Canadian Open Preview: Lowry Could Be At Home7 min read
Brooks Koepka makes his first start since victory at the PGA Championship as he competes at the Canadian Open.
The world number one will be looking to ensure his game is sharp ahead of next week’s US Open at Pebble Beach. Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, is a warm favourite at 11/2 and is reluctantly left out at short odds.
The Canadian Open moves to Hamilton Golf and Country Club for the first time since 2012. The Harry Colt designed par 70 plays to 6,966 yards making it one of the shorter courses on the PGA Tour. With soft conditions due to rain, the players are likely to take advantage of favourable scoring conditions at the parkland course.
Piercy could prosper again in Canada
Scott Piercy was the champion the last time the tournament was held at Hamilton and the in-form American could produce another strong showing on his return to the course. Piercy opened up with an eight-under-par 62 in 2012 and backed this up to claim victory on 17-under-par. It was a dominant performance and he was also sixth a year earlier in Canada.
His recent form bodes well for this week’s tournament with Piercy managing to go bogey free throughout all four rounds as he finished tied second at the Byron Nelson last month. The 40-year-old was also third at the RBC Heritage in April, another short layout, as well as 19th on his last start at Colonial. Piercy has every chance of contending again this week at 28/1 each way.
Sergio Garcia should be relishing this week’s challenge with the Spaniard renowned for success on short courses. He has three victories at Valderrama and should enjoy the strategic test Hamilton offers with power off the tee not essential this week. He also has a couple of top fives at the Canadian Open, albeit these came more than a decade ago as he rarely competes in the tournament.
Garcia disappointed at the PGA Championship as the well-fancied European missed the cut but he is worth giving another chance. The ten-time PGA Tour winner has shown enough hints of form to suggest he can challenge this weekend. He was sixth at another short course in the Mexico Championship this year, second in the pairs event at the Zurich Classic and fourth at Quail Hollow last month. Garcia could take an instant liking to Hamilton and is backed to contend at 25/1.
Lowry could be at home at Hamilton
Shane Lowry already has a victory this year and the Irishman could put himself in contention for another title this week in Canada. Lowry produced a superb performance in January to win the Abu Dhabi Championship. The 32-year-old has set out his goal to qualify for Padraig Harrington’s European Ryder Cup team next year and his recent promising form suggests this is a realistic target.
Lowry tied for third at Harbour Town and followed this up with an impressive display at the PGA Championship, taking eighth at Bethpage Black. He has plenty of strong form at Wentworth including runner-up in 2014, another Colt design, which suggests he should be comfortable at Hamilton. It could be a big summer for Lowry and he is fancied at 33/1 to build on his excellent result at the last major in Canada.
A European led staking plan is bolstered with Lucas Bjerregaard. The Dane is becoming increasingly comfortable competing on the big stage and comes in with encouraging recent form. Bjerregaard’s best result on the PGA Tour came with fourth place at the WGC Match Play. He finished 21st at the Masters and his last start at the PGA Championship was an impressive tie for 16th at Bethpage Black.
Bjerregaard finished third last season at Wentworth and was also runner-up at the Hong Kong Open in 2015 on another short tree-lined track. The 27-year-old has been granted special temporary membership on the PGA Tour and this week represents another big opportunity to secure his card for next season. Bjerregaard should not be underestimated this week at 66/1 each way.
McDowell has extra motivation
Graeme McDowell has rededicated himself to the sport and is desperate to compete at next month’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush, his home course. The Northern Irishman returned to the winner’s circle back in March with his PGA Tour victory in the Dominican Republic. He backed this up straight afterwards with seventh place at the Texas Open.
A top 30 finish at the PGA Championship last month was a respectable effort at an unsuitable course which was always likely to be too long for him. McDowell will be relishing this week’s assignment, where he will not be handicapped by his lack of power. Ranked seventh for strokes gained putting, McDowell’s confidence on the greens should enable him to make plenty of birdies. With the leading three players inside the top ten qualifying for the Open, there is huge motivation for McDowell and the 2010 US Open champion should not be dismissed at 80/1.
Scott Piercy each way
Sergio Garcia each way
Shane Lowry each way
Lucas Bjerregaard each way
Graeme McDowell each way