2023 RBC Canadian Open First Round Leader Bets: Picks for Ludvig Aberg, Michael Thorbjornsen & Chez Reavie
Via David Cannon/Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Thorbjornsen of The United States plays his second shot on the first hole during the delayed third round on Day Four of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club on January 29, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
On Tuesday, the news of a LIV Golf and PGA Tour merger sent shockwaves through the golf landscape. There are many questions left to be answered in the coming days and weeks, but in the meantime, there is golf to be played and tickets to be cashed.
The event this week will be at Oakdale Golf and Country Club, which is a brand-new course for the Canadian Open. However, in the past five editions of the RBC Canadian Open at other courses, there have been 10 first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the 10, six have come from the morning wave, and four have emerged from the afternoon wave. None of the 10 went on to win the tournament.
As of now, neither wind nor weather is expected to be a major factor on Thursday. It'll be about 60 degrees and mostly calm for much of the day. I believe it's safe to play golfers from either the AM or PM wave this week.
2023 RBC Canadian Open First-Round Leader Picks
Ludvig Aberg +5000 (FanDuel)
First-Round Tee Time: 7:44 a.m. ET
Ludvig Aberg will be making his professional debut on Thursday, and there’s a lot to like about his game. The Swede has been a mainstay on the World Amateur Golf Rankings for the past few years and is an enormous talent.
Aberg completely swept the college golf awards. He became the second player ever to win the Hogan Award in two consecutive years, with the other being Jon Rahm. He also won the Nicklaus and Haskins awards.
The sky's the limit for the all-time winningest player in Texas Tech history, and I believe he makes his presence known on Tour right away at the RBC Canadian Open.
Michael Thorbjornsen +8000 (FanDuel)
First-Round Tee Time: 2:27 p.m. ET
As high as I am on Aberg, there isn’t a prospect in the game who I believe has a higher ceiling than Michael Thorbjornsen. The 21-year-old oozes talent and has the pedigree, swing and charisma that I believe will make him a surefire superstar once his game matures.
There’s a reason Adidas signed “Thor” shortly after parting ways with Dustin Johnson. He’s the total package.
Thor has started quickly in two of his most recent starts on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. He got into contention at the Travelers, a shorter track with similar greens to Oakdale, and was the 36-hole leader at the Dubai Desert Classic.
I’m anticipating another flying start from the Massachusetts native this week.
Chez Reavie +11000 (FanDuel)
First-Round Tee Time: 7:55 a.m. ET
Although his recent results aren’t necessarily showing it, I believe Chez Reavie is finding some form at the moment. He’s gained strokes putting in eight straight events, which tells me he’s due for a low round if he can just have a strong ball-striking performance.
I’d argue that Reavie is finally heading to a course that should really suit his game. He’s won in Canada (2008 Canadian Open) and has been excellent on short tracks throughout his career.
With distance not being a major factor this week, he will just have to dial in his wedge game on Thursday.
Brandt Snedeker +13000 (DraftKings)
First-Round Tee Time: 1:10 p.m. ET
It’s been a rough year for Brandt Snedeker. Back in December, the 42-year-old underwent an “experimental” surgery on his sternum that seemed to be incredibly painful. Although he could be a little rusty, he’s now pain free.
If last week was any indication, Snedeker’s procedure seemed to be a success. In his first start since September, he finished 41st at an incredibly difficult golf course and gained 3.5 strokes on approach. He struggled off the tee, which is no surprise given that he doesn’t hit it very far.
This week, his lack of distance won’t hurt him, and he has some encouraging form in Canada. He finished fourth in the Canadian Open in 2019, eighth in 2018, fifth in 2016 and won the event in 2013. Sneds should feel pretty comfortable at Oakdale this week.