Joel Cook analyzes the PGA Tour field gathered at Glen Abbey in this week’s: 2018 RBC Canadian Open Power Rankings.
It might not quite be Scotland, which has become synonymous with golf and hosted one incredible Open Championship last week, but Canada could be the world’s most underrated golf destination.
The Great White North will be on display this week as the PGA Tour treks from Carnoustie to Glen Abbey Golf Course for the RBC Canadian Open, the Tour’s longest continuously running non-major, with roots dating back to 1904.
As it always does, the Canadian Open will generate a massive festival atmosphere, as an enthusiastic crowd will politely exhaust their lungs encouraging a group of their native sons, who have a much larger presence in this event than any other. If a Canadian is able to finish atop the leaderboard this week, it will be the first time since 1954.
Post-major weeks can be the toughest to prognosticate, but here are the 15 golfers we like most this week:
2018 RBC CANADIAN OPEN POWER RANKINGS
15B. HAROLD VARNER III
A 27-year-old East Carolina product, Varner III had to be massively disappointed that he was unable to nab one of the Open Championship spots that were up for grabs during the recent Qualifying Series, as he has been playing the best golf of his professional career as of late.
In his last two starts, he took solo-sixth at the John Deere Classic one week after finishing T5 at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, and while critics would point out the relative weakness of the field in those two events, it should also be noted that Varner III placed T7 at THE PLAYERS Championship in May.
A T23 last year at Glen Abbey did not stop the Canadian presses, but a second round 65 showed that he can go low.
World Rank: 172nd
2017 RBC Canadian Open: T23
Last Seven: 6, 5, 41, MC, MC, 51, MC
15a. JOEL DAHMEN
One of the hottest players on Tour in July has been the surprising Dahmen, who over the past three weeks has a T5 at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, a T2 at the John Deere Classic, and while he just narrowly missed nabbing a spot at The Open, he was T15 at the Barbasol Championship, last week’s opposite-field event.
Over those three July starts, Dahmen is a combined 47-under-par, which bodes well for his chances at Glen Abbey.
World Rank: 213th
2017 RBC Canadian Open: MC
Last Seven: 15, 2, 5, 23, MC, MC, 20
14. STEWART CINK
Cink has not done much in his last two starts in this event, placing T49 last year and missing the cut the year prior, but he did finish T5 at Glen Abbey in 2015.
The 45-year-old is in excellent form as of late, with a T4 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, a T2 at The Travelers Championship, and he finished under par at last week’s Open Championship. It helps his cause that he currently ranks 9th on Tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green.
World Rank: 97th
2017 RBC Canadian Open: T62
Last Seven: 24, 23, 2, 4, MC, 58, MC
13. JOAQUIN NIEMANN
The youngest star in golf is back in action this week, looking for a first PGA Tour victory, which feels imminent. Five of his past six starts have resulted in finishes of T23 or better, and the tee-to-green specialist already has four top-10s in just nine events since turning pro.
He might lack experience at this course, but that has not stopped him anywhere else.
World Rank: 167th
2017 RBC Canadian Open: T62
Last Seven: 23, 5, 17, MC, 6, 8, MC
12. BRANDT SNEDEKER
The 2013 RBC Canadian Open Champion at Glen Abbey has had a tough 2018, and while he missed the cut at Carnoustie by a mile last week, Snedeker has shown some signs of life as of late, with a T6 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, where he shot a 62 on Friday, and a T3 at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.
The eight-time PGA Tour winner missed last year’s Canadian Open with a rib injury, but placed T5 in 2016, where he was the 54-hole leader. He is a bit of a wildcard, but he has shown a great level of comfort in this event.
World Rank: 91st
2016 RBC Canadian Open: T5 (INJ 2017)
Last Seven: MC, 3, MC, 48, 6, 42, MC
11. MATT KUCHAR
A T32 at last year’s RBC Canadian Open snapped a streak of four straight top-10s in the event, but given that it came the week after an inspiring runner-up finish to Jordan Spieth at The Open Championship, last year’s blip is probably forgivable.
Kuchar has not found himself in the mix as often as usual in 2018 with just four top-10s in 19 starts, but he again was relevant at last week’s Open Championship, finishing T9 after shooting under par in his first three rounds.
Currently in a four-year winless streak, Kuchar could be the latest in a 2018 trend of long winless droughts coming to an end for notable players (Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Webb Simpson).
World Rank: 26th
2017 RBC Canadian Open: T32
Last Seven: 9, MC, MC, 13, 32, MC, 17
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