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RBC Canadian Open 2016: 10 picks to win the tournament

By
Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
Dustin Johnson (L) and Jason Day walk at the 115th U.S. Open Championship on June 21, 2015 in University Place, Washington. Johnson and Day are the favorite picks to the 2016 RBC Canadian Open which starts tomorrow. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Dustin Johnson (L) and Jason Day walk at the 115th U.S. Open Championship on June 21, 2015 in University Place, Washington. Johnson and Day are the favorite picks to the 2016 RBC Canadian Open which starts tomorrow. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

1. Dustin Johnson, United States -- Even though he didn't have the game that carried him to victories in the U.S. Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, DJ finished still tied for ninth in the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon. He has played better than anyone in the world over the last month or so, as that was his fifth consecutive top-10 finish and 11th in 16 events on the PGA Tour this season. Johnson, who leads the FedEx Cup point standings and is No. 2 in the World Golf Rankings, is playing in the RBC Canadian Open for only the fourth time and in 2013 at Glen Abbey he finished in a tie for second, three shots behind Brandt Snedeker. DJ opened with a 75, bounced back with 67-63 in the middle rounds and couldn't catch Sneds with a closing 70.

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2. Jason Day, Australia -- The top-ranked golfer in the world returns to Glen Abbey, where he started his run to the top last year by making birdies on the last three holes to beat Bubba Watson by one stroke. That was the first of seven victories in his next 15 starts, including his first major title in the PGA Championship the following month at Whistling Straits. In his only previous appearances in the RBC Canadian Open, Day tied for 48th in 2008 and finished 52nd the following year. His tie for 22nd in the Open Championship last week ended a run of five consecutive finishes in the top 10 in the majors, but he has eight top-10s this season on the PGA Tour, including victories in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship and the Players Championship.

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3. Matt Kuchar, United States -- Kooch has done just about everything except win the RBC Canadian Open in the last three years, finishing no worse than a tie for seventh last year and posting a cumulative score of 36-under par. In 2013, he charged into contention with a 64 in the third round at Glen Abbey, site of this year's tournament, but closed with a 70 to tie for second, three shots behind Brandt Snedeker. Kuchar also made a closing run with a 65 two years ago and tied for fourth, six strokes behind winner Tim Clark of South Africa. Kooch was in the hunt at 71-68 midway through the Open Championship at Royal Troon, but played the weekend in 75-76 to tie for 46th. That ended a run of five finishes of sixth or better in his previous six starts.

4. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- Having fought through a stretch in which he missed the cut three times in four events, Sneds heads north of the border after finishing in the top 25 in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the Open Championship. He's trying to get back to the form he showed earlier this season, when he finished in the top 10 on five occasions, including his eighth PGA Tour victory in the Farmers Insurance Open. One of those eight came in the 2013 RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey, where the tournament is being played again this week. Snedeker shot 69-63 in the middle rounds and had bookend score of 70 to win by three strokes over Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Bohn and William McGirt. He also tied for fifth in 2009 and tied for seventh in 2007.

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5. Jim Furyk, United States -- The 46-year-old Furyk got a late start this season because of left wrist surgery and seemed to have lost very little when he tied for second in the U.S. Open at Oakmont. However, he has struggled in his last two events, including a tie for 59th in the Open Championship at Royal Troon. He could get a lift by returning to the RBC Canadian Open, in which he has finished in the top 10 each of the last three years after winning the title in 2006 and 2007. His first Canadian title came at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, where he opened with a 63, played the weekend in 67-65 and beat Bart Bryant by one shot with a birdie on the 17th hole during a closing 65. A year later, he made a hole in one on the fourth hole of a closing 64 and held off Vijay Singh by one shot at Angus Glen.

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6. Charley Hoffman, United States -- Hoffman's best finish in seven starts since winning the Valero Texas Open in April, his fourth PGA Tour victory, was a tie for 12th in the AT&T Byron Nelson. However, he has played well in the RBC Canadian Open in the past, including a tie for fourth last year at Glen Abbey, shooting 66-69 in the middle rounds and finishing five strokes behind winner Jason Day of Australia. Hoffman's best result north of the border was a tie for fourth in 2010 at St. George's Golf and Country Club, where he recorded bookend 65s and wound up four shots behind champion Carl Petterson of Sweden. He seemed headed for another top-10 finish in 2013 at Glen Abbey after opening with 69-69-67, but a closing 74 left him in a tie for 16th.

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7. David Hearn, Canada -- Last year, Hearn made a valiant effort to become the first Canadian to win his country's national championship since Pat Fletcher in 1954, starting with 69-64-68 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round at Glen Abbey. However, he managed only a 72 on Sunday and finished solo third, two shots behind winner Jason Day of Australia. That was his 13th start in the Canadian Open and only his first top-10 finish, as he missed the cut in his first four tries. Hearn has not won on the PGA Tour, losing in playoffs at the 2013 John Deere Classic to Jordan Spieth and in the 2015 Greenbrier Classic to Danny Lee of New Zealand. After a slow start this season, the Canadian tied for 12th in the Quicken Loans National and tied for 20th in the Barbasol Championship in his last two outings.

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8. Emiliano Grillo, Argentina -- Things have not come easily for the 23-year-old Argentine since he captured season-opening Frys.com Open last October in his first event as a PGA Tour member. He doesn't have another finish in the top 10, but his game has shown signs of awakening lately with a tie for 11th in the Memorial Tournament, a tie for 14th in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and a tie for 12th in his first appearance in the Open Championship last week at Royal Troon. That gave him seven top-25 finishes in his rookie season and he will be looking for more when he makes his second appearance in the RBC Canadian Open. Grillo tied for 22nd last year at Glen Abbey, taking the first round lead with a 64 and staying in the chase until he fell out of the top 10 with a closing 74.

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9. Tony Finau, United States -- Coming off a tie for 18th in his first Open Championship last week, Finau will make his second appearance in the RBC Canadian Open. Last year at Glen Abbey, he recorded a tie for 22nd by closing with a 65, and with his length off the tee he could be a threat on the classic course if he keeps it in the short grass. It's already been a successful sophomore season on the PGA Tour for Finau, who captured the Puerto Rico Open at Cocoa Beach in a playoff over Steve Marino with a birdie on the third playoff hole, and he has six other finishes in the top 25. Of course, last year he gave something of a preview of what might be coming when he tied for 14th in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and tied for 10th in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

10. Graham DeLaet, Canada -- DeLaet looked a bit like Grizzly Adams until he shaved his beard last week and it paid off with a tie for eighth in the Barbasol Championship, in which he closed with a sizzling 63. He won three times on the Canadian Tour but still is looking for his first title on the PGA Tour and would love nothing better for it to come this week in the RBC Canadian Open. That would make him the first homegrown winner of the tournament since Pat Fletcher in 1954. DeLaet is making his eighth start in his national championship and he made a run at the title two years ago at Royal Montreal Golf Club. He was in a tie for third and opening with 70-63, before playing the weekend in 70-68 to wind up in a tie for seventh.

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