The players head to Detroit this week for the third edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. This relatively new event will be played at Detroit Golf Club’s North Course, a classic Donald Ross design that plays as a relatively easy par 72 at 7,370 yards. The course features a blend of Bentgrass and Poa greens and is one of the easier venues on Tour, with the two winners here reaching 23 and 25 under par, respectively. This is a full-field, 156-man event and last year it was won by Bryson DeChambeau (+750; $11,400), who bested Matthew Wolff (+3500; $9,100) by three shots.
The Rocket Mortgage has quickly set itself up as a classic birdie-fest type of event, where the players will need to capitalize on their scoring chances or run the risk of going home early. Last season, the cut here was 5-under par and the venue played as one of the easiest courses on Tour (38th out of 41).
The venue is what you’d describe as a classic parkland setting, and its location in the middle of Detroit likely has something to do with that. It’s one of the flattest courses on Tour in terms of elevation changes, so if you are finding fairways and greens here you won’t have a ton of other elements to throw your approach shot off. The rough here can be grown out, but the fairways have been very easy to find for the pros since this event’s inception, with cut makers averaging 3-5% higher Driving Accuracy rates for the week compared to the Tour norm. Detroit Golf Course is also what you’d consider a “driver-heavy” venue with the average driving distance here being 10 yards more than what it is at other venues on Tour.
You would figure that this kind of layout would certainly lend itself to favoring big hitters, and the fact we had DeChambeau and Wolff finish 1-2 here last season certainly confirms that belief somewhat. Still, the name of the game here is birdie conversion and both Wolff and Bryson gained over 6.0 strokes putting here last season. In fact, none of the players in the top 10 here last season gained less than 1.4 strokes putting for the week, which gives you an idea of how important that club is.
If you’re targeting shorter hitters here, make sure they are firing with their approach shots as they’ll have to make up for the lack of distance with solid iron play. The 125-150 and 150-175 range will be very popular, so short-to-mid-iron play will be one to key in on. As for players to target, Hideki Matsuyama (+1600; $10,400), Kyle Stanley (+6500; $7,600) and Henrik Norlander (+15000; $6,800) are all players who rank in the top 10 in proximity in both the 125-150 and 150-175 approach range.
Hideki Matsuyama (+1600 to Win, $10,400 on DraftKings)
Matsuyama has found some consistency at this event the last two years, even when struggling at times with his overall game. He finished T19 here in 2019 and T26 here last season when he gained 5.0 strokes on his approaches. As mentioned above, Hideki is one of the most consistent performers in terms of proximity from the 125-175 range and with flat fairways, so expect him to be firing at pins from the get-go. He’s had some decent results at other Donald Ross-designed venues (third at the Wyndham in 2016, T15 at the BMW Classic in 2018) and comes in with solid form after a T26 finish at the U.S. Open, where he gained over 6.0 strokes on approach. The odds to win are more than reasonable given the upside he’s shown in 2021, and for DraftKings contests, using him as an anchor is very affordable.
Charley Hoffman (+2500 to Win, $8,800 on DraftKings)
Editor’s Note: Charley Hoffman has withdrawn from the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Hoffman has been on an incredible run for DFS purposes over the past couple of months. The veteran has made over 10 cuts in a row and finished T30 last week while piling up 16 birdies. Hoffman looks like a great fit for this event in a lot of different ways, but it’s his birdie conversion rate that really sticks out. He ranks first in SG: Approach stats, second in Birdies or Better gained over the past 50 rounds and is third in DraftKings points gained over that same span. Despite the consistency, though, he still comes in under $9K in price on DraftKings and has typically been a player who has excelled at easier venues over his career. He looks well priced to load up on this week once again.
Doc Redman (+6000 to Win, $7,900 on DraftKings)
Redman has really picked up his play after a slow start to 2021. Despite a poor finish last week (he finished T61), the third-year player has made the cut in five straight events and has gained strokes putting and on his approaches in all five of those events as well. Redman ranks out well enough in the key proximity ranges and has also proven himself as somewhat of a Donald Ross-design specialist, having grabbed a runner-up finish at this event in 2019 and a third-place finish at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club — another Ross design — in 2020. Given how well he’s trending on the greens, his DFS price looks very attractive, and at +6000, there’s still enough juice there to take a shot on the outright on DraftKings Sportsbook. Redman’s a player who seems likely to pop for a win soon and this is a great venue to take a shot with him.
Chris Kirk (+5500 to Win, $7,400 on DraftKings)
Kirk is coming off of a missed cut from last week, but the veteran still ranks out very well in a lot of the long-term form stats. In fact, Kirk comes in ranked top 45 in the field in all major strokes gained stats, including 12th in SG: Tee to Green and third in SG: Around the Green over the past 50 rounds. While his results have tapered off a bit, his approach game has remained strong and he ranks 10th in proximity from 125-150 yards and ninth from greater than 200 yards over the last 50 rounds, which should set him up very well for this course. Kirk’s a solid birdie maker who can easily make up his lack of length off the tee with his approach game and putter on this softer setup, making him a good low-owned target for big GPPs.
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