After watching Harris English defeat Kramer Hickok in an eight-hole playoff this past weekend at the Travelers, we now make our way to Detroit, Michigan for the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic. This event was added to the PGA TOUR schedule three years ago, and for the third straight season, it will be held at Detroit Golf Club (par 72, 7,370 yards), which was designed by Donald Ross. A year ago, Bryson DeChambeau ran away with this tournament, winning by three shots and finishing at -23. The previous season, Nate Lashley picked up the first PGA TOUR victory of his career at the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic, with a winning number of -25. Evident from these low scores, Detroit Golf Club is one of the easiest tracks these players will face all season, and we can safely expect the winning score to crack -20 once again.
Plain and simple, Lashley and DeChambeau are complete opposites when it comes to distance. The latter dominated this course with his driver last season, ranking 1st in driving distance, while Lashley finished 44th in the stat during his Rocket Mortgage win. Clearly any length of player can compete at this venue and while they attacked Detroit Golf Club in different ways off the tee, both DeChambeau and Lashley had strong weeks with their irons here, ranking 14th and 4th in greens hit, respectively. Furthermore, both champions caught fire on these greens that are a mix of POA and bentgrass. DeChambeau led his field in SGP while Lashley ranked 2nd. As for the holes they did most of their damage on, both players led their fields in SG on the par fours and they also ended the week inside the top-five in SG on the par fives. Putting a large weight on par four scoring is a necessity for every tournament, but we should also be focusing on great par five players this week. Unsurprisingly, the four par fives at this par 72 rank as the four easiest holes on the scorecard, and walking away with at least a birdie every time you tee it up on one of these par fives is a must if you want a shot at winning this event.
With the Open Championship just two weeks away, which will be the fourth and final major of the season, as well as the first Open Championship in two years, most of the best players in the world will not be attending this year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic. Including DeChambeau in his title defense, only four of the top-20 ranked golfers in the world are competing in Detroit this week. Still, there are plenty of appealing wagers to consider, and below I give you three of my favorite bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Forget about Simpson’s missed cut at the U.S. Open and back him in this soft field. Prior to the mishap at the South Course, which is a track Simpson has never been fond of with two missed cuts in three appearances, the 35-year-old had produced four top-10s in his previous ten starts. He has the ability to win a birdie fest like we will see in Detroit this week, ranking 20th in SGP and 19th in BOB% this season, and at last year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, Simpson carded a T8 finish.
Another notable Ross course that is on the PGA TOUR schedule annually is East Lake Golf Club for the TOUR Championship. Simpson’s course resume in Atlanta reads three top-fives in eight starts, and over his last 50 rounds at Ross’ venues, the 13th ranked player in the world ranks 4th in total strokes gained.
In his first start since the birth of his fourth child, Day had one of his best weeks of the year at the Travelers, posting a T10 finish. He ranked 7th in greens stuck at TPC River Highlands and has now gained 4.9 strokes T2G in his past two starts. Sitting at 66th in the world golf rankings, a win for Day this week would get him back inside the top-50, securing him a spot at the Open Championship in two weeks. The Aussie didn’t qualify for the U.S. Open two weeks ago because of his poor ranking, marking his first missed major since 2012.
Day is clearly competing at the Rocket Mortgage Classic to improve his world ranking, and regardless of his missed cut here last season, Detroit Golf Club is an ideal venue for him to get back in the winner’s circle. In his last seven starts on courses designed by Ross, Day has produced six top-20s, including a win at Plainfield Country Club for the 2015 Barclays.
After missing six straight cuts, Reavie has certainly regained his form, making three weekends in a row, including a pair of top-25s. The key to this resurgence has been his dramatic improvement as a ball striker. He has gained at least three strokes T2G and on APP in each of these last three starts. Put all these player’s last 12 rounds side by side, and Reavie ranks 3rd in SG APP, 2nd in SGT2G and 10th in GIR. In addition to this tremendous T2G game, the 39-year-old ranks 6th in SG on par fours during this run.
In his first start at Detroit Golf Club last season, Reavie fired off a seven-under 65 on Thursday, putting him at 4th place heading into the second round. However, the veteran imploded on Friday and carded a six-over 78, keeping him outside of the cutline. That stellar opening round shows us if Reavie is on, this friendly par 72 is a track he can thrive at, and I think we see him redeem himself with a high finish this weekend.
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