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PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: RBC Canadian Open (2023)

PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: RBC Canadian Open (2023)

We’re here to talk about the 2023 RBC Canadian Open and which players to target when constructing DraftKings and FanDuel lineups for DFS contests. However, before we begin, I’d be remiss to not touch on the recent merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and Public Investment Fund (PIF), which includes LIV Golf, creating a new for-profit business to no longer compete against each other for players and viewership across the world. It’s a significant, surprising merger that has surprised even the top players on the PGA Tour, so expect this announcement to linger in the back of most players’ minds competing at the 2023 RBC Canadian Open this week.

Rory McIlroy leads the outright betting favorites at the RBC Canadian Open at +500 currently, but it will be intriguing to watch how he fares during four rounds following the shocking merger announcement. McIlroy was publicly defending the PGA Tour and served as the face of the brand, alongside Tiger Woods, refusing massive sums of money that LIV issued to its golfers. Whether it serves as a rallying cry and McIlroy goes on a tear to achieve the first three-peat at this event, or if he crumbles and misses another cut, the outcomes are likely one of these two extremes.

The RBC Canadian Open will be played at Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the first time this week. While it’s not the most challenging course we’ve encountered on the PGA Tour circuit this season, it will test ball striking, especially with five inch Bluegrass rough that will punish errant tee shots and approach shots. McIlroy has been dominant in recent appearances, but Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick also brandish some of the top irons in golf right now, which is why they are valued in the outright top five betting odds at Oakdale, along with Sam Burns and Cameron Young. Canadian Corey Conners possesses the best odds for a Canadian native in this event, which hasn’t been won by a Canadian in nearly seven decades.

Before we discover which six players I’m targeting in DraftKings and FanDuel DFS lineup builds, let’s review the previous winners, relevant betting stats, and get a deeper dive with a course overview ahead of Thursday’s opening round tee times. Best of luck and let’s cash these contests!

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Previous Winners

  • 2022 – Rory McIlroy (-19)
  • 2021 – Rory McIlroy (-22)
  • 2020 – Cancelled
  • 2019 – Cancelled
  • 2018 – Dustin Johnson (-23)
  • 2017 – Jhonattan Vegas (-21)

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Strokes Gained Tee to Green
  • Strokes Gained Approaching the Green
  • Total Driving
  • Sand Save percentage
  • Scrambling

Course Overview

Oakdale Golf & Country Club is a par 72 that runs just over 7,250 yards featuring blended Poa Annua and Bentgrass greens, with Bluegrass rough that measures up to five inches. Greens located on the front nine of Oakdale are smaller in square foot surface area than the back nine greens, while there are four consecutive par 4s that will test the ball striking ability of players on the front nine.

Sand bunkers abound on every hole, while water hazards tend to creep up later in the back nine. Keep in mind, the front nine will play longer than the back nine since the course was modified to encompass an 18-hole layout versus the 27-hole layout it typically provides. Sloped fairways, small greens, and a unique putting surface all blend together to create some formidable obstacles for golfers in the 2023 RBC Canadian Open field competing at this course for the first time in its 117 years. The winning scorecards that have netted -20-under-par or lower may be a bit more difficult to come by this time around at Oakdale Golf & Country Club.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Matt Fitzpatrick: $9,900
When it comes to excellent ball striking, Matt Fitzpatrick ranks among the best on the PGA Tour. The Englishman already won the RBC Heritage event earlier in the Spring, beating Jordan Spieth in a multi-hole playoff, while ranking 17th in total strokes gained, which includes 20th around the green, 32nd tee-to-green, 34th putting, and 35th off-the-tee. Fitzpatrick is also equipped with a powerful, accurate driver, ranked 29th in total driving, so there’s little not to like about his overall outlook at a course like Oakdale. What he lacks finding greens in regulation, Fitzpatrick makes up for with 22nd-ranked scrambling ability. Don’t miss out on Fitzpatrick this week and plug him in as a solid value for a blue-chip prospect on this slate.

Aaron Rai: $7,600
Investing in Aaron Rai is a risky move due to the four missed cut sin his last five events played. However, the Englishman ranks 53rd or better in strokes gained approaching the green, off-the-tee, and tee-to-green. He’s ranked 37th in total driving, finds greens in regulation on nearly 69 percent of attempts, ranked 16th, and ranks 27th in bounce back. The putting is not his strength, but we’re valuing birdies over bogeys in DFS, so take a chance and save a few dollars by plugging in Aaron Rai as a strong salary-saving prospect with T25 upside.

Akshay Bhatia: $7,200
21-year-old Akshay Bhatia has some really good irons that he’s displayed from time to time on the PGA Tour this season. Bhatia has not performed well since a fourth-place finish at Vidanta roughly six weeks ago, but he’s capable of delivering 14-22 birdies depending on how he performs if he makes the cut. Bhatia is ranked 28th in strokes gained approaching the green, 27th in total driving, and 22nd regarding greens in regulation percentage. Plus, he also ranks 17th in birdie or better percentage at a 23.6 percent rate, so Bhatia has a lot of value despite how his recent finishes appear on paper. Tap into his upside and enjoy the left-handed swings from a young player with solid iron play.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000

Tyrrell Hatton: $11,800
I’ve always been hesitant to back Tyrrell Hatton due to his inability to string four good rounds together, but he has logged five consecutive T20 finishes entering the RBC Canadian Open. Plus, Hatton’s strength are his irons, as he ranks third in total strokes gained, ranging from seventh tee-to-green, 11th off-the-tee, 18th approaching the green, and 11th putting. Plus, he’s ranked 12th in total driving. When you begin to digest these numbers, it’s a bit inconceivable that Hatton only has one outright win on the PGA Tour during his 12-year career, which came back in 2020 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He’s expensive to roster on FanDuel but well worth the price of admission at a course like Oakdale this week.

Tommy Fleetwood: $10,600
Another talented iron player hailing from England is Tommy Fleetwood. He has yet to earn an outright win but he’s come close a couple of times this season, logging three T10 finishes and ranking first in strokes gained around the green. Plus, Fleetwood is a quality putter, ranking 46th in total strokes gained putting, while rating 10th in total strokes gained, including tee-to-green, and 37th approaching the green. He’s not great at finding greens in regulation or driving, but makes up for it with a strong scrambling ability, ranked 20th on the PGA Tour. Fleetwood tends to fade away in the fourth round, but he’s capable of delivering production, averaging 66.2 FPPG on FanDuel this season. He’s a bit pricey but based on his game and the field, I like Fleetwood’s outlook to stay near the top of the leaderboard at Oakdale.

C.T. Pan: $8,800
This is my first time recommending C.T. Pan this season. The 31-year-old from Chinese Taipei has been on the PGA Tour for seven years now and won the RBC Heritage back in 2019 for his only outright career win. Pan has not competed since the AT&T Byron Nelson a month ago, so he should be plenty rested and ready to compete for only his second T25 finish of the season. Pan has only played in three events since 2023 began, but he has good iron play and is a cheap commodity to roster as a salary-saving prospect on FanDuel at $8,800. Get Pan into your lineups, as he bounced back from three consecutive missed cuts with a T5 finish in his last outing.

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Whether you’re new to daily fantasy golf or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Golf Glossary. You can get started with The Stats That Matter Most or head to a more advanced strategy – like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup  – to learn more.

Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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