The PGA Tour crosses the border into Canada this week and the big question is can Ernie Els follow up last week's Open Championship success?
Stan James and BetVictor are offering 28/1 that he does just that and there will be plenty of takers as the South African is the consummate pro and won't want to let the sponsors down with a poor performance. Backers will also take heart from his second US Open win in 1997 as he won the following week's Buick Classic, while he went back-to-back on Tour as recently as 2010, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational a week after taking the WGC event at Doral. On the flip side, he's bound to be feeling some fatigue, both mental and physical, and this is a competitive event with Matt Kuchar (general 12/1 favourite), Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk all preferred in the betting. Brandt Snedeker and Charl Schwartzel are other class acts in the field.
This week's track at Hamilton last played host for the Canadian Open in 2006, when Furyk prevailed in a play-off, and was the fourth easiest of 10 par-70s utilized in non-majors that season. It's very short by modern standards, measuring 6,985 yards, and the trick is to avoid the long rough off the tee and find the relatively small greens - driving accuracy and greens in regulation are the key stats then. Wind may also be a factor on Thursday and the prospect of hot humid conditions throughout could mean players have to shelter from thunderstorms.
My Three Against the Field:-
Vijay Singh @ 50/1 bet365
The market leaders all look too short to me, although I can't resist playing up some of last week's winnings on the Big Easy - hope you took my advice and lumped on at 45/1! If he can make the frame, he'll pay for all this week's bets starting with the Fijian, who might be capable of one last hurrah before he joins the Senior's Tour next season. Granted, his last win on Tour came four years ago in the Deutsche Bank Championship - that coming during a golden spell which included two other wins - but there have been signs this season that he might be capable of adding to his 56 worldwide victories, and last week's ninth place (level par) at Royal Lytham would not have taken much out of him. He will also have fond memories of Hamilton as it was here in 2003 that he finished sixth, despite an opening 75, and while his putting is nowhere near as good now there is enough compensation for that in his price.
Scott Piercy @ 50/1 Stan James
The man from Las Vegas has a long way to go to match Singh, with his sole Tour win coming in last season's Reno-Tahoe Open, but he's shown every in indication in 2012 that he can build on that with 10 top-25s and 12 cuts made in 20 starts. His best finish in that run was third place at the John Deere Classic just two weeks ago, and that was following on from 12th at the Greenbriar Classic, played on a course not too dissimilar from Hamilton. Unsurprisingly, he's got some impressive stats to match with the most relevant ones for this week being 48th for ball striking, 47th in greens in regulation and 32nd in both birdie average and scrambling. The fact he finished in last year's Canadian Open is less relevant as it was played elsewhere, but it all adds up into making him a rock-solid each-way pick.
Daniel Summerhays @ 100/1 Ladbrokes
Let's complete the staking plan with an outsider and a non-winner at that. Don't let that put you of, though, as the Utah resident has been playing like a winner waiting to happen with four top-seven finishes already this season, the latest coming in the Greenbriar Classic, where he was solo fifth. His biggest cheque was banked when finishing fifth in the high-class Memorial, briefly taking the clubhouse lead in the final round, and like Piercy his stats indicate he will be well suited to this week's test, with his ball striking (ranked 20th on Tour) and greens hit percentage (17th) the most compelling. At 100/1, we're looking at 25/1 if he can hit the five places on offer, with a bet on another top-10 finish a nice insurance.
Ernie Els 1pt each-way @ 28/1 Stan James
Vijay Singh 1pt each-way @ 50/1 bet365
Scott Piercy 1pt each-way @ 50/1 Stan James
Daniel Summerhays 0.5pt each-way @ 100/1 Ladbrokes
Daniel Summerhays Top 10 Finish 1pt @ 10/1 Stan James