Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Rocket Mortgage Classic Tips 2021

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Congratulations if you were on-board Harris English last week, with Monday prices of up to 45/1 with Unibet available. 2 wins now in 2021 is impressive, with English jumping into 8th spot in Team USA Ryder Cup qualification. While Harris marched forward on Sunday, the likes of Cameron Smith, Bubba Watson and my selection Russell Henley all crumbled, whilst my 100/1 Guido Migliozzi selection ended up a shot outside of the each-way places. The ups and downs of golf betting in one painful evening!

This is the third Rocket Mortgage Classic with the 2 renewals so far won by Nate Lashley and Bryson DeChambeau. Undoubtedly Quicken Loans were the driving force behind the PGA Tour arriving in ‘Motor City’ and the Detroit Golf Club will host this tournament through until 2022. Sponsorship comes in the form of Quicken’s online Rocket Mortgage brand. Players in this week’s field include Quicken-sponsored Rickie Fowler; plus Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson.

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With the Open Championship only 2 weeks away, my 2021 Open Tips Research Preview is available for you to read.

Before we go into the detail surrounding the Rocket Mortgage Classic, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, 5,900+ strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Guide: Detroit Golf Club is 10 miles north-west of central Detroit. An historic club, established in 1899, we are dealing with a hybrid of 2 courses this week, namely the North (17 holes) and South (3rd hole) course. Both are Donald Ross original courses, which feature his classic architecture, with this week’s championship holes having seen phased modernisation and construction preparation since 2014.

It’s a Par 72 test at 7,370 yards, which features the standard breakdown of 4 par-3s, 10-par-4s and 4 par-5s. An old-style, tree-lined course, the course received positive reviews since it made its PGA Tour debut in 2019. As per Donald Ross design classics, Detroit features uneven fairway lies and plenty of front-to-back contoured and multi-layered undulations within green complexes. Scoring-wise, its lack of length and receptive greens leads to very low scoring.

Detroit Golf Club, Detroit, Michigan: Designer: Donald Ross 1916; Course Type: Classical, Resort; Par: 72; Length: 7,370 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 1; Fairways: Bentgrass with Poa Annua; Rough: Bluegrass mix 4″; Greens: 5,150 sq.ft average featuring Poa Annua with Bentgrass; Tournament Stimp: 10.5ft. 2019: 70.11 (-1.89), Difficulty Rank 42 of 49 courses. 2020: 70.05 (-1.95), Difficulty Rank 38 of 41 courses.

Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for Detroit Golf Club, and how they compare to recent courses on Tour:

  • Detroit Golf Club: 250 yards from tee: 34 yards wide; 275:34; 300:35 325:34; 350:33.
  • TPC River Highlands: 250 yards from the tee: 38 yards wide; 275:36; 300:29; 325:29; 350:28.
  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • Colonial: 250 yards from tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:27; 325:26; 350:23.
  • Ocean Course – Kiawah Island: Up to 50 yards wide.
  • Quail Hollow: 250 yards from tee: 33 yards wide; 275:32; 300:31; 325:30; 350:29.
  • Copperhead: 250 yards from the tee: 24 yards wide; 275:20; 300:21; 325:23 350:19.
  • Harbour Town: 250 yards from tee: 29 yards wide; 275:26; 300:22; 325:26; 350:22.
  • Oaks Course: 250 yards from tee: 33 yards wide; 275:34; 300:29; 325:27; 350:26.
  • PGA National: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:27 350:25.
  • TPC Sawgrass: 250 yards from the tee: 31 yards wide; 275:32; 300:30; 325:28 350:20.
  • Bay Hill: 250 yards from the tee: 32 yards wide; 275:33; 300:33; 325:39 350:29.
  • Riviera: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26 350:28.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes other Donald Ross designs include:

  • Pinehurst Number 2 – 2014 U.S. Open
  • East Course at Oak Hill – 2013 PGA Championship
  • Sedgefield CC – Wyndham Championship
  • Plainfield – 2011 & 2015 Barclays
  • Aronimink GC – 2010 & 2011 AT&T National + 2018 BMW Championship
  • East Lake GC – Tour Championship

Course Overview: Detroit Golf Club is a Donald Ross 1916 original which has received some modernisation work of late. 5 new tees were built in 2018 to add length to the course, but even so a 7,370 yard Par 72 is short from a PGA Tour perspective.

This week we’re dealing with a classical, tree-lined course, with water only featuring on the par-4 14th hole. Greens feature the Donald Ross trademark back-to-front pitch surrounded by tightly mown run-offs into collection areas. The green complexes are constantly watered to make the course player-friendly, but player comments all note how contoured the green complexes are here.

Downhill putts are difficult to attack so distance control to position approach shots below the pin proves to be critical here. There’s lots of movement and contours on green complexes, which feature 80% Poa Annua and 20% Bentgrass within them, so similar to TPC River Highlands last week.

The layout itself features par-5s which are 635 yards (4th), 552 yards (7th), 555 yards (14th) and 577 yards (17th), which means 3 of are reachable to the more powerful drivers. But it’s the par-4s which are vulnerable with 5 of them measuring in at sub-450 yards. Indeed the 1st (397 yards), 4th (393 yards), 8th (372 yards) and 13th (393 yards) are all sub-400 yards. And with no wind, warm temperatures and lush receptive greens accepting darts, greens are also super easy to hit, with 15 (2019) and 16 (2020) players hitting 80% Greens in Regulation or more. Scrambling here is also very easy, so all-in-all the course, without tough weather, is there for the taking.

Other points to note are usage of original Ross drainage swales, which cause penalty strokes for those who are flagrant off the tee. Indeed on the 18th, the swale runs down the entire left side of the fairway before crossing the fairway and routing to the right of the green complex. Holes 14-15-16 represent Area 313 on the golf course, with the ultimate aim of an eagle on the 14th, ace on the 15th and birdie on the 16th all adding up to the Detroit dialling code.

rocket mortgage classic tips

Winners: 2020: Bryson DeChambeau (-23); 2019: Nate Lashley (-25).

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2020: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -12; Round 3 -19; Round 4 -23.
  • 2019: Round 1 -9; Round 2 -14; Round 3 -23; Round 4 -25.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here.

You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson, Emiliano Grillo, Patrick Reed, Brice Garnett, Hank Lebioda, Charles Howell III, Chris Kirk, Andrew Putnam and Cameron Tringale.

Recent Player Skill Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to Wells Fargo Championship / Canary Islands Championship, which includes PGA Tour and European Tour events. Rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Driving Accuracy: 1) Brendon Todd; 2) Chez Reavie; 3) Ryan Armour; 4) Brian Stuard; 5) Kyle Stanley; 6) J.J. Spaun; 7) K.J. Choi; 8) Andrew Landry; 9) Sungjae Im; 10) Kramer Hickok; 11) David Hearn; 12) Satoshi Kodaira; 13) Tom Hoge / Adam Long; 15) Pat Perez; 16) Doug Ghim / Michael Thompson; 18) Brice Garnett / Ian Poulter; 20) Henrik Norlander; 21) Keegan Bradley / Bo Hoag; 23) Chase Seiffert; 24) Martin Laird / Hideki Matsuyama.
  • Greens in Regulation: 1) Emiliano Grillo; 2) Hank Lebioda; 3) Kyle Stanley; 4) Garrick Higgo; 5) Bryson DeChambeau; 6) Doug Ghim / Russell Knox / Hideki Matsuyama; 9) Beau Hossler / Charles Howell III / Martin Laird / Gary Woodland; 13) Joseph Bramlett; 14) Joel Dahmen / Pat Perez / Camilo Villegas; 17) Danny Lee / Joaquin Niemann / Will Zalatoris; 20) Cameron Davis / Kramer Hickok / Robert Streb; 23) Henrik Norlander; 24) D.J. Trahan; 25) Brice Garnett / Bo Hoag / Cameron Tringale.
  • Scrambling: 1) Rhein Gibson; 2) Rob Oppenheim; 3) Kevin Kisner; 4) Will Zalatoris; 5) Keegan Bradley; 6) Byeong Hun An; 7) John Pak; 8) Bryson DeChambeau; 9) Hank Lebioda / Patrick Reed; 11) Russell Knox / Webb Simpson; 13) James Hahn / Brian Stuard; 15) Jason Day / K.H. Lee / Sean O’Hair / Danny Willett / Gary Woodland; 20) Pat Perez / Robert Streb; 22) Jason Kokrak / Doc Redman / Brendon Todd; 25) Alex Noren.
  • Putting Average (Putts per GIR): 1) Satoshi Kodaira; 2) Harrison Frazar; 3) Jason Kokrak; 4) Andrew Landry; 5) Brandon Hagy / Phil Mickelson; 7) Ian Poulter / Seamus Power; 9) Danny Willett; 10) Rafael Campos / Emiliano Grillo / Hunter Mahan; 13) Webb Simpson; 14) Vincent Whaley; 15) Lucas Glover / Patton Kizzire; 17) Aaron Baddeley / Michael Gellerman; 19) Mark Anderson / Ryan Armour; 21) Rickie Fowler; 22) K.J. Choi / Joaquin Niemann / Brandt Snedeker / Cameron Tringale.

Recent Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Wells Fargo Championship / Canary Islands Championship, which includes PGA Tour and European Tour events. Players rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Bryson DeChambeau; 2) Charles Howell III; 3) Bubba Watson; 4) Tom Lewis; 5) Joseph Bramlett / Hideki Matsuyama; 7) Will Zalatoris; 8) Maverick McNealy / Joaquin Niemann; 10) Alex Noren; 11) Garrick Higgo / Kyle Stanley; 13) Keegan Bradley / Scott Harrington / Scott Piercy; 16) Jason Day; 17) Si Woo Kim; 18) Tyler McCumber / J.J. Spaun; 20) Rafael Campos; 21) Byeong Hun An / Cameron Champ / Adam Schenk; 24) Matt Jones / Gary Woodland.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Kyle Stanley; 2) Emiliano Grillo; 3) Hideki Matsuyama; 4) Aaron Baddeley; 5) Seamus Power; 6) Joel Dahmen; 7) Scott Piercy / Gary Woodland; 9) Keegan Bradley; 10) Russell Knox / Doc Redman / Patrick Reed; 13) Andrew Putnam; 14) Cameron Percy; 15) Matthew NeSmith; 16) Kevin Chappell / Garrick Higgo / Will Zalatoris; 19) Joaquin Niemann; 20) Danny Lee / Henrik Norlander / Bo Van Pelt; 23) Martin Laird / Hank Lebioda; 25) Sean O’Hair.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Kyle Stanley; 2) Seamus Power; 3) Hideki Matsuyama; 4) Patrick Reed; 5) Joel Dahmen; 6) Hank Lebioda / Will Zalatoris; 8) Scott Piercy / Gary Woodland; 10) Bryson DeChambeau; 11) Danny Willett; 12) Jason Day; 13) Keegan Bradley; 14) Joseph Bramlett / Emiliano Grillo; 16) Pat Perez; 17) Joaquin Niemann; 18) Ryan Armour; 19) Alex Noren; 20) Kevin Chappell; 21) Harold Varner III; 22) Si Woo Kim / Camilo Villegas; 24) Kramer Hickok / Garrick Higgo / Martin Laird / Chez Reavie / Vincent Whaley.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Satoshi Kodaira; 2) Rhein Gibson; 3) Jason Kokrak; 4) Kevin Kisner; 5) Cameron Davis; 6) Troy Merritt; 7) Adam Long / Hunter Mahan / John Pak; 10) Doc Redman; 11) Garrick Higgo; 12) Adam Hadwin / Andrew Landry; 14) Ian Poulter; 15) Robert Streb; 16) Jonas Blixt / Rob Oppenheim / Sepp Straka; 19) Harrison Frazar / Patton Kizzire / Hank Lebioda / Alex Noren; 23) Denny McCarthy; 24) Brian Gay / Patrick Reed / Brendon Todd.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Satoshi Kodaira; 2) Patrick Reed; 3) Hank Lebioda; 4) Bryson DeChambeau; 5) Kyle Stanley; 6) Gary Woodland; 7) Ian Poulter; 8) Alex Noren; 9) Danny Willett; 10) Emiliano Grillo / Joaquin Niemann; 12) Garrick Higgo; 13) Ryan Armour / Jason Day / Rhein Gibson; 16) Kramer Hickok / Pat Perez; 18) Hideki Matsuyama; 19) Doc Redman; 20) Keegan Bradley / Troy Merritt; 22) Vincent Whaley; 23) Scott Piercy / Will Zalatoris; 25) Joseph Bramlett / Joel Dahmen / Brice Garnett.

Winners & Prices: 2020: DeChambeau 7/1; 2019: Lashley 250/1; Overall Average: 129/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2020: Thursday: Sunny. High of 91. Wind N 4-8 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 90. Wind N 4-8 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 89. Wind ENE 6-12 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 90. Wind SSE 5-10 mph.
  • 2019: Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 89. Wind S 5-10 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 90. Wind WNW 5-10 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 86. Wind NW 7-14 mph. Sunday: Mostly sunny. High of 85. Wind NNE 6-12 mph.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for Detroit, Michigan, is here.

PGA Tour officials aren’t scared of a birdie-fest here in Detroit, and this week’s weather forecast looks pretty ideal. 169mm of rain in the past should make the course soft and receptive and thunderstorms Monday through Thursday cannot be ruled out either. With no significant wind in the forecast, expect fireworks. The only discernable difference to previous years here will be lower temperatures, ranging from 22 to 26 degrees Celsius, where previously we have seen up to 33 degrees.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the winners here at the Rocket Mortgage Classic gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this:

  • 2020, Bryson DeChambeau (-23). 351 yards (1st), 58.9% fairways (58th), 77.8% greens in regulation (13th), 37’6″ proximity to hole (69th), 68.8 % scrambling (29th), 1.63 putts per GIR (7th).
  • 2019, Nate Lashley (-25). 300 yards (44th), 73.2% fairways (11th), 81.9% greens in regulation (4th), 30’10” proximity to hole (19th), 84.6% scrambling (3rd), 1.58 putts per GIR (2nd).

Tournament Skill Averages:

Driving Distance: 23rd, Driving Accuracy: 35th, Greens in Regulation: 9th, Proximity to Hole: 44th, Scrambling: 16th, Putting Average 5th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends:

  • 2020, Bryson DeChambeau (-23). SG Off the Tee: 1st, SG Approach: 51st, SG Around the Green: 26th, SG Tee to Green: 4th, SG Putting: 1st.
  • 2019, Nate Lashley (-25). SG Off the Tee: 29th, SG Approach: 6th, SG Around the Green: 13th, SG Tee to Green: 3rd, SG Putting: 2nd.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 15th, SG Approach: 29th, SG Around the Green: 20th, SG Tee to Green: 4th, SG Putting: 2nd.

Let’s take a view from players as to how the course sets up and what skill sets the course favours:

Bryson DeChambeau (2020): “ Well, the conditions are really nice, they’re beautiful. Greens are beautiful, fairways are perfect. It’s a golf course that I enjoy. I do really well on country club-style golf courses, so I’m looking forward to another great week. The greens have a lot of the slopes are from back to front. Layout seems like it’s fairly tight, a lot of rough. I think there’s a lot of bunkers that are around like 290, so hopefully I’ll be able to clear those and take those out of play. So, sorry, Mr. Ross, but, you know, it is what it is. And I like the style of golf courses, it just seems to fit me. They’re like country club style. I grew up on Belmont Country Club, which is very similar to that style of course, so I’m comfortable with it. I really enjoy those types of courses and I feel like I thrive on them, so this course is none the different.

I’m again trying to be the casino and give myself the best opportunity to win. Having 9-iron into those par 5s, it’s definitely nice to be able to attack par-5 flags rather than kind of move away from them. There’s a couple holes where I can get it up close to the green and just chip it on there and make a putt. I’ve just got to keep hitting my driver good and getting more comfortable with the driver and if that happens, it’s going to be a fun week.”

Nate Lashley (2019): Yeah, like you said, there is a lot of undulation. I got it under the hole on most holes and had a lot of uphill putts with not a lot of break, so I was able to knock those in. Yeah, there’s some putts out there. I made a really nice putt on 4 from the fringe, too. A putt I was just trying to get close and it happened to fall in. So yeah, putted really well today. Game feels good and hopefully can continue this through the week.

I don’t know that there’s a whole lot of tricky holes out there or really overly difficult holes. If you hit the fairways here, you can really score. I think that’s, you know, the name of the game. If you hit it in the fairway, you’re going to have a lot of birdie putts. But the greens, the greens do have quite a bit of slope, some of them around the holes that have a lot of undulation. If you get it on the right spot, though, and get it in the right tier, you can make a lot of birdies

It’s nice when you have one of these weeks at a course you can score on, and if you play well, you get rewarded. Some of the weeks the courses are so tough, people don’t really realize it. You could hit good shots all day and shoot over par. A lot of the weeks the courses are really difficult, so it’s a nice change coming here. You hit good shots and you can shoot a good score.”

Brandt Snedeker (2019): ” I seem to like Donald Ross courses. That’s the whole reason why I showed this week. When I saw the golf course we were playing I knew I wanted to be up here. So I did a great job of putting the ball in the fairway off the tee, and from there I could be aggressive. Had a lot of wedges in my hand, hit some great short irons and then obviously played to my strength. I’m a good putter, I love poa annua greens. We had perfect greens this morning. Made a lot of putts, which you’ve got to do around here. So I’m excited about hoping to build on that for tomorrow and kind of making sure I have the same M.O. tomorrow.

Patrick Reed (2019): ” I think the biggest thing is it’s a shot-making golf course. You have to work the ball both ways, you can flight it, take it up in the air. There’s a bunch of different shots, especially when the wind blows, that you have to play. It’s not just see a number, hit a number. You have to use the contours of the greens, use the wind in a bunch of different areas. I love being creative and having to work the ball around. A place like this kind of suits me and I feel real comfortable over the ball. The golf course is pure, it’s in great shape, and it’s a birdie fest. You’ve got to go out and shoot low, got to go out and make birdies, especially this time of year, you know, after a U.S. Open, which normally par is a good score. And then on top of it you’re leading into another major, The Open coming up. And so you’re sitting there and to have a week like this where you can go out and make a bunch of birdies, if you’re hitting fairways, hitting wedges in there close, make a bunch of putts, you know, make a lot of birdies gives you confidence moving forward. I think it’s a great.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the Rocket Mortgage winners:

  • 2020 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 4th, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 2nd.
  • 2019 – Nate Lashley: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.

Shots Off the Lead: Below are the shots from the lead during the tournament of the Rocket Mortgage Classic winners:

  • 2020 – Bryson DeChambeau: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2019 – Nate Lashley: Round 1: 1 ahead, Round 2: 1 ahead, Round 3: 6 ahead.

Incoming Form of winners since 2010:

  • Bryson DeChambeau: 6th River Highlands/8th Harbour/3rd Colonial/4th Bay Hill.
  • Nate Lashley: 28th US Open/MC Hamilton/69th Colonial/29th Trinity Forest.

First Round Leader Analysis: First round leader(s), their wave and winning score since 2010. Full First Round Leader stats are here.

  • 2020 – Kisner/Redman/Stallings – 2AM/1PM – 7/65 – 80/1, 66/1, 80/1.
  • 2019 – Lashley – AM -9/63 No Price

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Poa Annua and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 6 – Bubba Watson.
  • 5 – Phil Mickelson.
  • 4 – Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau, Brandt Snedeker.
  • 3 – Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker.
  • 2 – Hunter Mahan, Scott Piercy, Nick Watney, Gary Woodland.
  • 1 – Aaron Baddeley, Jonas Blixt, Keegan Bradley, Cameron Champ, Jason Dufner, Emiliano Grillo, James Hahn, J.B. Holmes, Max Homa, Russell Knox, Nate Lashley, Hideki Matsuyama, William McGirt, Sean O’Hair, Ted Potter Jnr, Andrew Putnam, Chez Reavie, Scott Stallings, Nick Taylor, Vaughn Taylor, Kevin Tway, Bo Van Pelt, Richy Werenski.

Naturally we’ve only seen two renewals of this tournament, but the difference in winners couldn’t have been more stark. 2019 saw 250/1 shot Nate Lashley pretty much lap the field, shooting an incredible -25/263. A second season player, Nate had only scored a single PGA Tour top-10 finish in Puerto Rico in the April, prior to winning here. He was outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup, but arrived in Detroit as an alternate, buoyed by 28th place at the Pebble Beach hosted U.S. Open on his last outing. An opening 67 at Pebble had him in 6th place at the end of Thursday and he hung around admirably, ranking 6th for Greens in Regulation, 6th for Strokes Gained on Approach and 14th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green. Clearly on the crest of a wave confidence wise, Lashley arrived in Detroit on Wednesday evening as a last place alternate and recorded a huge win for the bookmakers. Since his win he’s gone on to finish 4th at Old White TPC, 3rd at TPC Scottsdale and 5th at Pebble Beach. His single win on the Korn Ferry Tour had been at -20/268 at the 2017 Corales Championship.

Last year saw Bryson DeChambeau arrive off post Covid-19 resumption form of 6th at the Travelers Championship, 8th at the RBC Heritage and 3rd at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He was the 7/1 favoutite. Bryson has already won 5 PGA Tour titles and won by 3 shots from Matthew Wolff and by 5 from Kevin Kisner.

Linking Bryson and Nate from a playing style is difficult, nee impossible! Both though were highly ranked highly in terms of Strokes Gained on Approach arriving in Michigan, and both renewals also highlight that Strokes Gained Putting was the key to victory. Nate Lashley, with 2.06 Strokes Gained Tee to Green per round, outscored that with his putter, gaining 2.33 Strokes Putting per round. Bryson DeChambeau, with 1.82 Strokes Gained Tee to Green per round, outscored that with his putter gaining 1.96 Strokes Putting per round. A rarity that on the PGA Tour. So we want strong SG on Approach play and hope that goes hand-in-hand with a hot week for the putter.

My Final Rocket Mortgage Classic Tips Are As Follows

Matthew Wolff 1.5pts EW 33/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

I mentioned on the Golf Betting System Podcast last week that I would be playing Matthew Wolff over the coming events, where appropriate. An extremely talented sort who’s amazingly inconsistent, when he does fire the Oklahoma State University graduate is something else. Let’s not forget that as an amateur, after finishing 50th at the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, Wolff then went on a form run of 1-14-2-1 before adding a NCAA Division I Individual Championship title, beating the likes of Morikawa, Hovland, Suh and Gordon, before then turning professional. Within 3 tournaments of being a professional, he’d picked up his 1st PGA Tour title at the 2019 3M Open, played at TPC Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is no ordinary talent!

That 3M Open is worth exploring as Wolff beat Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa by a single shot, when he sank a 26-foot eagle putt on the 18th. And it’s noticeable that DeChambeau and Wolff tend to play well on the same courses. Clearly Bryson was the winner here at the Detroit Golf Club, beating Wolff by 3 shots, -23/265 to -20/268. Wolff was the 54-hole leader after shooting scorching -8/64s across both Friday and Saturday.

Last year saw both finish 4th at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, and of course Wolff again finished runner-up to DeChambeau at the U.S. Open played at Winged Foot. Matthew then went on to lose in a play-off to Martin Laird at the Shriners Open played at TPC Summerlin. Bryson’s record on the Par 71 in Las Vegas reads 7th (2016), 1st (2018), 4th (2019) and 8th (2020). Both bomb it off the tee, can be extremely positive from a Strokes Gained on Approach basis, and when the putter clicks watch out.

A missed cut at the Travelers last week means little when it comes to the 22 year old’s chances this week in Michigan; instead I’ll take the positives from his U.S. Open performance at Torrey Pines. 3rd after 36 holes and 5th after 54 holes, Wolff topped the birdies chart (17), ranked 4th for Strokes Gained Off the Tee and 12th for Strokes Gained Putting on his way to 15th. And attempting to enjoy himself more on the golf course, a return to a short, gettable Par 72 like Detroit Golf Club could well see him spring back towards the top of the leaderboard. RESULT: T58

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Jason Day 1.5pts EW 33/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Jason Day has always been a momentum player and I know he’s struggling with a tight back, but at this price I’m happy to get involved. A 12 time champion on the PGA Tour, 2015 victories at the RBC Canadian Open, PGA Championship, The Barclays and the BMW Championship came in Canada (obviously), Wisconsin, New Jersey and Illinois, so it’s safe to say that Jason likes this latitude of North America. I know that plenty of water has passed under the bridge since those heady days, but 4 of his 12 victories have been on pure Poa Annua or Poa Annua/Bentgrass mix.

And I was very impressed with his play at the Travelers last week. 5th for Driving Distance, averaging 310 yards off the tee, if Detroit remains a bomber’s paradise this week, such power could really be of use. 14th for Driving Accuracy, 1st for Total Driving, 7th for Greens in Regulation, 1st for Ball Striking and 2nd for All Round, if Day has a bad back it hardly showed from his play. Jason was also 1st for Total Driving at the PGA Championship hosted at Kiawah Island – and it’s worth noting that the previous time he topped that category on Tour was the 2015 PGA Championship. Top signs I think you will agree.

Always a lover of softer golf courses, Jason’s Friday 62 at TPC River Highlands was the best score of the week and powered him into 1st place after 36 holes. And I think that Detroit Golf Club should suit – I know he missed the cut here last year, but he arrived off form of MC-WD-MC-MC-46 and the Covid era was never going to suit a family man such as the 33 year-old Australian. And at 100th in the FedEx Cup, Day is fully aware that he needs a top finish to get a strong position going into the Playoffs. RESULT: T14

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✅ For further details read our William Hill promo code page
✅ Earliest bookmaker to publish odds most weeks on the PGA Tour and European Tour
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Charley Hoffman – WITHDREW PRE-EVENT

A soft, short, scoreable golf course screams Charley Hoffman to me and we have already had some decent success in 2021 with the World Number 57. Runner-up to Jordan Spieth at the Valero Texas Open, Charley also delivered 3rd at the Charles Schwab Challenge at the end of last month. Undoubtedly he is playing some great stuff and I also think he has the skills to unlock the low scores required here in Detroit, despite a MC here on his only appearance back in 2019, off of inbound form of MC-MC.

Season to date he ranks 13th on the PGA Tour for Strokes Gained on Approach (5th in this field), 21st for Birdie Average (5th in this field) and 18th for Total Eagles. At 25th for Driving Distance, Hoffman can attack the shorter Par-4s and all the Par-5s here and his numbers over the past 8 weeks are outstanding.

In this field he ranks 24th for Greens in Regulation and 9th for Putting Average (Putts per GIR). From a Strokes Gained perspective he’s 19th for Off the Tee, 12th for Approach, 18th for Tee to Green and 12th for Strokes Gained Current Form. A winner at TPC Boston in 2010 with a winning score of -22/262, Charley has won in Up-State United States before and it’s worth remembering that his first win on Tour was the birdie-fest that was the Bob Hope Classic (2007). Shot a -7/63 on Friday of the Travelers and for such a strong ball striker, it was noticeable that he ranked 11th for Strokes Gained Putting across the week – his best putting performance since Pebble Beach in February and his 3rd best of this season. RESULT: W/D

Maverick McNealy 1pt EW 70/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Coral

I’ve had success here in Detroit over the first 2 renewals by selecting players who were simply hitting a high level of greens on the way into the tournament. Both Brandt Snedeker and Adam Hadwin placed at 30/1 and 60/1 respectively. Maverick McNealy has a lot going for him in that regard and I really like the way that the 25 year old’s game is trending in 2021.

2nd at Pebble Beach was eye opening and in April he backed that up with 4th at the RBC Heritage. Short, old style golf courses seem to be his jam. He was also 7th at the Barracuda Championship last August and 8th here 12 months ago. So think it through – Pebble Beach (where he also finished 5th in 2020), Old Greenwood Golf Course (Barracuda) and Detroit Golf Club – all short, sub-7,400 layouts featuring Poa Annua greens.

And his last 2 outings have been noticeable for low rounds, in tandem with great driving and ball striking. 20th at Colonial, Maverick was 6th after 36 holes after shooting a -7/63 on Friday and last week at TPC River Highlands, the Californian started with a -5/65 on Thursday, finishing 30th. 12th for Total Driving, 19th for Greens in Regulation and 13th for Ball Striking in Fort Worth, that improved to 2nd for Total Driving, 15th for Greens in Regulation and 2nd for Ball Striking in Hartford last week. He also ranked 1st for Strokes Gained Off the Tee and 4 of his last 5 appearances have seen him average 306 yards or more off the tee.

Clearly a Poa Annua-positive player which makes sense as he grew up in Stanford, California and attended Stanford University, he gained 6.458 shots here on the Detroit Golf Club greens last year on his way to 8th – and any repeat of that performance this week combined with his current ball striking numbers will see him go very close. RESULT: T21

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Andrew Putnam 1pt EW 150/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Andrew Putnam on a short, resort-level scoring course is always a player I keep an eye on. The winner of the 2018 Barracuda Championship on Poa Annua/Bentgrass mixed greens, Andrew is one of those spiky players who can be awful for prolonged periods of time, but when he finds form, he carries it over into consecutive outings. That maiden PGA Tour win followed on directly from 8th the week before at the Canadian Open, and we almost snared him at 80/1 at the 2019 Sony Open. He’d already finished 14th the week before at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, before finishing runner-up to Matt Kuchar at Waialae Country Club.

2021 has been a decent rebuilding season after a dismal 2020. A 5-week period in February and the first week of March saw Andrew finish 7th at TPC Scottsdale, 5th in Puerto Rico and 4th at Bay Hill. So I was fascinated to see his play at TPC River Highlands last week. A Friday to Sunday -8/202 was T7 in the field and Putnam finished with a Sunday 66 to climb to 13th spot. 6th for Greens in Regulation, 4th for Strokes Gained on Approach and 15th for Strokes Gained Tee to Green, the 32 year-old who lives in Phoenix, Arizona had scorching approach play and that is likely to bode well this week at Detroit where short hitters, who are streaky scorers, can be more than competitive. RESULT: MC

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Seamus Power 1pt EW 80/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

The withdrawal pre-event of Charley Hoffman has seen Seamus Power added to the field and a combination of his current form allied to his 2020 performance here at the Detroit Golf Club makes him a must-add to the staking plan.

As I mention in this week’s Golf Betting System Podcast his non-inclusion in the original field caused me much pain, and that’s clear to see from his current 8-week tracker numbers. In this field he ranks 9th for Putting Average (Putts per GIR) and from a Strokes Gained perspective 8th for Approach, 1st for Around the Green, 2nd for Tee to Green and 3rd for Current Form.

54th at Wells Fargo, 9th at the Byron Nelson, 19th at Palmetto and 19th last week at the Travelers, Power is playing some outstanding golf right now, but still finds himself struggling to get into PGA Tour events and he is currently 159th in the FedEx Cup standings, so effectively he needs to keep producing results. And with July and half of August still to play in the regular season, Seamus undoubtedly has a huge opportunity to crack the top 125 for the first time in his career and lock in a full, non-hindered schedule for next season.

And that brings us to the Rocket Mortgage Classic – a MC in 2019, last year saw Power thrive at the Detroit Golf Club. Opening rounds of 67-66 placed him 3rd and in a late Saturday grouping with Matthew Wolff. And where Wolff fired a 64, Seamus played nicely with a 69, to still be in the top 4 on Sunday. A disappointing final round 72, dropped the Irishman to 12th spot at the finish, but our cards had been marked. Fact is Seamus has never looked so comfortable on the PGA Tour and I’m hoping that a big week here in Michigan will give him a huge boost towards attaining full Tour status that his play at the moment deserves. RESULT: T8

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Scott Piercy 1pt EW 200/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Paddy Power

I’m also using the Hoffman withdrawal to part-fund the addition of Scott Piercy to this week’s Rocket Mortgage squad.

Soft and low-scoring golf courses have always been the domain of Piercy. Indeed when I maximised Resort Scoring, Bent/Poa Green and Resort Scoring tabs on this week’s Predictor Model, Piercy ranks 5th in this field behind only Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson, Hideki Matsuyama, Keegan Bradley and Kevin Kisner. So 200/1 appeals, especially as there have been flickers of form from the OWGR Number 221.

11th at Quail Hollow and 19th at Congaree across 2 of his past 5 outings, fact of the matter is that Scott finds himself in a spot of bother with his PGA Tour status. At 133rd in the FedEx Cup standings, he needs to deliver results and quickly to keep his full Tour card, and tournaments like both the Rocket Mortgage and next week’s John Deere Classic are right up his street. 2 of his 4 PGA Tour wins have come on Poa Annua / Bentgrass greens at the 2011 Reno Tahoe Open and the 2012 RBC Canadian Open. Scott has always been the sort who favours birdie-fests and his play of late has been decent.

Across my 8-week Strokes Gained trackers he ranks in this field 13th for Off the Tee, 7th for Approach, 8th for Tee to Green and 24th for Current Form. Naturally the putter has been broken for a period of time with Scott, but even that fired at the Palmetto 2 starts ago where he ranked 11th for Strokes Gained Putting – those were his best putting numbers since the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge. So I’m hoping that cut in the fairways and dead-stop greens will see Piercy levitate into contention this week on green types he has historically got on with well. RESULT: MC

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 07:10BST 29.6.21 but naturally subject to fluctuation; Power and Piercy added 09:35BST 30.6.21, odds correct at that time of publication.