Rocket Mortgage Classic Betting Tips
The North Course, Detroit Golf Club - Grosse Point Farms, Michigan - Par 72, 7,300 Yards
This week we head to the manufacturing heartlands of the United States, and to the unlikely venue of Detroit for the second staging of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. This relatively new venue, which sits just 15 minutes north of the State Capital of Michigan was originally designed by quirky course designer Donald Ross back in 1914, and was modernised by Robert Trent Jones Senior back in 1953.
A fairly unimaginative and flat parkland course, with trees lining the fairways and rough fairly benign, Detroit is an easy and unremarkable course where last year's winner Nate Lashley finished on 25 under par. Aside from the trees which provide a realistic obstacle on most holes, the course’s main defence comes from well placed bunkering and water which is very much in play on 4 holes. The greens are small but fast, and the venue will most likely suit a player who can strategically work his way around the course, avoid trouble (particularly around the greens), and most importantly make some putts.
Last Year's Winner:
The Market Leaders
This field strength this week doesn't quite match the depth that we have seen over the last three weeks following golf's return, and it is Bryson Dechambeau (6/1) who missed out on the place money by a shot last week for us who sits at the top. Bryson's form is undeniably outstanding having finished in the top 8 places in seven of his last eight starts, and although the Detroit course is new to him, it is understandable that he has to be the favourite here. Dechambeau will have no issues from the tee whatsoever and will have short wedge shots into at least 12 of the 18 greens so there will be plenty of birdie opportunities out there. The challenge comes with the fact that he will need to convert one every three holes to match Lashley's score, and the putting is certainly Bryson's demon at the moment. On a course where anyone can go low, and where a Monday qualifier won last year, I am reluctant to take a market favourite whose strengths are better suited elsewhere, and at the price Bryson is a no bet for me.
Webb Simpson (11/1) arrives on the back of a week off following his win at Hilton Head, and is certainly not a player that struggles to go low and make hay on the greens. This venue should suit Webb very well being fairly short and with a premium on birdie conversion. My worry with Webb will be his desire to win. He has his victory for the year, and the 2012 US Open champion is not one who usually goes on winning runs, and i'm not expecting one this year. He's another to leave at the price. Tyrrell Hatton (14/1) and Patrick Reed (14/1) have both looked sharp during the last three weeks. Hatton's only appearance yielded a 3rd place behind Simpson at Harbour Town, whilst Reed opened with a top 10 at Colonial though missed the cut last week. Of the two, my preference would be with Hatton. It doesn't appear to be a coincidence that he has turned up at a venue so well suited to his strengths, and he will be very keen to land a second PGA Tour win of the season. He sees the value of the market leaders.
The top pick this week looks a skinny price on the face of it, but Viktor Hovland is a player that I rate very highly, and who I expect to push into the World's top 10 in the coming years. Since the restart, Hovland has improved on his previous week's finish every time, and has never been outside of the top 25 culminating in an 11th place finish last week which could have been so much better were it not for a double bogey 7 on the closing nine on Sunday. Hovland is a big hitter with a great wedge and short game. The ideal weapons for an assault on Detroit golf club. Last year Hovland arrived here as a winless Tour rookie and still managed a 13th place finish. With a win behind him, and improving form coming into this week, he is an obvious selection, even at this sub 20s quote. I will be backing him with 3 points e/w at 18/1.
Jason Day showed a little more consistency last week as he continues to battle back from injury layoffs and personal problems to try and recapture his place at the top of the PGA Tour. This is not usually the type of event where you would expect to see Day who typically saves himself for the bigger tournaments, but his presence should unsettle an already weak field, particularly given the potential that Day has at this specific venue. Again, Jason is a long player who will be able to open his shoulders with little fear of consequence around these generous fairways, and his iron play and putting have remained solid, if unspectacular throughout his time away from the top echelons. What Day will need to do will be to find the putts that have been lacking, and admittedly he will have to find a lot if the winning score is similar to last year, but he is more than capable, and on these fast, true, surfaces, he will be right at home. I am backing him with 2 points e/w at 50/1.
The final selection this week is Sepp Straka who missed the cut last week on the back of a poor opening round, but who has two top 5 finishes this season, as well as a top 10 in this event last year. Straka is up inside the top 30 for driving distance, and will benefit from the generous layout. He will be more at ease in this environment than the challengingly tight set ups of Harbour Town or Colonial, and is another whose success will be defined by the wedge and the putter. Last year Straka was in the top 20 for approaches between 100-125 yards, and it will be this range that he will be attacking most holes at Detroit from. In 2019 he contended until he fell away on the last day, and this price seems unusually high particularly in the quality of field. I am happy to get behind him and have 1 point e/w at 150/1.
Following a rolling profit of 463 points in 2019, I am looking for an even better 2020. Each week I will pick between 2 to 4 selections at each event on the European and PGA Tours, and suggest a suitable staking plan.
|European Tour||-69 points|
|PGA Tour||+39 points|