Heading north of the border this week, the PGA TOUR heads to Toronto for the RBC Canadian Open.
The host course is Oakdale Golf and Country Club, making its debut appearance on the big stage.
Without any course history of previous data at the course, we’ll be flying blind in terms of what style of play will be best suited for Oakdale.
However, we do know it’s a relatively short layout with five par 4s under 400 yards. We know that the PGA TOUR typically takes a cautious approach with new venues which results in a lot of birdies. We also know the turf is cool-season grass with bentgrass fairways and bent-poa greens. Let’s lean on that last area in our search for finding some DFS fillers.
Comfort in Canada
We aren’t too far removed from the Florida Swing which featured a lot of bermudagrass and overseeded turf.
When we head to Canada, though, we know we’ll see bentgrass and/or poa annua greens in most places. That is the case at Oakdale this week.
It’s a comfort factor for many. Even last week, Danny Willett had this to say at Muirfield Village, which is also cool-season turf, “I think the grass potentially is similar to back home. Any time I come up north the grass is a little bit more similar to back home up here. Potentially you kind of see things a little bit on the greens when it’s that kind of way.”
Instead of sorting players by geographic location, let’s just look at past performance on bentgrass and/or poa annua greens.
Here are the top performers in adjusted strokes gained per round on courses with bent-poa greens, over the last two years:
We can also look at performance versus baseline to see who shows the largest increase in performance compared to their typical scores:
Keith Mitchell is a fascinating name to see on the list. Just a few years ago he would rant and rave about wanting to play as much as possible on bermuda turf. Now, his splits are tilting in the other direction. That could be a product of growth as a player or it could be due to him only playing bent-poa courses if it’s a big event or if he thinks the course will really suit his game. Whatever the case is, we don’t have to be afraid of backing him outside of bermuda territory.
Rose rallies ahead of the Canadian Open
The Englishman missed back-to-back cuts after winning at Pebble Beach but he’s back on track in recent weeks. Rose has top 25s in five of his last six starts. He shows up on the bent-poa overlap list above which makes sense with him growing up in the UK. Rose also sports top 15s in three of his four tries at this event.
Hadwin a hopeful Canadian contender
The Canadian has spoken about his dislike of bermudagrass at times over the course of his career. I guess it’s no surprise that all 12 of his top-5 finishes have come on bent-poa or overseeded conditions. Hadwin has come close at this event in the past, arriving with three top 10s on his tournament resume.