RBC Canadian Open picks: Who an expert (and golf fans!) think will win

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Our expert likes Matthew Fitzpatrick's chances this week.

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It’s a busy time in golf, with the U.S. Open fast approaching and a rival circuit launching overseas.

Not to be forgotten amid the swirl of news: the RBC Canadian Open gets underway this week

Past winner Dustin Johnson will not be in the field at St. George’s Golf and Country Club, in Toronto (he’ll be otherwise engaged in England). But world number-one Scottie Scheffler will be on hand, highlighting a roster that also features Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Sam Burns and Tony Finau.

Those A-listers rank among the favorites, but you’re not required to pick them in the game we’re playing on Chirp Golf. Chirp, an affiliate of GOLF.com, is a free-to-play mobile game that offers a range of weekly contests, including a Trifecta competition that calls for users to pick three players: a favorite, a contender and a long shot — all categories based on the Official World Golf Rankings.

Nearly 1,000 users have already signed up for this week’s Trifecta, a healthy sample size that gives us a sense of where public opinion is leaning.

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But before we get to that data, let’s get the insights of a pro. Andy Lack, GOLF.com’s new expert prognosticator, is a data analyst for OddsChecker and RickRunGood.com, and creator of Inside Golf Podcast. He also co-hosts “The Scramble,” a twice-weekly golf handicapping show. 

Here are his Trifecta picks, along with his reasoning. 

Favorite: Matthew Fitzpatrick (rank: 17)

The world No. 17 is coming off a surprising missed cut last week at Memorial, but that was mostly due to a faulty putter. Fitzpatrick’s ball-striking continues to trend in the right direction, the bulk of his success, both on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, has come on shorter, narrow, tree-lined, Bentgrass golf courses.

Contender: Tyrrell Hatton (rank: 24) 

Hatton checks all of the boxes that I am looking for this week. He remains one of the best iron players in this field, and he has a steady short game to go along with it. The Englishmen is coming off a quiet 13th-place finish at the PGA Championship, where he gained strokes in all four major statistical categories. I expect him to continue his strong play this week.

Long shot: Chris Kirk (rank: 66)

Chris Kirk has the ideal skill set for the task at hand this week. The five-time PGA Tour winner is one of the most accurate drivers in the field, and he ranks inside the top-20 in approach and around the green play as well. If Kirk can get the putter to cooperate, he’ll be firmly in the mix come Sunday afternoon. 

As for the sentiment among Chirp users, here’s how it breaks down.

In the “favorites” category (players ranked 1-20 in the world), Scheffler has the most support so far among Chirp users, with 30.63 percent of the vote, followed by Cameron Smith (21.70 precent) and McIlroy (17.45 percent). Among the “contenders,” (players ranked 21-60) Adam Hadwin leads the way with 22.12, while Mark Hubbard is the top vote getter among the long shots (players ranked 61 and higher) with 19.64 percent.

Click here to enter Chirp’s free-to-play Trifecta game for yourself.

Josh Sens

Golf.com Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.