Bo Van Pelt
For those who played in the Open Championship and are turning up to play in this week's RBC Canadian Open means they have played two “Royal” courses in a row, with Royal Montreal’s Royal Monika being bestowed on the club by Queen Victoria in 1884.
As you can imagine it was immigrant Scots who first played golf in Canada around 1873, with Royal Montreal Golf Club becoming the first golf club in North America. The first course was a 9-hole layout at Mount Royal Park. The club then moved to Dixie in 1896 and remained in the parish of Dorval until the club’s final move to its present location at Ile Bizard in 1959.
45 holes were constructed at Ile Bizard, two 18-hole courses and a nine. But it is the Blue course at Royal Montreal that takes all the plaudits and sits head and shoulders above the other two. The club tried to bring in Robert Trent Jones, but he had other commitments so the services of Dick Wilson were secured and he designed all three courses.
The Blue Course is not only one of the greatest courses in the world, but it is also one of the toughest. Wilson built enormous greens (averaging 12,000 square feet) and with so many pin position options, it puts a premium on getting your clubbing into the green right or you can easily end up in three-putt country.
My tips to win:
Dustin Johnson 14/1 should come into this week in confident mood after his performance in the Open Championship. He may be disappointed with his final round 72 that saw him slide down the leadearboard, but it was his tenth Top 25 finish from sixteen starts with seven of those being Top 10s, a win and two runners-ups. Talking of runners-up finishes, Dustin was runner-up here last year and he will take plenty of positives from his third round 63 during that event.
Another player that should come into this week in confident mood after his final round 65 is Jim Furyk 12/1 that round took him into the Top 5 of the Open Championship. Jim is still waiting for his first win of the year, but he has had two runners and comes into a tournament that he has a great record in with back-to-back wins in 2006/7 and a Top 10 last year.
Matt Kucher 14/1 had a runners-up finish here last year. The Canadian Open has proven to be a tough nut to crack for Matt, until last year's change of venue to the Royal Montreal Golf Club, he has only had one other Top 5 finish and that was in 2005. Matt comes into this week having had nine Top 10 finishes from eighteen starts with one win. Kuchar didn’t have the greatest of Open Championships but I think he maybe looking forward to getting back on the oldest track in North America.
My each-way tips:
Charley Hoffman 40/1 with Ladbrokes, was on a nice run before making his forth Open Championship appearance where he struggled on the third day, but unlike a lot of other top golfers he made the halfway cut. Charley has five Top 10 finishes so far this year and sits forth in total birdies made – 321 so far, and with a Top 20 finish under his belt on this track in last year's Canadian Open where a final round 74 saw him tumble out of the Top five. I think he may well have some unfinished business here.
I think Bo Van Pelt’s 70/1 with StanJames, recent win in the two round CVS Caremark Charity Classic, where he shot rounds of 62, 60 and it may only be a fun event to raise money for charity but I think it could give the lad from Richmond, Indiana a much need confidence boost as two weeks later he made his first Top 10 of the season, and his final round 65 in the John Deere Classic moved him up the leaderboard eleven places, so I think you may see a rejuvenated Van Pelt this week.
My outside tip:
Jhonattan Vegas 125/1 with Coral, must be itching to get back out and playing after his third place finish at the John Deere Classic where he shot two blistering final rounds of 63, 66 to make the Top 5. It's not been the greatest of years for the lad from Maturin, Venezuela with only one other Top 25 finish, but his game had been improving up until two missed cuts before the John Deere, but I think he may surprise us again this week.
As always good luck.