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RBC Canadian Open picks 2024: The (other) Englishman we love in Canada

NORTH BERWICK, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 04: England's Aaron Rai (R) and Tommy Fleetwood on the 18th during the Aberdeen Standard Investments  Scottish Open (Day Four)  at the Renaissance Club on October 04, 2020, in North Berwick, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

An out-of-nowhere winner in Davis Riley at Colonial was certainly not what our panel was expecting last week, especially with Scottie Scheffler in the field (naturally, Scheffler still managed a T-2). This week at the RBC Canadian Open Scheffler is out but Rory McIlroy is in, creating another heavy favorite and everybody else scenario.

Will it be McIlroy who wins for a second time at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, or will we see another unlikely winner emerge north of the border? The panel is leaning toward the latter.

Our betting panel is comprised of a caddie reporting anonymously from the grounds of Hamilton Golf and Country Club, Pat Mayo of Underdog/Mayo Media Network, Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel, Andy Lack of RunPureSports.com, your two authors and Keith Stewart, the CEO of Read The Line. Stewart, our newest member of the panel, is our new betting content partner as well.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2024 RBC Canadian Open

RBC Canadian Open picks 2024: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Doug Ghim (70-1, FanDuel) — The rough is thick here this week at Hamilton, which will give a real advantage to someone like Doug Ghim, who’s top 30 on tour this year in driving accuracy and is top 35 in strokes gained/approach. The Texas Longhorn plays his best on shorter, positional courses—which is the way to succeed this week, and I love these odds.

Pat Mayo, Underdog/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Aaron Rai (40-1, BetMGM) — Expect much of the same as we always get from the Brit: A ton of strokes gained tee-to-green where he immediately gives them all back with the putter. But maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t this week?

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Tommy Fleetwood (16-1, FanDuel) — Fleetwood always stands out at courses where distance isn’t an absolute must, and his accuracy with driver helps elevate him in these situations. He’s a great all-around golfer who is a strong putter from within 15 feet. This is a great breakthrough opportunity.

Keith Stewart, Read The Line: Sahith Theegala (20-1, BetMGM) — Sahith Theegala has five top-10 finishes this year. Over his past 10 starts, the Pepperdine alum is gaining five strokes on the field. A small stumble on Sunday at the PGA Championship dropped him to 12th, but he started the final round in the penultimate group alongside Shane Lowry. Long range accuracy and putting are the keys in Canada, and Sahith can score both ways. He’s been close to his second win multiple times over the past few months. This is the week he breaks through again.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Aaron Rai (40-1, BetMGM) — The ball-striking is next level for Rai right now—he's gained almost 20 strokes ball-striking over the past three events, which includes the PGA Championship. As Pat said, it comes down to a decent putting week, but it’s not impossible—he's about 50-50 this year in measured events on the greens.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Sahith Theegala (20-1, BetMGM) — Save for one bad round at the Wells Fargo, Theegala has been absolutely cooking over the last four months, particularly with the irons. He’s gained three or more strokes on approach in four of his last five starts, and the putter has been hot, too. He’s been closing in on that second victory for much of 2024 now and this feels like a good spot for it to happen.

Andy Lack, Run Pure Sports and Inside Golf podcast: Sam Burns (28-1, BetMGM) — While it’s been a quiet couple of months for Sam Burns, the six-time PGA Tour winner is playing better than his results would suggest. Burns gained over 2.5 strokes on approach at the PGA Championship, and his iron play has been steadily improving over his last three starts. Burns also remains one of the best putters in this field, and always raises his baseline in easier scoring conditions. I’ll gladly go to battle with the player who possesses the most win equity in this tier of the odds board, on a course that fits his game to a tee.

Past results: The boys officially bagged a major, with our anonymous caddie and Christopher Powers both correctly predicting Xander Schauffele’s PGA Championship victory at 14-1 (and, more importantly, we avoided the dreaded headline curse). That’s CP’s first hit of 2024 and our caddie’s third (!) cash of the year. He leads the way, with Pat Mayo checking in next with two wins (Jake Knapp 40-1 in Mexico; Akshay Bhatia 65-1 at Valero). Stephen Hennessey also cashed on Bhatia at Valero. Not bad, not bad.

RBC Canadian Open picks 2024: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Pierceson Coody (250-1, Bet365) — This is a similar type of test that we saw last week at Colonial, and the talented former Longhorn succeeded there. He’s a really good young player who’s trending, and the oddsmakers apparently haven’t fully noticed.

Mayo: Brice Garnett (175-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — There’s only so many courses where the entire field can theoretically compete for a win with any skill set. Hamilton is one of those courses. Garnett is incredibly accurate off the tee, plays long par 3s the best in the field over the last 24 rounds and sits in the top 10 of greens in regulation. Already a winner in 2024, he’s coming off gaining six strokes at the PGA Championship and has put together consecutive quality showings at shorter courses (T-35 Sawgrass and T-18 Heritage), but against much stronger fields.

Gdula: Doug Ghim (70-1, FanDuel) — Ghim’s game is really strong in some areas (mostly the tee-to-green data), but his putter tends to fall short. He’s an above-average putter from within 15 feet this year, so we can probably expect that to trend up. The rest of the game is there when he’s on to get hot enough for a win.

Stewart: Mackenzie Hughes (40-1, BetMGM) — The top five at this course in 2019 included Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker. Mackenzie Hughes is a Canadian version of all three. Great short-game scorers fare well here. Brad Faxon finished runner-up in a playoff to Bob Tway in 2003. Hughes is the best putter/scrambler in the field. Although his approach game does not match the elite class, Mac still gains three strokes every start on the field. He just finished sixth at Wells Fargo and didn’t gain positively on approach. The home crowd will inspire these native guys and help one of them complete the Canadian repeat ... why not the best putter?

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Adam Hadwin (50-1, Caesars Sportsbooks) — How fitting would it be if Hadwin—after being tackled on the green last year after Nick Taylor’s win—is the one lifting the trophy this year? I’m more of a data-driven bettor, but I love that narrative. Plus, I love Hadwin on courses that are wedge-heavy, which should be the case this week, and he’s top 50 in this field in driving accuracy in 2024, per RickRunGood.com.

Powers, Golf Digest: Akshay Bhatia (50-1, FanDuel) — Bhatia’s form has taken a dip since his breakthrough win at Valero but a strong approach performance at the PGA and a decent Friday at Colonial (he missed the cut) have me back in on him at this number.

Lack: Seamus Power (100-1, FanDuel) — Seamus Power has proven himself as a short course specialist that always can heat up both on approach and with the flat-stick. That’s the formula this week at Hamilton, and Power is coming off a top-20 finish at the Wells Fargo Championship where he gained nearly seven strokes on approach.

RBC Canadian Open picks 2024: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Alex Noren (20-1, BetRivers) — Noren has cooled down off his hot streak a few events ago, and I don’t think he belongs among the best players in this field at the moment.

Mayo: Corey Conners (22-1, FanDuel) — Too big of a number for a player who just doesn’t roll it on the greens at a winning level.

Gdula: Corey Conners (22-1, FanDuel) — Conners missed the cut here in 2019 and just never really putts well enough to convert on his elite ball-striking. The underlying putting splits aren’t enough for me to get there at 22-1 with so many other names in that tier I’d rather bet, like Fleetwood, Theegala, and Noren.

Stewart: Tommy Fleetwood (16-1, FanDuel) — There are multiple reasons why I wish to fade Tommy Fleetwood this week. For starters, he captured the winning Ryder Cup point back in September. I should move on. Second, Fleetwood has 20 top five finishes on the PGA Tour. I find it extremely tough to take a player who has not won on tour with odds below 25-1. I mention 25-1 because that was the number I had on Tommy last year when he lost to Nick Taylor. Fleetwood had every opportunity to finish with a win and couldn’t close. If his odds were 30-1, I’m in, but as a favorite it’s going to be a certain fade.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Corey Conners (22-1, FanDuel) — I like most of the Canadians this week, but the win equity just isn’t there with Conners at these odds.

Powers, Golf Digest: Tommy Fleetwood (16-1, FanDuel) — Sub 20-1 Fleetwood is going to always be a no from me, dog.

Lack: Cameron Young (25-1, FanDuel) — Until Cameron Young breaks the seal with his first PGA Tour victory, I see no reason to bite at such a short number. I have interest in Cameron Young on golf courses that heavily accentuate off-the-tee skill, Hamilton is a track where players will club down off the tee and play to similar spots. The emphasis will then fall squarely on wedge play and putting, two highly unreliable aspects of Young’s game.

RBC Canadian Open picks 2024: Matchups

Caddie: Aaron Rai (-140) over Taylor Pendrith (DraftKings) — Rai always peppers fairways and greens, which is the key to success at Hamilton—not quite the bomb and gouge approach where Pendrith excels. Plus, Rai doesn’t have the pressure of being a Canadian in his national open.

Mayo: Akshay Bhatia (+100) over Mackenzie Hughes (DraftKings) — Following his win at Valero his number instantly tanked. It could have had something to do with his rib injury he played through in that playoff or maybe a come down after notching a win and immediately playing in majors and signature events. Potentially a combo of everything. Either way, Colonial was the first non-elevated field he’s played in the past two months, and while it resulted in a missed cut, he started hitting fairways again. Something that he did basically every event for two years prior to this recent lull. If he’s harnessed that power again, he’s still flashing elite upside with his irons and can spike with his putter at any moment. The number seems too large in a field this weak.

Gdula: Mark Hubbard (-120) over Nick Taylor (FanDuel) — While these are two of the better long-term iron players in the field, Hubbard’s recent form stands out versus Taylor’s, and Taylor is running a bit too hot with the putter right now.

Stewart: Ben Griffin (+100) over Nicolai Højgaard (Bet365) — I’m not sure what happened to Nicolai Højgaard after the Masters, but he’s been horrible. He has missed two of three cuts and is losing an average of four strokes (total) per tournament. Ben Griffin, on the other hand, has witnessed an opposite trajectory. He has two top-15 results in his last three events and gained nearly four strokes per start over his last five. Griffin’s gift with the flatstick should help him on Hamilton’s greens as an extra edge to help take down Højgaard. At plus odds, this head-to-head was too good to pass up.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Shane Lowry (+100) over Sahith Theegala (DraftKings) — I’ll side with Lowry’s elite accuracy here over the wildness off the tee of Sahith.

Powers, Golf Digest: Thorbjorn Olesen (-110) over Eric Cole (DraftKings) — This is simply a fade of Eric Cole, who has not been the same player in 2024 as he was in 2023. Once a top-10 machine, Cole has missed five of his last 10 cuts and hasn’t finished inside the top 20 since Riviera. Olesen hasn’t exactly lit it up, either, but he’s more recently showed some solid form with a top 15 at Valero.

Lack: Corey Conners (-120) over Cameron Young (DraftKings) — I’m going to roll with the far superior iron player in this matchup. Corey Conners ranks first in this field in recent iron play, and he is coming off a week at the PGA Championship where he gained 8.5 strokes on approach. Young, on the other hand, is coming off his worst approach performance of the season at the PGA Championship, and I have considerable concerns about his ability to keep up in a short-iron fest.

Matchup Results from the Charles Schwab Challenge: Lack: 1 for 1 (Finau (+100) over English); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Hoge (-115) over Horschel); Powers: 1 for 1 (Bradley (-120) over Rose); Hennessey: PUSH (Harman (-125) over M.W. Lee); Stewart: PUSH (Harman (-125) over M.W. Lee); Mayo: 0 for 1; Caddie: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Lack 14-6-1 (up 6.5 units); Mayo: 13-7-1 (up 5.46 units); Caddie: 13-7-0 (up 4.51 units); Gdula: 11-8-2 (up 1.61 units); Powers: 9-9-2 (down 0.09 units); Hennessey: 8-9-4 (down 2.01 units); Stewart: 8-12-1 (down 4.72 units)

RBC Canadian Open picks 2024: Top 10s

Caddie: Beau Hossler (+800, DraftKings) — Hossler is playing out of his slump from the past few months and is due for a top finish. I could see that coming on this type of setup—he's not overly long off the tee, but he can get hot with his irons and putter.

Mayo: Cameron Young (+275, DraftKings) — Young has posted top 10s in the last three non-signature events/majors he’s played in. He’ll eventually win on tour and this type of field is his best shot.

Gdula: Alex Noren (+240, FanDuel) — Noren’s consistency is impressive, and the setup should be right for him at Hamilton. Noren’s more accurate than he is long and enters with eight straight top-25 finishes – backed by great all-around numbers.

Stewart: Shane Lowry (+275, Bet365) — The “Irish Bear” Shane Lowry finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy in 2019 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. Shane has had an incredible spring winning the Zurich Classic with McIlroy and a recent sixth place at Valhalla in the season’s second major. His ball-striking success this season has been plagued by a balky putter. Lowry went low in Kentucky fueled by a nine-stroke gain with his flatstick. Can he do it again in Canada? I bet he can, based upon the seven plus strokes he gained on the greens the last time the tour visited Hamilton. One other edge, Harry Colt who designed the course also created Royal Portrush, the venue for Shane’s Open Championship win in Ireland.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Shane Lowry (+250, DraftKings) — The Irishman is trending up, having a great run at the PGA Championship, and he exhibits the skillset we want this week—hitting fairways (he’s 10th in this field in 2024, per RickRunGood.com) and greens (he’s fourth in SG/approach).

Powers, Golf Digest: Erik van Rooyen (+450, DraftKings) — The results haven’t shown it but EVR has still hit the ball well since his runner-up finish at the Honda. He’s just been in much tougher fields and on much tougher courses. This week should be a little bit more his speed – lots of wedges, lots of birdies, and a potential winning total in the high teens/early 20s.

Lack: Adam Hadwin (+450, DraftKings) — While I’m not sure that we will see a Canadian win this event in back-to-back years, I’m still expecting a strong performance from some of the Presidents Cup hopefuls. Adam Hadwin is a perfect example of a player right on the bubble, and a big week at Hamilton would certainly help his case. Hadwin is one of the better wedge players and putters in this field, and he already has a sixth-place finish at Hamilton in 2019.

Top-10 results from the Charles Schwab Challenge: Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Hayden Buckley +5000); Everybody else: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Hennessey: 6 for 21 (up 53.25 units); Caddie: 4 for 20 (down 2.65 units); Gdula: 4 for 21 (down 1.9 units); Mayo: 3 for 21 (down 5 units); Lack: 4 for 21 (down 6.45 units); Stewart: 4 for 21 (down 7.82 units); Powers: 3 for 21 (down 10.4 units)

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME. 

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for numberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13. 

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor for Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith's winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.

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 the head of golf content 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 RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports