The RBC Canadian Open will be contested for the 103rd time this week. Somewhat remarkably, venerable Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Ancaster, Ont. hosts for just the fifth time.
In 1919, J. Douglas Edgar hoisted his first of two consecutive trophies at this tournament organized by the Royal Canadian Golf Association. Tommy Armour won the second edition in 1930, but it would be another 73 years before Hamilton would again serve as the site for the tournament. After a modernization in the late 1990s, it was plugged back into the rota in 2003. Its last turn came in 2006.
It's a par 70 that measures 6,985 yards. Greens are on the small side, averaging 5,000 square feet. They are expected to run about 10.5 on the Stimpmeter. Eighty-seven bunkers help protect the course.
Six years ago, Hamilton checked in as the fourth-easiest of 10 par-70s utilized in non-majors that season. However, its scoring average was over par at 70.267. It ranked 18th in fairways hit (60.78%) and 22nd in greens in regulation (63.64 percent), proving that ball-strikers and shot-shapers will likely flourish on the classic course designed by the renowned Harry Colt.
The birdie average in 2006 was a mere 3.08, good for 15th-lowest on TOUR that year. This clip was aided by a putting average of 1.806, which tied for 14th. Scrambling checked in at a benign 59.48 percent (ranking 40th), so pars are gettable.
The overall profile mirrors The Old White TPC, host of The Greenbrier Classic and itself a historic golf course. However, the par 3s at Hamilton G&CC are much more challenging. The quartet held firm with a birdie-or-better percentage of just 8.53, good for third-lowest in 2006.
The last Canadian to emerge victorious at this event was Pat Fletcher in 1954 (at Point Grey Golf Club in Vancouver). He was the seventh native to win the tournament, but he remains the only since World War I.
Inclement weather could impact play on Thursday and Friday during which time the wind is expected to blow from the east, opposite the prevailing direction. The skies are forecast to calm by the weekend and a gentler breeze will rotate around to the west. Gradually increasing high temperatures will begin in the mid-70s before ranging into the 80s by Sunday.
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|Power Rankings: RBC Canadian Open|
In 2012, our expert will be publishing his list of players who didn't quite make the top 10 for that particular week. Here are five other players Rob Bolton likes at Hamilton Golf and C.C:
11. Robert Garrigus ... Four top 10s and another four top 25s among 11 cuts made in 18 starts this year. The bomber possesses as much brain as brawn, with documented success on short, tree-lined tracks. Ranks 21st on TOUR in greens hit.
12. Daniel Summerhays ... Solo fifth at The Old White TPC three weeks ago, his fourth top 10 of the year. Ranks 20th on the PGA TOUR in ball-striking and 17th in greens hit. Also leads the circuit in the bounce back.
13. Charlie Wi ... Horse for courses. Recorded his third top-four finish of the year with a T3 at The Old White TPC three weeks ago. Short-track specialist ranks 41st on TOUR in both Strokes Gained-Putting and adjusted scoring.
14. Scott Stallings ... Talk about shredding any doubt that he's overcome early-season maladies, he won the True South Classic by two strokes. Led the field with four eagles. Suffered just three bogeys all week. Ranked third in Strokes Gained-Putting.
15. Sean O'Hair ... The defending champion (at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in British Columbia) has quietly gone about his business this season, missing only three cuts in 17 starts. Tied for seventh at The Greenbrier Classic three weeks ago. Ranks 35th on TOUR in greens hit and 13th in birdie average.