Rocket Mortgage Classic DFS picks 2022: Why our expert is buying the Cameron Young hype
The penultimate event of the PGA Tour’s regular season has arrived. The Rocket Mortgage Classic has garnered a relatively strong field as players look to position themselves ahead of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Donald Ross’ Detroit Golf Club hosts this week as it has since the inception of this event in 2019. It’s one of the flattest courses on the PGA Tour schedule with little trouble lurking, a total contrast from last week’s 3M Open. With little penalty for errant drives, you’ll see many deploy the “bomb and gouge” method of play this week. That’s a style of golf that turned into victory for Cameron Davis last year and Bryson DeChambeau in 2020.
Golfers I'm Definitely Playing
Cameron Young ($10,100 DraftKings | $11,700 FanDuel)
If I could design the ideal golf course for Cameron Young’s game, it would look very close to Detroit Golf Club. His distance off the tee alone is going to be a huge boost this week, but he’s not your typical bomber. He’s gained strokes on approach in five of his past seven events and routinely gains strokes with his putter. That skill-set is so rare that he’s one of only four golfers in this field who have gained at least 10 yards of distance per round and gained strokes with their putter, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.
Cam Davis ($9,700 DraftKings | $11,100 FanDuel)
Davis is back to defend his title and it couldn’t come at a better time. He enters the week with three straight top-16 finishes. He gained a combined 30.79 strokes in the ball-striking categories over his past eight measured starts. Combine that with putting gains in seven of his past eight, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Taylor Pendrith ($7,500 DraftKings | $9,400 FanDuel)
He’s baaaack! Pendrith had been dealing with a fractured rib that kept him sidelined for four months. Since his return, he’s played twice—finishing T-13 at the Barbasol and T-11 at the Barracuda. His skill set is the blueprint for success at Detroit Golf Club: bomb it off the tee and get hot with the putter. It’s hard to not get excited about Pendrith’s chances this week.
Callum Tarren ($7,100 DraftKings | $8,800 FanDuel)
Tarren is another of the “rare” golfers who hits it far but also possesses touch both on and around the greens. That skill-set has earned him three top-22 finishes in his past three starts, including a T-7 last week at the 3M Open. This will be his first trip to Detroit Golf Club, but it should set up well for him.
Michael Thorbjornsen ($7,100 DraftKings | $9,300 FanDuel)
Admittedly, Thorbjornsen is a dart-throw. We have a very small sample to reflect on, but what he’s flashed is quite impressive. He’s long off the tee (see the trend here?) and could offer surprising upside. His fourth-place finish at the Travelers Championship was highlighted by 4.5 strokes gained off the tee and another 9.60 with the putter. It’s unlikely he putts that well again, but it shows that he’s capable of catching fire and making a run at the top of the leaderboard.
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Golfers I Might Play
Kevin Kisner ($9,100 DraftKings | $10,700 FanDuel)
Kevin C. Cox
Detroit Golf Club certainly benefits those with distance off the tee, but it doesn’t require it. Simply, the course isn’t long enough to box out the shorter hitters. Kisner is finding his stride, snapping a four cut streak with a T-6 at the Travelers and a T-21 at the Open Championship. In his three trips to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, he’s never missed the cut while finishing third in 2020 and T-8 last year.
Scott Stallings ($7,700 DraftKings | $9,500 FanDuel)
Stallings should find positive vibes at Detroit Golf Club, where he’s never missed a cut and has improved in finishes each year—culminating with a T-25 last year. Recently he’s shown the “boom or bust” mentality, missing three of his past six cuts, but he’s posted top-eight finishes in the other three.
Patrick Rodgers ($7,100 DraftKings | $8,900 FanDuel)
Rodgers really only has two strengths—driving and putting. Luckily for him, that’s the recipe for success at Detroit Golf Club. He’s 33rd on tour in driving distance and 18th in strokes gained/putting. He’s made the cut in both trips to this event and has found the weekend in eight of his past 10 starts.
Troy Merritt ($7,600 DraftKings | $9,700 FanDuel)
Merritt is a high-risk, high-reward option in this price range. Over his 11 starts, he’s gained as many as 9.8 strokes putting and lost as many as 5.5 in the same category. Luckily, he seems to like the putting surfaces in Detroit, where he’s gained a total of 12.58 strokes in his past two starts. Those performances resulted in a T-8 and T-2 finish.
Webb Simpson ($8,300 DraftKings | $11,300 FanDuel)
“Vintage Webb” would be a lock to contend in Detroit. When he’s at his best, he’s stout from fairway through green and can offer some legitimate win equity. The current version of Webb is not as appealing, missing the cut in his past two starts. The optimist would reveal that those missed cuts were both on the number, and he has also earned three top-27 finishes in his past six events. This appears to be a decent spot to take a chance on Simpson.
Golfers I'm Fading
Gary Woodland ($8,100 DraftKings | $9,900 FanDuel)
Statistically, Woodland is a shell of his former self. He’s been fine, but nowhere near the elite ball-striker that we all remember. He’s much more reliant on his putter now, which is concerning when you go to a course where finding a hot putter is likely required. He’s failed to make the weekend in five of his past nine starts, and I think there will be better spots on the schedule for him.
Adam Scott ($9,300 DraftKings | $11,000 FanDuel)
It feels like Scott’s price is being boosted by name value and not necessarily his chances of winning this week. He’s coming off two strong major performances, but his metrics are a bit concerning. He doesn’t really have a strength in his game right now, and he doesn’t really have a hole either. He appears to be struggling with consistency, something that is always a red flag.
Adam Hadwin ($8,400 DraftKings | $10,500 FanDuel)
Jared C. Tilton
When I think of Adam Hadwin, I generally consider him to be a great putter. However, I’m not really sure that’s true anymore. He’s ranked outside the top 60 in SG/putting this season and outside of the 5.21 strokes he gained at the U.S. Open, he hasn’t been that solid. He’s actually lost 5.1 strokes with the flatstick in his most recent eight non-U.S. Open starts.
Cameron Tringale ($8,500 DraftKings | $10,200 FanDuel)
Tringale is capable of getting hot for a round or two at the time, but he’s yet to put four rounds together culminating in a PGA Tour victory. With only a 21.88 percent birdie rate this season, I worry about his ability to make enough birdies to contend this week—and he’s being priced in a section of the board where some of his peers are more appealing.
Danny Willett ($7,100 DraftKings | $8,700 FanDuel)
I’m not going to read too much into the T-7 from last week, where Willett gained 5.33 strokes putting and actually lost strokes on approach. That was his first top 25 on the PGA Tour since the Masters, and he’s failed to make the cut in four of his past seven starts. With a decent record at Detroit Golf Club, many might find Willett to be sneaky … but I feel like he’s a trap.
Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.