The Rocket Mortgage Classic is the first tour event that will be played in Detroit since 2009. The course is Detroit Golf Club which is a Donald Ross design. It will play as a 7,340-yard par 72 course this week. This has the makings of a real birdie-fest if golfers can keep their tee shots in front of them and hit some greens. Missing the fairway will be penal with reports coming in that they’ve let the rough grow out to 3.5 inches. That’s really the only defense they have at this course from making it Sony Open East. On par-72 courses of a similar length, there’s definitely an edge to some distance off the tee, with that being more highly correlated to DK points than driving accuracy.
As you scroll through the betting odds relative to Yahoo pricing this week you may notice that once you’re in the mid to low $30 range the odds shoot up into the 70/1 range. Joaquinn Niemann ($30) and Jason Dufner ($29), however, are at 45/1 all the way down at the bottom of that range. Niemann hasn’t shown the upside that we saw from him at the beginning of his career last year but put it all together in Connecticut last weekend. He gained strokes in every category for just the second time since last May and finished in the top five. Niemann’s on a made cut streak of four in a row. Dufner made the cut at the U.S. Open on a course that doesn’t necessarily fit his game and a couple of weeks before that he finished in seventh place at the Memorial. He has gained strokes on approach in five of his last six starts after a rough start to the season.
Viktor Hovland ($23) is another guy who jumps out at his price. At just $3 above min-price, he’s sitting at 50/1 at some books. Hovland is just 21 years old but showed resilience last week in making the cut. On Friday, he triple-bogeyed the 10th hole to push himself outside the cutline. Most golfers, even experienced ones, would be rattled by that but Hovland went two-under without another bogey for the rest of the day to slide back inside the cut. He eventually finished in 54th place for the week.
As always, we’re looking for arbitrage plays in this section. This week, we have Dustin Johnson ($52) above $50, and $5 clear of the field. You can’t make an argument that he doesn’t fit here or that he shouldn’t be considered, but what if you can’t afford him? Byeong Hun An ($37) pops up on his recent sim list this week. An is plenty long enough to compete at this track and outside of a recent missed cut, he compares very favorably to DJ.
If you’re looking at Rickie Fowler ($47), you also see An’s name pop up. The next name on the list is Jimmy Walker ($31) who’s interesting at a track like this. He hasn’t put it all together this year but he seems close. Walker’s gained strokes tee to green in each of his last eight events, making six cuts.
Gary Woodland ($46) is coming off of a win at the U.S. Open. It will be interesting to see how many people throw him in a lineup this week coming off of his first major. A cheaper option that makes sense to pivot to is Kevin Streelman ($32). We’ve been beating the Streelman drum a lot lately and it’s paid off. He’s made his last half dozen cuts, including four top-15 finishes. Streelman has gained strokes in every category for two straight events now and comes in with great form.
Image Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Rickie Fowler.
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