Pebble Beach tuneup at RBC Canadian Open

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It’s length vs. finesse this week as the PGA Tour is heading across the border for this week’s RBC Canadian Open.

The field features just 10 of the top 30 in the FedEx Cup points race and many will be looking for one final tuneup before next week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

But herein lies the dilemma. We’ve got plenty of big hitters in the field like Dustin Johnson (11-2), Brooks Koepka (6-1), Rory McIlroy (10-1) and a few others who can flat-out overpower every course on the PGA Tour. But 300-plus-yard bombs probably won’t be in the game plan very often this week. This year’s RBC event will be played at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, moving 25 miles down the road from longtime course host Glenn Abbey, where it was held for 30 years.

The Hamilton layout reaches just 6,967 yards and is a par-70 design. That lack of length — as well as doglegs, a wide variety of trees and an impressive array of well-placed bunkers — can limit the number of times the big hitters can go into grip-it-and-rip-it mode. Add in the fact that there are just two par 5s and the bombers are quickly back on even terms with the rest of the field.

So toss all of those factors into a big mixing bowl and this might just be the perfect recipe for a long-shot putting wizard to pick up a win.

After all, guys like Koepka and Johnson will have to dial it back early and often off the tee and rely more on accuracy. And that’s just not their (pardon the pun) strength. They are used to full-speed-ahead approaches.

That being said, we’re going to go with Brandt Snedeker at 30-1. Really, that’s the pick. No, stop laughing and hear us out.

This week it’s all about those guys who know the season is winding down and good finishes — or victories — are needed in the hopes of keeping their playing privileges for next season. The superstars? Not as much pressure.

Snedeker has never been known as a bomber. And there’s nothing wrong with that as he plays to his strengths. Yet, despite the lack of length off the tee (he’s 161st on Tour averaging 287 yards per drive) he finished T16 at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black (also a par-70, but reaching out to a brutal 7,500 yards). It’s his putting (18th on Tour) that always determines if it’s a top-20 finish or an also-ran tournament.

If Snedeker gets hot on these greens and putts start dropping, watch out. Add in the fact he was T8 last year at the RBC and he’s got history on his side north of the border.

That’s not to take anything away from Johnson, last year’s winner at the RBC. But here’s the key. He’s likely to be looking ahead to the U.S. Open, especially after finishing T2 (The Masters) and solo second (PGA Championship) in the season’s first two majors.

But this week, for us, it’s about some of the guys who can take advantage of getting to play on a shorter course.

Oh, we’re still going to put Johnson and Koepka on the list for this week’s Top 5 picks. After all, we aren’t that crazy.

Again, please stop laughing.

Mesquite Amateur results

Gigi Higgins, from Cape Coral, Fla., and Daniel Monico, from Saugus, Ma., were crowned champions of the 2019 Mesquite Amateur golf tournament held recently in Mesquite, Nev.

Higgins was also the champion in 2017.

The tournament, a five-day event with players competing in three rounds of golf on different courses, featured 642 entries from 40 states as well as 16 international players — 14 from Canada, one from Thailand and one from England.

Players teed it up on six Mesquite area golf courses including the home base layout, CasaBlanca Golf Club. Other courses in Mesquite used in the event were Conestoga, Falcon Ridge, Oasis-Palmer and Palms along with Coral Canyon, up the road in St. George, Utah.

“This was our 17th year and we had another great tournament with a great turnout,” said Christian Adderson, tournament director. “If people are looking for a great amateur event, this is one they should check out. It’s a great value and a first class event.”

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About the Author
Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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