2023 RBC Canadian Open First Look Picks: Bet Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Shane Lowry.
We got a nice win in my Third-Round Buys column after Viktor Hovland erased a six-shot deficit to win the Memorial. It's the first big win for the Norwegian in what appears to be a promising young career. It was also a rightful breakthrough moment given Hovland has played great golf over the past several weeks.
Now, we get a bit of an off week before the U.S. Open with the upcoming RBC Canadian Open. The added factor in handicapping this event is that it will be played on a new course — Oakdale Golf and Country Club — as the event has an annual rotation.
After watching a hole-by-hole flyby, my the biggest takeaway was the number of elevation changes, especially up to elevated greens. It certainly isn't a long course, with the scorecard listing 7,264 yards and some conflicting information as to what par it will play to.
I don't see it making a big difference for our first look card as I'm focusing on players who've shown solid recent form — specifically on approach — which is always the main aspect going into any given week.
One player quietly rounding into form is Shane Lowry, who posted a T16 finish at the Memorial.
The Irishman finished last week seventh on approach as he was really dialed into that aspect of his game. If the next major were The Open Championship instead of the U.S. Open, I'd be pulling the trigger on Lowry.
One thing I do when analyzing a new course is giving a little more credence to overall play. We don't know how much things like around the green will come into play, but with a player like Lowry, we know that his play can be top notch on any track.
In my opinion, this course will be more about accuracy off the tee than length. Beyond that, a great approach with some around the green play could be enough to get near the top of the leaderboard. That description is basically Lowry's game — he is one of my favorites when the odds drop on Monday.
We can just cut and paste what I wrote about Lowry for Tyrrell Hatton. He's a bit of a carbon copy to Lowry as his all-around game gives me comfort, but really, it's his overall form that has me believing he's due for a win.
Hatton finished T12 at Muirfield Village, where his driver and putter led the way. If he had played more consistently on approach it's possible he would've been in the mix in the end.
The Englishman ranks as one of the top players with his irons over the past few months. If that player turns up in Canada, he will be a threat to win.
The good and bad of new courses on Tour is that it can be difficult to make plays on long shots. I've instead hovered in what I expect to be the upper-mid tier as I just want reliable play entering the tournament — and that's exactly what we get with Tommy Fleetwood.
We know he is going to be one of the best players in the field tee to green as his ball striking has been matched by fantastic play around the greens of late. If the numbers are right, I can get a group of solid players in the midrange that make a strong card, regardless of how this course eventually sets up.
Fleetwood fits that mold for me and rounds out the group I'm looking at to start my card at the RBC Canadian Open.