For the first time since 2019, the RBC Canadian Open returns to Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ancaster, Ontario. The Canadian Open possesses one of the richest histories on the PGA Tour, and it has been held annually since 1904. Last time Hamilton played host venue, we saw Rory McIlroy triumph at 22-under par by seven strokes, capped by a final round 61.

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The four-time major winner will return to Hamilton in hopes of his third Canadian Open title, yet he will be welcomed by a bit of a different golf course. After the final putt dropped at the 2019 tournament, famed restoration architect Martin Ebert laid out his first plans for a revamped golf course. Ebert added over 180 yards in length and worked tirelessly to restore some of the key elements of Harry Colt’s original 1914 design, while accounting for advances in modern technology.

The aforementioned McIlroy headlines a strong field that also includes the likes of Shane Lowry, Sam Burns, Sahith Theegala, Tommy Fleetwood, Sungjae Im and defending champion Nick Taylor. Let’s dive into the slate.

$10,000 range Play: Tommy Fleetwood, $10,300:

We saw Tommy Fleetwood come incredibly close at the Canadian Open last year, and I’m expecting another strong performance out of the Englishman this year. Fleetwood is coming off a top-30 finish at the PGA Championship where he gained strokes in both ball-striking categories. Fleetwood’s elite accuracy off the tee and ability to spike with the flat-stick should play beautifully this week at Hamilton.

Fade: Sahith Theegala, $10,500: 2153237454

Andrew Redington

Sahith Theegala has made a major leap this season, but I still have concerns about his course fit at Hamilton. The Colt design features one of the higher missed fairway penalties on tour, and Theegala still can get a bit a loose off the tee. The occasional wild tee ball was Theegala’s undoing at Valhalla, and he will be penalized even more for his inability to consistently find the fairway at Hamilton.

$9,000 range Play: Sam Burns, $9,400: 2153304277

David Cannon

While it has been a quiet few months for Sam Burns, the five-time PGA Tour winner is quietly playing better than his results would suggest. While Burns missed the cut at the PGA Championship, he gained over 2.5 strokes on approach, and he now travels to a golf course that should emphasize his skill-set even further. Burns remains one of the best putters in this field inside 15 feet, and he has had a tremendous amount of success on shorter, more positional golf courses.

Fade: Cameron Young, $9,800:

Cameron Young’s power off the tee is always intriguing, but I have legitimate concerns about his ability to make enough putts this week. Young is also coming off his worst approach week of the season at Valhalla. A lack of reliability on approach and with the flat-stick is far from a winning formula at Hamilton.

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$8,000 range Play: Aaron Rai, $8,900: 2154296886

Sam Hodde

After coming up one stroke short of a playoff at the Canadian Open last year, Aaron Rai is primed for another run north of the border. The Englishman is coming off a 32nd-place finish at Colonial, where he gained 4.4 strokes off the tee and 2.5 strokes on approach. Rai has now gained over 3.5 strokes ball-striking in three straight starts. If the 29-year-old can summon anything close to a decent putting performance, I expect him to be right in the mix come Sunday afternoon in Ontario.

Fade: Nick Taylor, $8,000:

While Nick Taylor won this event last year on a similar golf course in Oakdale, I have considerable questions about his recent form. The Canadian has now lost strokes on approach in four straight starts, and he has been struggling with the flat-stick. Coming off another missed cut at the PGA Championship, Taylor has failed to garner any semblance of consistency since his February win in Phoenix.

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Jared C. Tilton

Already a winner recently at the CJ Cup, Taylor Pendrith is playing some great golf. Now returning to his home country, the Canadian should be extra motivated to continue his momentum. Pendrith is sneakily one of the best bentgrass/Poa combo putters in this field, and I am highly encouraged by a runner-up finish at Detroit Golf Club, another shorter, bent/Poa golf course with undulating green complexes.

Fade: Ben Griffin, $7,500:

Though he’s always a threat on the greens, I have considerable concerns about Ben Griffin’s ball-striking. Coming off a missed cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge where he lost strokes both off the tee and on approach, there are simply players in this price range with far more ball-striking upside.

Flier: Seamus Power, $7,200: 2149570723

Jared C. Tilton

After a slow start to the season, Seamus Power is finally starting to round into form. Power is coming off a 16th-place finish at the Wells Fargo, where he gained 1.5 strokes off the tee and 6.9 strokes on approach. Hamilton perfectly fits the mold of golf courses that Power always seems to succeed at—over the last three years, the Irishman ranks fifth in this field on short courses.

$6,000 range Play: Brice Garnett, $6,100:

At $6,100, Brice Garnett is sneakily one of my favorite plays on the slate. Already a winner this year in Puerto Rico, Garnett is one of the most accurate drivers on tour, and he is coming off a 35th at the PGA Championship where he gained six strokes on approach. Garnett is also one of the better putters in this field, and the best putting performance of his entire career came on similar Bent/Poa greens at the Travelers Championship.

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Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports

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