Power Rankings: RBC Canadian Open

July 23, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

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.

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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
Rank Player   Comment
Shared 19th place at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, his third consecutive top 20. Leads the PGA TOUR in ball-striking (ninth in driving accuracy), ranks third in greens hit and 16th in scoring average. Two-time winner in 2012.
Tied for ninth at the British Open. Seven top-10s on the year. Leads the TOUR with 22 consecutive cuts made. Sits 23rd in ball-striking (35th in fairways hit), 19th in greens in regulation and second in adjusted scoring average.
Winner of this event the last time Hamilton G&CC hosted. Ranks fifth on the PGA TOUR in fairways hit, 54th in greens and fourth in adjusted scoring. Four top-10s this year, including on short tracks Harbour Town and Colonial.
The 36-hole leader at the British Open settled for a tied for third. What he lacks for in consistency tee to green, he makes up for on and around greens. Sits eighth in scrambling, fifth in Strokes Gained-Putting and ninth in birdie average.
Took a week off following a solo third at the John Deere Classic, his best finish of the year. Ten top-25s among 12 cuts made in 20 starts. Ranks 47th in greens in regulation and 32nd in both birdie average and scrambling.
Prior to missing the cut at the British, he was the runner-up at the AT&T National. Six top-10s this season. Ranks 22nd in ball-striking, 48th in greens hit and seventh in Strokes Gained-Putting. Tied for 20th at Hamilton in 2006.
Overlooked in his victory at the British Open is that he played the inward nine on Sunday in bogey-free 4-under. Missed only 15 greens all week. Four top fives on the year. Expect an emotional letdown, but too consistent to omit.
The Saskatchewan native has rested for two weeks following a tie for 12th at The Old White TPC, proving he can harness his length off the tee. He ranks 15th on the PGA TOUR in ball-striking and 31st in greens in regulation.
Rolls into Hamilton having survived 11 consecutive cuts, six of which went for top 20s, including a T19 in his last start at the John Deere Classic. Currently 33rd on TOUR in greens hit and 39th in adjusted scoring.
While he's been quiet for most of the year, he's a big fish in this field. The South African was sidelined for four weeks with a rib injury before returning to action at last week's British Open. He missed the cut on the number.

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.