The PGA Tour stays up north this week for a trip to Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Just two weeks remain until the FedEx Cup playoffs begin, so we can keep an eye on that angle, as well.
Let's dig into the course, the key stats, the win simulations, and the best bets of the week.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
Detroit Golf Club Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,340 (average: ~40 yards shorter than the average par 72)
Fairway Acres/Yardage Ratio: 4.1 (average: PGA average is 4.2)
Average Green Size: 5,140 square feet (small: ~84% of the PGA average)
Green Type: Bentgrass/Poa
Past 3 Winning Scores: -18, -23, -25
Past 3 Cut Lines: -3, -5, -5
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Putting, Birdie or Better Rate, Proximity From 50 to 125 Yards
Like we had last week with TPC Twin Cities, we have three years of data now on Detroit Golf Club.
Winning scores have been pretty low. Cam Davis won last year at -18 in a playoff over Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann. In 2020, Bryson DeChambeau separated by three shots over Matthew Wolff (who was two clear of third place and four clear of fourth). And in 2019, Nate Lashley won after Monday qualifying, and he was six shots clear of second place.
So, yes, the winning scores have been low, but we've also had a bit of separation from a few outlier winners over the rest of the pack.
How did those guys win? As you might expect, Davis and DeChambeau gained substantial distance on the field, but Lashley didn't. In total, there's no real lean one way or the other in the distance versus accuracy debate for Detroit Golf Club.
We actually see no specific emphasis on ball-striking for the Rocket Mortgage classic, and putting has played a big part in separating scores the past three years. A big reason for that is that it's not difficult to gain strokes with the driver or irons. It's a pretty simple setup that isn't very penal.
I'm not saying it's a full-on putting competition, but it's worth noting that Lashley gained 9.3 strokes from putting in his win with DeChambeau at 7.8 (while losing strokes from approach), and Cam Davis at a more reasonable 3.1 (but with 3.2 strokes gained from around-the-green play).
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
The best strokes gained averages for golfers at Detroit Golf Club with at least two starts include Nate Lashley (+2.16), Cameron Tringale (+1.67), Kevin Kisner (+1.67), Chris Kirk (+1.58), Maverick McNealy (+1.58), Brandon Hagy (+1.58), Troy Merritt (+1.50), Mackenzie Hughes (+1.49), Doc Redman (+1.32), Sepp Straka (+1.32), and Brian Stuard (+1.32).
Lashley and Cam Davis are the former winners in the field.
Win Simulations for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their golf betting odds this week at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
The model is pretty big on Patrick Cantlay this week and thinks he should be around +800. Yes, a lot of guys are going to be able to contend this week because of how the course play, but we should be comfortable targeting Cantlay in matchups and groups.
Max Homa is accurately slated at +2200 and has the individual spike week numbers to convert a win here.
Adam Scott and Russell Henley around the 40/1 range are both showing well. Each are elite iron players who can putt well enough to put this one away, so these four are making the core of my card at the top.
Scott Stallings enters with three top-10s in his past five starts and great statistical form while also being one of six in the field to make all three cuts here. He's a top-10 and top-20 target, but at +6000, he makes sense for an outright, too.
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
All stats cited below originate at FantasyNational. Strokes gained data includes stats from the past calendar year and is adjusted based on my field strength and recency tweaks. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible -- unless noted. All ranks and percentile ranks are among the field. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Patrick Cantlay (FanDuel Salary: $12,000 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +1000) - While this event is likely to be a bit volatile with the emphasis on putting, it is also not a stranger to separation at the top of the leaderboard. Cantlay works on two fronts, then. He is by far the best player in the field (I have him 0.41 strokes per round better than anyone else in the field over the past year with field strength and recency adjustments), and he's an elite putter (94th-percentile long-term putting and 85th-percentile expected putting). He's great on bentgrass and poa greens, and there's just nothing bad to say about him this week at a salary that isn't prohibitive.
Max Homa ($11,500 | +2200) - We can likely get value from lower salaries this week, and that makes a two-stud lineup intriguing. Simply put, Max Homa is amazing right now. His strokes gained: putting numbers spike at a top-four rate among the field -- with elite numbers tee-to-green, too. That helps explain the upside he's offered this season, culminating in two wins. Homa has all the right tools to make a third cut in as many years at Detroit Golf Club -- and do much more than that.
Others to Consider:
Adam Scott ($11,000 | +3700) - Has irons, distance, and putter to separate from the pack this week.
Kevin Kisner ($10,700 | +3700) - Usually too short off the tee but fares well at Detroit Golf Club, given the key stats needed.
Cameron Tringale ($10,200 | +4200) - One of six in the field with all three made cuts here; due for big putting regression soon.
Scott Stallings ($9,500 | +6000) - Stallings has made all three cuts at Detroit Golf Club and checks the box as a stellar iron player (85th-percentile) and putter (also 85th-percentile). He also fares well on bentgrass and poa greens (once again, 85th-percentile). Stallings has finished top-10 in three of his past five starts. The two others were missed cuts that stemmed from bad putting weeks.
Matt Kuchar ($9,100 | +6500) - This is the type of week when we can see some guys with old-school games contend. Hitting it out there and getting it close and making some putts. It sounds easy, but we usually need something else for elite upside on the PGA Tour. This week, the putter can carry guys, so I'm looking to Kuchar, who is a 94th-percentile expected putter who thrives on bentgrass and poa greens. This is not just selecting a good putter with dreadful iron play: Kuchar still ranks in the 41st percentile in adjusted ball-striking. That's good enough to do some work here.
Others to Consider:
Russell Henley ($10,100 | +4200) - Incredible iron player (99th-percentile) who makes birdies (97th).
Christopher Gotterup ($9,600 | +6000) - Distance can help this week; the small-but-trustworthy-sample form checks out.
Mark Hubbard ($9,400 | +6000) - In the Kuchar mold but with actually good irons (88th).
Mackenzie Hughes ($8,900 | +8000) - It's the right type of week for Hughes, which is pretty rare, given how much I emphasize iron play. Hughes is field average (50th-percentile) this week but holds 91st-percentile adjusted putting and 97th-percentile expected putting. Hughes carves up bentgrass and poa greens and has finished 21st and 14th here in his two starts.
Patrick Rodgers ($8,900 | +8000) - Rodgers' weakness around the greens shouldn't hurt him too much. If he's banking on his wedges, he's not doing enough to be relevant anyway. What he can offer us, then, is positive distance (87th-percentile) and putting (92nd-percentile long-term and 90th-percentile expected putting). Rodgers had three consecutive top-35s before a missed cut at the Genesis Scottish Open and is two-for-two with made cuts at Detroit Golf Club.
Others to Consider:
Cheng-Tsung Pan ($8,800 | +8000) - Only golfer below $9,000 with 75th-percentile-plus ball-striking and bentgrass/poa putting.
Austin Smotherman ($8,500 | +12000) - Ball-striking is there (91st-percentile); due for big putting regression.
J.J. Spaun ($8,000 | +16000) - Three made cuts here with resurging iron play and decent putting.