection.
After winning the Canadian Open in 2008, Reavie missed the cut the following year. In his last two starts of this season, he picked up a top-five in the John Deere and finished T16 at the Viking Classic (the alternate event to The Open Championship). Reavie is sixth in total driving and 15th in greens in regulation percentage.