Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Rocket Mortgage Classic Tips 2022

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Congratulations if you were on-board 3M Open favourite Tony Finau at a Monday best price of 14/1 with William Hill. Backing Tony Finau as a favourite was too much of a stretch for me, but with 4 top-13 finishes from his past 5 domestic PGA Tour appearances, he shows that he has mastered run-of-the-mill Tour events. It was his 3rd PGA Tour victory and he jumped into the top 7 for Team USA in President’s Cup qualification. I landed a 110/1 each-way return on Callum Tarren, so not too bad all-in-all.

This is the fourth Rocket Mortgage Classic with the 3 renewals so far won by Nate Lashley, Bryson DeChambeau and Cam Davis. 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 till 2026 at the very least. Sponsorship comes in the form of Quicken’s online Rocket Mortgage brand. Players in this week’s field include Quicken-sponsored Rickie Fowler plus Patrick Cantlay, Will Zalatoris, Tony Finau, Cameron Young, Max Homa and Kevin Kisner.

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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, +6,100 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 layout, 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. 2021: 70.55 (-1.45), Difficulty Rank 40 of 51 courses.

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 Twin Cities: 250 yards from the tee: 38 yards wide; 275:38; 300:31; 325:30; 350:36.
  • TPC Deere Run: 250 yards from tee: 41 yards wide; 275:40; 300:36 325:33; 350:30.
  • TPC River Highlands: 250 yards from the tee: 38 yards wide; 275:36; 300:29; 325:29; 350:28.
  • Muirfield Village: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:28; 325:24; 350:27.
  • Colonial: 250 yards from tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:27; 325:26; 350:23.
  • Champions Course – Southern Hills: Average 40 yards wide.
  • TPC Potomac: 250 yards from the tee: 32 yards wide; 275:30; 300:27; 325:23; 350:27.
  • 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.
  • Copperhead: 250 yards from the tee: 24 yards wide; 275:20; 300:21; 325:23 350:19.
  • 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.
  • PGA National: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:27 350:25.
  • Riviera: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26 350:28.
  • TPC Scottsdale: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:30; 300:28; 325:27; 350:27.
  • Pebble Beach: 250 yards from the tee: 33 yards wide; 275:33; 300:29; 325:30 350:26.
  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • TPC Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.

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

  • Aronimink GC – 2010 & 2011 AT&T National & 2018 BMW Championship
  • East Course at Oak Hill – 2013 PGA Championship
  • East Lake GC – Tour Championship
  • Pinehurst Number 2 – 2014 U.S. Open
  • Plainfield – 2011 & 2015 Barclays
  • Sedgefield CC – Wyndham 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 not long from a PGA Tour perspective.  This week we are 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 where they play The Travelers.

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 them 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), 16 (2020) and 11 (2021) players 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

Rocket Mortgage Classic Winners: 2021: Cam Davis (-18); 2020: Bryson DeChambeau (-23); 2019: Nate Lashley (-25).

OWGR of Winners: 2021: Davis 134; 2020: DeChambeau 10; 2019: Lashley 353.

Cut Line: 2021: -3; 2020: -5; 2019: -5.

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2021: Round 1 -9; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -14; Round 4 -18.
  • 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 | SG 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 Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Kevin Kisner, Cameron Young, Nate Lashley, Adam Scott, Troy Merritt, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and Will Zalatoris.

3M Open Winning Prices: 2021: Davis 150/1; 2020: DeChambeau 7/1; 2019: Lashley 250/1. Overall Average: 136/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2021: Thursday: Partly cloudy with showers. High of 80. Wind NNE 8-14 mph, with gusts to 20 mph. Due to inclement weather, play was suspended from 12:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET. Due to darkness, the first round was suspended at 9:02 p.m. with 27 players left on the golf course. Preferred lies were in effect during the first round. Friday: The first round resumed at 7:15 a.m. Friday and was completed at 8:15 a.m. The second round began as scheduled at 6:45 a.m. Partly cloudy. High of 76. Wind N 10-15, with gusts to 25 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 83. Wind SW 8-14, gusting to 18 mph. Sunday: Mostly sunny. High of 90. Wind NW 4-8 mph, switching to SE 5-10 mph in the afternoon.
  • 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.

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

PGA Tour officials aren’t scared of a birdiefest here in Detroit, and this week’s weather forecast looks just about okay to deliver their wish. Gusting 20 mph westerly and south westerly winds will take the edge off the very lowest of scoring on Thursday/Friday, but that clears away for the weekend. The course had 40mm (1.6 inches) of rain deposited on it last week, so should be lush enough and temperatures will be in the 28-30 degree Celsius (82-86 Fahrenheit) vicinity across 3 of the 4 days.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Memorial Tournament / Porsche European Open. Player rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Taylor Pendrith; 2) Brendan Steele; 3) Michael Thorbjornsen; 4) Hayden Buckley; 5) Max Homa; 6) Paul Barjon; 7) Sahith Theegala; 8) Stewart Cink; 9) Cam Davis / Rory Sabbatini / Cameron Young; 12) Patrick Cantlay / Gary Woodland; 14) Joel Dahmen / Luke List / Kevin Streelman; 17) Kevin Chappell / Wyndham Clark / Michael Gligic; 20) Brandon Wu; 21) Danny Lee; 22) Adam Hadwin / Chris Kirk; 24) Taylor Moore / Austin Smotherman / Will Zalatoris.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Mark Hubbard; 2) Tony Finau; 3) Brendan Steele; 4) Will Zalatoris; 5) Kevin Streelman; 6) Chris Gotterup / Lee Hodges / Ben Kohles; 9) Aaron Baddeley / Alex Smalley; 11) Cam Davis / Adam Scott; 13) Scott Stallings; 14) Chesson Hadley; 15) Hayden Buckley / Danny Lee; 17) Davis Riley; 18) Jonathan Byrd / Hank Lebioda / Chase Seiffert; 21) Seung-yul Noh; 22) Greyson Sigg; 23) Gary Woodland; 24) Adam Schenk; 25) David Skinns.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Taylor Pendrith; 2) Morgan Hoffmann; 3) Adam Hadwin; 4) Chris Kirk; 5) Seung-yul Noh; 6) Kevin Kisner; 7) Wyndham Clark; 8) Patrick Cantlay; 9) Sahith Theegala; 10) Tony Finau / Ryan Palmer; 12) Max Homa / Cameron Percy / Kevin Streelman; 15) Joohyung Kim; 16) John Huh / Jim Knous; 18) Camilo Villegas; 19) Bill Haas; 20) Scott Piercy; 21) Russell Henley; 22) Stephan Jaeger; 23) Adam Scott; 24) Stewart Cink; 25) Maverick McNealy / Bo Van Pelt.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Taylor Pendrith; 2) Brendan Steele; 3) Will Zalatoris; 4) Kevin Streelman; 5) Tony Finau; 6) Patrick Cantlay; 7) Max Homa; 8) Davis Riley; 9) Joohyung Kim; 10) Hayden Buckley / Adam Hadwin; 12) Scott Stallings / Sahith Theegala; 14) Lee Hodges / Alex Smalley; 16) Cam Davis / Morgan Hoffmann / Gary Woodland; 19) Greyson Sigg; 20) Wyndham Clark; 21) Aaron Baddeley / John Huh; 23) Chesson Hadley / Danny Lee / Austin Smotherman.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Patrick Cantlay; 2) Denny McCarthy; 3) Michael Gligic; 4) Mark Hubbard / Matt Kuchar; 6) Chesson Hadley; 7) Seung-yul Noh / Adam Svensson; 9) Vincent Whaley; 10) Nick Hardy; 11) Austin Cook; 12) Kevin Kisner / Taylor Moore; 14) Patrick Rodgers; 15) Joohyung Kim; 16) Jim Knous / Justin Lower; 18) Paul Barjon / Beau Hossler / Mackenzie Hughes / Bo Van Pelt; 22) Kelly Kraft / Maverick McNealy / C.T. Pan / Adam Scott.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Patrick Cantlay; 2) Taylor Pendrith; 3) Michael Gligic; 4) Tony Finau; 5) Joohyung Kim; 6) Kevin Kisner; 7) Mark Hubbard; 8) Denny McCarthy / Will Zalatoris; 10) Chesson Hadley; 11) Nick Hardy; 12) Max Homa / Sahith Theegala / Vincent Whaley; 15) Adam Hadwin / Kevin Streelman / Adam Svensson; 18) Wyndham Clark / Greyson Sigg; 20) Hayden Buckley / Cam Davis / Seung-yul Noh; 23) Austin Cook / Hank Lebioda; 25) Adam Scott / Brendan Steele.

For a summary of the Strokes Gained Performances from this week’s field here at Detroit Golf Club since 2019 click here.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the winners of the Rocket Mortgage Classic back to 2019 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this classical test:

  • 2021, Cam Davis (-18). 299 yards (7th), 71.4% fairways (29th), 76.4% greens in regulation (24th), 34’9″ proximity to hole (68th), 76.5 % scrambling (16th), 1.69 putts per GIR (15th).
  • 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: 17th, Driving Accuracy: 33rd, Greens in Regulation: 14th, Proximity to Hole: 52nd, Scrambling: 16th, Putting Average 8th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends:

  • 2021, Cam Davis (-18). SG Off the Tee: 34th, SG Approach: 9th, SG Around the Green: 5th, SG Tee to Green: 4th, SG Putting: 22nd.
  • 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: 21st, SG Approach: 22nd, SG Around the Green: 15th, SG Tee to Green: 4th, SG Putting: 8th.

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

Cam Davis (2021): “I’m hitting my irons pretty solid. Everything’s just sort of in a good place and everything working together pretty well kind of leads to a little less stress on the golf course, leaving me in better positions. And it’s nice to make a couple of putts every now and then to keep the momentum going. I’ve missed the cut the last two times I played here, so I wouldn’t say necessarily it’s a place that fit my eye straightaway, but this year I’ve kind of figured out a slightly different way to play the golf course and that’s try and put the ball in the fairway.”

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 winners of the Rocket Mortgage Classic since 2019:

  • 2021 – Cam Davis: Round 1: 21st, Round 2: 6th, Round 3: 3rd.
  • 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 From the Lead: Below are the shots from the lead during the tournament of Rocket Mortgage Classic winners since 2019:

  • 2021 – Cam Davis: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 2 back, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 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.

Form of Rocket Mortgage Classic winners since 2019:

  • Cam Davis: MC Memorial/45th Colonial/59th PGA/26th Quail Hollow.
  • 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.

  • 2021 – Davis Thompson – AM -9/63.
  • 2020 – Kisner/Redman/Stallings – 2AM/1PM – 7/65 – 80/1, 66/1, 80/1.
  • 2019 – Lashley – AM -9/63.

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

  • 4 – Jason Day.
  • 2 – Max Homa, Scott Piercy, Adam Scott, Brendan Steele, Nick Watney, Gary Woodland.
  • 1 – Aaron Baddeley, Keegan Bradley, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Champ, Stewart Cink, Cam Davis, Harris English, Bill Haas, James Hahn, Russell Knox, Matt Kuchar, Nate Lashley, Luke List, William McGirt, Sean O’Hair, Scott Stallings, Nick Taylor, Vaughn Taylor, Kevin Tway, Bo Van Pelt, Richy Werenski.

Naturally we have seen three renewals of this tournament with two defined game-shape camps of winners. 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 gasp 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, 5th at Pebble Beach and 7th Grand Reserve CC (Puerto Rico). His single win on the Korn Ferry Tour had been at -20/268 at the 2017 Corales Championship.

2020 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 favourite. Bryson had already won 5 PGA Tour titles and won by 3 shots from Matthew Wolff and by 5 from Kevin Kisner. 2021 saw another long driver in the form of Cam Davis win this, triumphing in a 3-man play off over Joaquin Niemann and Troy Merritt. Cam came to Detroit off a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament, with form prior to that reading 45-59-26. His previous top-10 finish had been in January at The American Express finishing 3rd, and understandably he won the Rocket Mortgage at 150/1.

So we have seen a couple of bombers win in Detroit as well as a shorter sort, whose strengths are approach and putting. At just south of 7,400 yards, I categorise this as a medium length golf course, which is classical in nature and tree-lined. It’s meant to be a throwback test with a runaway victory for Nate Lashley in 2019, plus places for the likes of Kisner, Merritt and Snedeker showing that shorter, steady players can compete around here. However the course is also powerless if a world-class bomber plays at their best here.

My Final Rocket Mortgage Classic Tips Are As Follows

Patrick Cantlay 3pts EW 11/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

Patrick Cantlay seems the rightful favourite to me this week and I think he has the full toolset to win.

In a PGA Tour climate where since the start of May we have seen Rahm 5/1 Favourite (Mexico Open), Thomas 16/1 (PGA Championship), McIlroy 10/1 (RBC Canadian Open), Schauffele 20/1 (Travelers Championship), Schauffele 20/1 (Scottish Open) and now of all people Tony Finau 14/1 (3M Open) win at prices of 20/1 or less. The best players in the main have undoubtedly won on the PGA Tour since the rise of LIV Golf.

I don’t put up Cantlay lightly this week. Form of 8-(Open)-4(Scottish Open)-13(Travelers)-14(U.S. Open)-3(Memorial Tournament) is the best in this field by a mile, but I still think the 30 year-old from Long Beach, California, will be extremely motivated in Detroit – on the basis that he hasn’t won a singles PGA Tour title since the Tour Championship, last September, when of course he won the 2021 FedEx Cup into the bargain.

Now this gives me a similar feel to Bryson DeChambeau here 2 years ago, who came in with excellent form and won this as the 7/1 Favourite, after not winning on the PGA Tour for 30 events. This will be Cantlay’s 17th Tour event since his last individual victory, and he’s been playing so well of late that a win must be on the agenda very, very soon.

Indeed despite never playing the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Cantlay is very much a “horse for the course” this week, at a tournament where -20/268 or so is likely to be the winning score. Of the elite players, Patrick is perfectly equipped to score low. Here’s a summary of Cantlay’s performances at resort-level scoring tournaments going back to 2018:

  • 2018 2nd – Shriners Open -20/264.
  • 2019 – 9th – Desert Classic -18/270; 1st  – Memorial Tournament -19/269; 2nd – BMW Championship (Medinah) -22/266; 2nd – Shriners Open -23/261.
  • 2020 – 1st – ZOZO Championship (Sherwood CC) -23/269.
  • 2021 – 2nd – The American Express – 22/266; 1st – BMW Championship (Caves Valley) -27/261.
  • 2022 – 4th – Sentry Tournament of Champions -26/266; 9th – The American Express -18/270.

In summary, only Jon Rahm has been better at these birdie-fests going back a full 5 year PGA Tour cycle.

In addition, 5 of Patrick’s 6 PGA Tour singles victories have come on Bentgrass or Bentgrass Poa Annua mix putting surfaces. 21st for Driving Distance All Drives this season, 4th for Birdie Average (best in the field) plus 6th for Tee to Green, 1st for Putting and 1st for Current Form across my 8-week Strokes Gained tracker, and the runaway Number 1 selection in this week’s Predictor Model. I think Cantlay is the one to beat this week. RESULT: T2

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Cameron Young 2pts EW 20/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

Backing Cameron Young to win this week seems like the most severe FOMO bet of 2022 to date. I’m on, as will be a huge chunk of the golf betting community both sides of the Atlantic. We all know how this tends to work out, but it worked out for Cameron Smith backers a fortnight ago, so let’s give it a whirl!

The case for Young is pretty straightforward. 2nd at the St Andrews-hosted Open Championship is probably strong enough in its own right. It’s also worth remembering that the New York State, 25 year-old also finished 3rd at the PGA Championship. In terms of players yet to win on the PGA Tour, both Young and Will Zalatoris stand atop the mountain of talent with the most obvious chances, and I think that Detroit Golf Club will suit Cameron to the back teeth.

On a course where big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau and Cam Davis have won the past 2 renewals, Young across this season ranks 2nd for Driving Distance – All Drives, 2nd for Strokes Gained Off the Tee, 9th for Birdie Average (2nd in this field) and in the top 60 for Strokes Gained Putting (Zalatoris ranks 120th).

For some fascinating background, Cameron grew up on the banks of the River Hudson in Scarborough, New York, just 25 miles or so from Manhattan. He won the 2017 New York State Open as an amateur and his Korn Ferry results are worthy of note. 2nd at the 2020 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship came in Ohio, he had to wait till 2021 for his first win, and that came at the Advent Health Championship played in Missouri, before adding a second win a week later at the Evans Scholars Invitational played at The Glen Club in Glenview, Illinois.  Putting surfaces were A1 Bentgrass (Advent) and Bentgrass overseeded with Poa Annua (Evans). So all-in-all Young played his very best Kory Ferry stuff in the Midwestern United States, on similar greens and those wins came at -19/269 and -18/266 winning totals. I doubt that’s a million miles off this week. RESULT: T2

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Kevin Kisner 1.5pts EW 33/1 (10EW, 1/5) with Boylesports

Kevin Kisner is an undoubted Donald Ross golf design expert. 8th (2014), 10th (2016), 3rd (2020) and 1st (2021) at Sedgefield Country Club, ‘KK’ has also finished 3rd (2017) and 9th (2019) at East Lake. That superb form line also transfers itself well to here at Detroit Golf Club, where Kevin is an ever-present. 46th (2019), 3rd (2020), and 8th (2021) here, the 38 year-old from Aiken, South Carolina must be seeing this week as a huge opportunity.

With plenty of perennial President’s Cup stalwarts now in LIV pastures, the likes of Max Homa, Will Zalatoris, Billy Horschel and even Tom Hoge have real chances of representing Team USA at Quail Hollow in September. Tony Finau used the 3M Open last week to jump into the automatic spots for Davis Love III’s team, and with DLIII present this week in Michigan, Kisner needs results right now to make his name relevant for inclusion. With his WGC Match Play pedigree and Carolina ties, a win this week at a relatively short Ross design would aid the World Number 27’s cause ably.

6th at the Travelers Championship and further buoyed by 21st at the St Andrews-hosted Open Championship, which by the way was Kevin’s best Major finish since the 2020 PGA Championship, I think Kisner could well be a factor this week on a course where he ranks 2nd for Strokes Gained Total in this field. RESULT: MC

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Cameron Champ 1pt EW 60/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Cameron Champ is one that I’m drawn to on the basis that he’s both streaky and knows how to win.

Into his fourth season on the PGA Tour he has 3 wins behind him already, across the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship, 2019 Safeway Open and the 2021 3M Open. So that’s wins across the Country Club of Jackson, Silverado CC and TPC Twin Cities. Agronomy-wise we’re looking at a win apiece on Bentgrass and Bent Poa Annua mix greens, and 2 of his 3 wins have come on Par 72 formats, with Silverado being classical and tree-lined. So on a +7,370 yard, Par 72 set-up this week, with wide fairways and a fair number of short par-4s and reachable par-5s, I think Champ will be right at home.

His streakiness is also interesting. 4 career wins in 119 events have come off previous finishes of 8th, 25th, 28th and 11th. And when you’re dealing with the longest driver currently on the PGA Tour, you won’t be surprised to hear that his wins also came when he’s most confident with his driver, with victories coming off of Total Driving ranks in his previous outing of 1st, 18th, 4th and 6th. Across his 3 PGA Tour victories that equates to Strokes Gained Off the Tee performances prior to victory of 1st, 1st and 1st. More tellingly in my opinion for a player who can play awfully for prolonged periods of time, Champ is also one to back when his Tee to Green game peaks – again his wins came off Strokes Gained Tee to Green performances of 15th, 12th and 19th in the outing previous.

6th at the Mexico Open when we were on-board at 50/1, since then Champ has missed 5 of 6 cuts, but his performance when defending at TPC Twin Cities last week was eye-catching. 16th included a pair of weekend 67s. He also ranked 3rd for Total Driving, 7th for Total Accuracy, 9th for Greens in Regulation and 2nd for Ball Striking. Strokes Gained-wise that equated to 29th for Off the Tee, 26th for Tee to Green and 18th for Putting. 2nd here at Detroit Golf Club after 36 holes in 2019 before finishing 46th on course debut, and was also a fast-finishing 12th here in 2020. RESULT: T20

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 16:10BST 25.7.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.