This week marks another full-field event on the schedule in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which is in its fourth year as an official PGA TOUR event. A total of 150-plus golfers will be teeing it off and the event will feature five players from the top 25 in the Official World Golf Rankings. The field is headlined by world No. 4 Patrick Cantlay, who sits as the favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook at +800 right now. He’ll be joined by last week’s winner Tony Finau and two young and up-and-coming stars in Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young. Those four are joined by world No. 20 Max Homa as the top five players in the DraftKings Sportsbook betting odds for the week.
Last year’s winner Cameron Davis is also in the field and coming off a T16 from last week in Minnesota. The cut this week will feature its normal positioning (top 65 and ties make the weekend) and this venue has featured a Friday cutline as low as 5-under-par in the past. For DraftKings purposes, getting 6/6 players through the cut should again prove difficult given the size of the field.
Detroit Golf Club (North Course)—Detroit, Michigan
Par 72, 7,330 yards; Greens: Bentgrass/Poa Annua
The Rocket Mortgage Classic replaced the old Quicken Loans event that was always played out East and has found its new home at the North Course at Detroit Golf Club.
The North Course at the Detroit Golf Club is an original Donald Ross design and has history which goes back as early as 1916. The venue has seen plenty of renovations since that time. In order to prepare for hosting duties on the PGA TOUR, many holes were altered, lengthened or even moved around. Some highlights of the reconfigured venue include a long par 5 which plays at 625 yards for the pros and a closing stretch of holes that includes a solid risk-reward par 5 (the 14th) with water guarding the green. Ultimately though, even with the changes, this remains a very straightforward setup for players as the parkland setting (in the middle of Detroit) is very flat and offers clean lines to the hole on almost every hole if you hit the bigger fairways off the tee.
The venue played quite easy in its first season, as it produced the eighth-best scoring average on the PGA TOUR with the field shooting an average of 70.113 for the week and the winner reaching 25-under-par. The quicker greens last season did finally drive scoring a little higher (the winning score was just 18-under-par) and with warmer temperatures in store for 2022, we can perhaps expect scoring to remain similar to what we saw in 2021.
Even with the long par 5 in play, the four par 5s at Detroit GC ranked out as the easiest four holes on the course, with the long par 3s (a Ross trademark) generally ranking as the toughest holes. The fairways and greens ranked out as quite easy to hit compared to the average PGA TOUR venue and Detroit GC will allow players to take out the driver quite often given the lack of true doglegs. The four par 5s and easy-to-hit fairways may favor big hitters over the long haul, but it’s worth noting that Nate Lashley only ranked 44th in Driving Distance in 2019 during his dominating win and several players in the course horses section this week (Kisner, Merritt, Tringale) all rank below average in driving distance. Ultimately, putting is the most important factor as both Lashley and Bryson DeChambeau gained over +7.0 strokes putting in the week of their win and the entire top-10 at this venue last season gained strokes putting (individually) for the week.
For fantasy players looking at possible correlations between this venue and others on the PGA TOUR, results from other Donald Ross-designed venues may be something to note. Results from courses like Pinehurst No. 2, Plainview, East Lake and Sedgefield are all worth looking at for research. As for proximity, the 125-175 range of approach is very popular given the setup, and players who aren’t super long off the tee can make up ground on the field by being great from this distance.
2022 Weather Outlook: Much like last week, we shouldn’t expect a ton of poor weather, but the heat and summertime temperatures will be sure to dry out the course and make the greens run fast. Highs are expected to be in the 85-90 degree range for all four days and there’s no rain in the forecast outside of Wednesday. As of now, Thursday afternoon does have the highest wind readings on tap for the week with the potential for 10-15 mph gusts in the afternoon. With dry conditions expect scoring similar to last season where 18-under par was good enough for a playoff. Higher ball flights and good tee-to-green play should benefit.
Last 5 winners
2021—Cameron Davis at 18-under (over Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann playoff)
**other notables include Chris Kirk T12, Alex Noren T4
2020—Bryson DeChambeau at 23-under (over Matthew Wolff -20)
**other notables include Joaquin Niemann and Patrick Reed T5
2019—Nate Lashley 25-under-par (over Doc Redman -19)
**other notables include Kevin Kisner 3rd, Maverick McNealy and Webb Simpson T8
Winners Stats and Course Overview
2021 Winner: Cameron Davis (18-under-par)
2021 lead-in form (MC-T49-T59-T26-MC)
- Bryson DeChambeau was in fine form when he came into this event in 2020, having racked up five top 10s in a row before breaking through for his win. It should be noted though that in 2019 Nate Lashley didn’t carry much form into this event before breaking through here for a big week.
- Cameron Davis also had two MCs in his last five starts before winning, so great recent results haven’t meant much to two of the past three winners.
- While strokes gained Approach is always a metric to lean on, both DeChambeau and Davis were helped by their length off the tee and some superb on and around the green play. Davis gained 6.3 strokes putting and Around the Green combined last season.
- From a venue perspective, Detroit Golf Club is a driver-heavy course and has been a great stop for the big hitters. The average driving distance of the field this week is approximately 10 yards above the PGA TOUR average.
- Wolff, DeChambeau and Davis all stick out in terms of big hitters who have had success at this week’s venue, but Brandon Hagy and Bubba Watson (guys who regularly reach 330 yards or more) also both placed top 10 at this event last season.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Kevin Kisner ($9,100; best finishes: T8 - 2021; 3rd - 2019): Kisner was in the hunt for the win in 2020 and posted a T8 at this event in 2021 as well. He’s gained over 4.0 strokes on approach at Detroit GC the last two seasons and clearly loves the layout.
2. Cameron Tringale ($8,500; T14 - 2021; T5 - 2019): Tringale has made the cut at this event in each of the past three seasons. He’s posted multiple top-15 finishes across three career starts and should be a good bounce-back candidate coming off an MC last week.
3. Troy Merritt ($7,600; T2- 2021; T8 - 2020): Merritt was the hard-luck playoff loser at this event last season. The veteran has played well at the simpler layout, grabbing top-10 finishes the past two seasons.
4. Mackenzie Hughes ($7,300; best finishes: T14 - 2021; T21 - 2019): We haven’t heard much from Hughes lately as he posted a couple of MCs in Scotland. He’s had lots of success at Detroit GC, though, posting top-25 finishes in each of his two career appearances, and sets up as a good bounce-back candidate this week as well.
5. Maverick McNealy ($8,800; best finishes: T21-T8): McNealy has played a lot of solid golf lately but could finally be at the proper venue for a true breakout. He’s finished T21 and T8 in Detroit across two career starts and gained 6.3 strokes putting on the greens at Detroit GC last season.
1. Tony Finau ($10,600; win - T28): Finau is coming off his third career PGA TOUR win. The American put on a clinic last week, gaining 11.8 strokes TTG. He’s got a win and three top-five finishes in his past six starts.
2. Patrick Cantlay ($10,700; T8 - T4): Cantlay hasn’t played since the Open Championship but he’s been very consistent this summer. The American posted a pair of top-10 finishes over in Scotland and has finished top 15 in each of his last five starts on the PGA TOUR.
3. Mark Hubbard ($8,000; T3 - T13): Hubbard took last week off but had been playing inspired golf prior. The American has made six straight cuts and gained over 3.0 strokes on Approach in each of his last two PGA TOUR starts.
4. Michael Gligic ($7,000; T16 - T21): The big Canadian has quietly been playing solid golf of late. Glicic has made seven straight cuts and been showcasing great Off the Tee play. He’ll benefit from another driver-friendly course in play this week.
5. Greyson Sigg ($7,100; T7 - T27): Sigg has found some serious form of late. He’s made three straight cuts coming into Detroit and has gained over 5.0 strokes on Approach in two of his past three starts. He’s a solid upside play given his cheap salary.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Keep riding Davis and McNealy
We do have an influx of top-25 players in the field with the likes of Patrick Cantlay ($10,700) and Will Zalatoris ($10,400) getting back into action this week, but for daily fantasy golf purposes, I like sticking with players who have been posting solid finishes on these easier setups. Cameron Davis ($9,700) continues to be a DFS ATM machine and racked up another top-20 finish last week. He has now scored 88.5 DKFP or more in his past three starts. Maverick McNealy ($8,800) wasn’t quite as productive as Davis but still managed 75.5 DKFP last week, despite a T49 finish. McNealy also comes at a discount and both men have above-average course form. Other potential value options for this format this week include Chris Kirk ($7,800 -see below) and Michael Gligic ($7,000).
Tournaments: Pay up for the putters in McCarthy and Kisner
The general theme at Detroit GC will be to emphasize driving distance which means that shorter hitters that are priced up like, Denny McCarthy ($8,900) and Kevin Kisner ($9,100), could go under-owned in bigger field GPPs. Kisner has fantastic course form having gained multiple top 10s at this event in three seasons. McCarthy may actually have the stronger recent form though and gained 6.3 strokes ball striking in his last start at the John Deere. McCarthy finished T21 at this event in 2020, as well, and was in the mix at the Wyndham last season on another Donald Ross design. Other potential GPP targets this week include Cameron Champ ($7,600), Greyson Sigg ($7,100) and Hayden Buckley ($6,900).
MY PICK: Chris Kirk ($7,800)
In terms of players who realistically could come from beyond the top names this week and grab a win, Kirk has to be near the top of the list. The American posted his best finish in a major in May at the PGA Championship (T5) and has put together a strong season with four top 10s, including one last month in Canada (T7). The consistency Kirk has found off the tee in 2022 has been astounding as he’s now gained strokes OTT in 14 straight PGA TOUR events (prior to the Open Championship) in 2022.
Strong Off-the-Tee play has been a cornerstone for many of the winners and top finishers at Detroit Golf Club over the past two seasons and Kirk has also found lots of success on and around the Detroit green structures. The four-time PGA TOUR winner has gained over 1.5 strokes putting and around the greens at this event in each of the past two seasons, posting T12 and T21 finishes in the process. Now, in the midst of one of his strongest seasons on the TOUR, he’s ripe to make a run at the title this week, especially coming off a hard-fought Open Championship where he battled back from a 3-over-par opening round to make the cut. Kirk’s a great upside play this week in DFS and a good outright target in my books at +4000 on DraftKings Sportsbook.
MY SLEEPER: Taylor Pendrith ($7,500)
Pendrith is someone we should have some interest in given the driver-heavy course in play this week. The Canadian ranks 14th on the PGA TOUR in Driving Distance and is just coming back from a short injury layoff (ribs). He had previously been playing some solid golf with a T13 at the PLAYERS in March and gained an incredible 5.3 strokes Off the Tee at the Barbasol a few weeks ago (his last start) where he again finished T13.
The 31-year-old had a very impressive season on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2021, finishing seventh in the overall order of merit with three runner-up finishes. He’s certainly more rested than most of the field and ranks 15th in SG: Ball Striking stats over the past 50 rounds. I’d look for some continuation from him this week off the top-20 finish he had in Kentucky and potentially for him to even get in the mix if he can find some confidence with his putter. He’s an underrated talent whose immense distance and ball striking off the tee will benefit him given the driver-heavy layout of Detroit Golf Club.
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