Rocket Mortgage Classic: Bet on Longshots in a Weak Field Event
The PGA Tour heads to Detroit for the first time since 2009
First off, congratulations to anyone who bet Chez Reavie last week as he took down the Travelers Championship at 50/1 odds!
The PGA Tour grind doesn't stop, and it is back in the Motor City for the first time since 2009. This week's Rocket Mortgage Classic field is 156 players with a $7,300,000 purse. The weather looks great with temperatures as high as the mid-90s and little to no wind or rain in the forecast.
Detroit Golf Club
Detroit Golf Club will be hosting the PGA Tour for the first time ever. The golf club has two 18 hole layouts and opened in 1916. Players will be teeing it up on the north course, but one hole will be utilized from the south course.
Detroit Golf Club is a vintage Donald Ross design. The greens are poa with a mix of bentgrass, and many of the greens are tricky and undulated. Fairways and tee boxes are a mix of bentgrass, poa, and rye.
The course is balanced, and you get a little bit of everything. Four par 4s are under 400 yards, but four are also over 450. The longest par 5 is 625 yards, but there are also two par 5s under 555 yards. The same can be said for the par 3s, with two holes under 170 yards and two of them over 200-yard par 3s.
There are quite a few unique holes on the course. The 14th hole is a 555-yard risk-reward par 5, with a two-tier green that is guarded by water in the front. There is a false front on the left side of the green, so hitting it to the right portion is going to be critical.
The 3rd hole will be the only hole from the south course used for the tournament. The 9th hole is a long downhill par 3 that is a challenging tee shot, which can play anywhere from 175 yards to 207 yards. The green is undulating and guarded by out of bounds.
Like last week, the final hole is a great finishing hole. The 18th hole is a par 4, 455-yard layout. The hole features a shallow ditch on the left side that runs the entire length of the fairway, before cutting across in front of the green. Hitting the fairway is a must off the tee with trees and bunkers protecting the fairway on both sides. The green is easy to hit if you find the fairway, but it's one of the most difficult putting surfaces on the course. Ball striking and putting will be the key to a win this week. With a new course, I will be targeting more longshots and fading the favorites.
Rocket Mortgage Classic Betting Picks
Ryan Moore 40/1
Ryan Moore is the first favorite that I will consider this week. Paying 5.5/1 odds for Dustin Johnson seems silly right now, as he is struggling to make putts. Woodland and Reavie are interesting, but both are priced up because of their recent wins. The value starts with Ryan Moore. His ball striking is solid right now, as he ranks in the top-10 for SG: Approach and GIR in the field. Moore has won on a Donald Ross course in the past and all of his wins have come in weaker field events.
Joaquin Niemann 70/1
Joaquin Niemann has been striking the ball well for a while now, but his putting has costed him in almost every round with an SG: Putting ranking of 182. He now has four finishes in the top-31 in his last four events. He had a season-high T-5 finish at the Travelers thanks to finishing top-15 in total strokes gained, SG: Tee-to-Green, driving distance, and scrambling. Let's see if Niemann can pull a Chez Reavie and follow up last week with a win at the Rocket Mortgage Championship.
Aaron Wise 80/1
With the winning score projected to be in the 20-under par range, I want to take a chance on a golfer who can make a lot of birdies. Wise is one such golfer and is ranked 7th in birdie average and 13th in birdie or better %. For the season, Wise is also 28th in driving distance, 29th in GIR %, and 18th in SG: Off-the-Tee. Aaron Wise is losing all his strokes on and around the green, so he will have to overcome those short game issues this week.
Troy Merritt 125/1
Merritt checks the box in birdie average, eagles, GIR %, SG: Around-the-Green, and driving accuracy, and he ranks inside the top-30 for all those statistics. He has been playing decent golf recently and is a former winner of the Quicken Loans National, which was the previous iteration of this tournament when it was played in Washington. Merritt provides value at 125/1.
Sebastian Munoz 175/1
After back to back top-11 finishes, Munoz faltered at the RBC Canadian Open by missing the cut. The talented Columbian will look to bounce back this week, and his overall form is much better than most of the players around his odds. In Munoz's last ten starts he has 5 missed cuts and five finishes inside the top-38, so he is very much a boom or bust type player.