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. The fairways are tree-lined with a fair amount of bunkers. Water comes into play on four holes.
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. SG: Off the Tee or Total Driving – whichever you prefer – will be an important barometer for success here.
Checking the Chalk
Dustin Johnson ($12,000) is the most expensive golfer on the slate this week. DJ has gained strokes tee to green in 19 of his last 20 starts. Over that span, he’s finished in the top 10 a dozen times. He’s coming off of a 35th place effort at the U.S. Open. That sounds like a disappointing finish, and it is to a certain extent, until you realize that he lost over six strokes on the greens. By my count, that’s a bottom three performance for Johnson’s putter. He still gained strokes in bunches elsewhere on the course. This is one of the three weakest fields that we’ve seen in 2019 so far and DJ possesses a ton of win equity. The question is, how do you fit him in?
Last week’s winner Chez Reavie ($9,700) is in the field this week and coming off of his first win in over a decade. It’s tough to argue with his form as he played extremely well in the U.S. Open, finishing in third place. Over his past two starts, he’s gaining 11.5 strokes tee-to-green. That number is slightly higher than his average of 1.56 since that start of 2014. It isn’t just these past couple of weeks for Reavie, though. He’s played well across most of 2019 averaging two times as many strokes gained tee to green in 2019 than he had the previous five years.
Hideki Matsuyama ($10,200) has been up and down over the last couple of years. He’s flashed some of the upside that made him so appealing at the end of 2016. Matsuyama is the ultimate “if his putter gets hot…” guy and he’s gained strokes with the flatstick in four straight events now. He’s also gained strokes on approach in every start since the PGA Championship in 2018. I wrote up a model to assign DK prices to the field based on historical pricing and their model ranking. Matsuyama had the second highest price at over $11,200 so we’re getting over $1,000 of value for him this week.
The more I think about it, the more I like Billy Horschel ($9,000) this week. He’s made his last six cuts in a row and 22-of-23. During that time frame, he has 12 top-25 finishes. Over his last 23 starts, he’s hitting more greens, more fairways, and gaining more strokes tee to green than he has since the start of 2014. Horschel is 8th in the model this week with a projected salary of $9,600 but is significantly cheaper than that. Paying for him in this field makes a ton of sense.
Kevin Streelman ($8,600) has been excellent lately. He’s made his last half dozen cuts, including four Top 15 finishes. Streelman has gained strokes tee to green in all six of those events. He popped as a pivot from Brooks Koepka last week in the Yahoo article and paid off handsomely on both sites. My pricing model has him at $10,300 based on his form. Getting in position off the tee is vital here and he can do that in spades. Over his last 20 starts, he’s hit 68% of fairways.
Hank Lebioda ($6,900) is a low priced golfer that popped in the model. Based on his model results, he could be priced in the mid-$8,000s. Lebioda has made seven of eight cuts including a few finishes in the top 20. That might not jump off the page but he’s under $7,000 in the weakest field of the year. He’s averaging twice as many strokes tee to green over his past eight starts than he did in his first eight starts, per our Splits App.
Even with last week’s disastrous outing, Jason Kokrak ($8,300) is a value this week. His raw model score falls in the -1 to -0.5 range which has historically done well. Over 25% of golfers who enter a tournament in that group have finished in the top 20. After a few weeks off, he just didn’t have his short game. The 7.5 strokes he lost on the greens were the worst in his career and the four strokes he lost around the green was the fourth worst performance of his career in that category. We talked last week about a golfer’s second start back after a few week layoff. Now we just hope that people hold last week’s finish against Kokrak.
So far this season, the totals for the cash locks are 41/46 (89%) made cuts, 30/46 (65%) top 30s, and 14/46 (30%) top 10s. Here are this week’s cash locks:
- Hideki Matsuyama ($10,200)
- Billy Horschel ($9,000)
Ownership Projections and Model Results - Rocket Mortgage Classic
|Name||DK$||Second Run||Model Score|
|Byeong Hun An||7900||14.70||0.75|
|Charles Howell III||7800||7.58||0.78|
|Si Woo Kim||7400||7.16||0.69|
|Jose De Jesus Rodriguez||6200||0.08||0.65|
|Meen Whee Kim||6100||0.12||0.48|
|Billy Hurley III||6100||0.08||0.48|
|Ted Potter Jr||6000||0.19||0.42|
|David Berganio Jr||6000||0.14||0.35|
Image Credit: Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama.
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