Horses for Courses: Rocket Mortgage Classic

Even though it’s only the third edition there are plenty of clues to guide us this week.

Detroit Golf Club is very generous in handing out birdies and it will take another boatload to win this year.

The four July events on TOUR commence Fourth of July weekend as Detroit Golf Club
hosts the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Rock and roll is in the DNA of Detroit and this edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic shouldn’t be any different. After crowning the inaugural champion on 25-under two seasons ago, another 23-under was needed last year to take home the title. Nothing like a shootout on the course and fireworks in the sky to celebrate the holiday weekend!

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The Donald Ross Composite course features 17 holes from the North Course and 1 hole from the South Course. With a new tee box added on No. 12, the Par-72 will now stretch an additional 30 yards to 7,370. Rain has inundated the Midwest in the last few weeks and Detroit was not spared and the soaking won’t shrink this track. June has collected over eight inches so any thoughts about firm and fast this week have gone out the window.

With 30 acres of fairway, there’s plenty of room to swing driver to attack off the tee. Even though 87 bunkers are lurking, there’s only one water hazard in play on one hole so giving it a rip is the strategy this week. No wonder why 24-under is the average winning total!

For the third consecutive week Bent/Poa greens that average around 5,100 square feet will be the challenge. With plenty of moisture recently flag hunting will be en vogue and putts should be rolling true.

The first two Rocket Mortgage Classics have given up the second most birdies on TOUR each season. Only TPC Twin Cities provided more circles on the scorecards in 2019, and TPC Summerlin the most in 2020.

The formula this week is simple: It’s a shootout so get after it and go low! The Par-5 holes will provide relief but both previous winners have also led the field in Par-4 scoring.  Fans will be back in attendance after a quiet, fan-less 2020 so there should be plenty of noise to accompany those birdies and eagles.

On the line this week is a $7.5 million prize pool with $1.35 million to the winner plus 500 FedExCup points. Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau leads the field of 156 as Detroit Golf Club hosts for the third consecutive year.

Recent Event Winners Stats

Bryson DeChambeauNate Lashley
To Par-23-25
MOV3 (Wolff)6 (Redman)
Disantance – All Drives1T53
Driving AccuarcyT58T11
Putting: Birdie or Better %23
SG: Off-the-Tee1T29
SG: Approach-the-Green516
SG: Around-the-Green2613
SG: Putting12
SG: Tee-to-Green43
Bogey AvoidanceT133
Par-3 ScoringT55T28
Par-4 Scoring11
Par-5 ScoringT2T5 

Recent Winners

2020: Bryson DeChambeau (-23, 265)

Closed with 65, low round of the day, to win by three shots from the final group. … Trailed by three after 54 holes on 16-under. … First player ever to lead the field Strokes-Gained: Off the Tee and Strokes-Gained: Putting in the same week. … Led the field in Driving Distance. … Tied dead last (T70) in proximity. … Circled 27 birdies and one eagle and did NOT lead the field in Par-Breakers. … 6th TOUR win in 104th start. … Seventh consecutive top 10 on TOUR. … Wins in his first appearance at DGC.

Notables in the field this week:

54-hole leader Matthew Wolff (2nd) made 31 Par-Breakers (30 birdies, 1 eagle) and lost by three. … Kevin Kisner (3rd) signed for bookend bogey-free rounds of 65 and 66. … Ryan Armour (T4) finished T19 or better in Fairways, Greens and Putting. … Adam Hadwin (T4) closed eagle-birdie to move from T21 inside the top 5. … Danny Willett (T4) only squared five bogeys for the week. … Maverick McNealy (T8) only made three bogeys over the final 54 holes. … Troy Merritt (T8) waited until Sunday to make his only bogey (and double) on the week. … Webb Simpson (T8) shared the 36-hole lead before closing 71-70. … Sepp Straka (T8) backed up his T11 from 2019 even though he lost strokes putting on the weekend. … 2019 runner up Doc Redman (T21) and Scott Stallings (T39) shared the 18-hole lead with Kisner. … Chris Kirk (T21) played in the final group with Simpson on Saturday afternoon after matching 12-under after 36 holes. … Kirk was the ONLY PLAYER in the top 29 to sign for an OVER PAR round. … Top 52 players 10-under or better. … 39 bogey-free rounds. Cut was 5-UNDER par. … Course ranked No. 38 of 41 used on TOUR last year as it played to 70.051.

2019 – Nate Lashley (-25, 263)

Inaugural champion went wire-to-wire. … Won by six after leading by six after 54 holes. … 36 hole leader by one on 14-under. … Posted the tournament record, 63, TWICE, including Rounds 1 and 3. … Set the 54-hole record of 23-under. … Circled 28 birdies and 1 eagle against only three bogeys. … Circled nine birdies in Rounds 1 and 3, a career best. … Played the Par-4 holes 14-under. … First win on TOUR in 33rd start. … Last man into the field as THIRD ALTERNATE. … Tried to Monday qualify. … Cashed in four of his previous five starts including T28 at 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach.

Notables in the field this week:

Doc Redman (2nd) followed his Monday Qualifying medalist performance with his best TOUR finish. … Rory Sabbatini (T3) led the field in Fairways (45/54). … Joaquin Niemann (T5) was T5 Fairways and T2 GIR. … Ted Potter, Jr., (T5) only made two bogeys all week. … Patrick Reed (T5) made half of his eight bogeys in the final round but was T3 Par-Breakers (24). … Brandt Snedeker (T5) T3 Total Putts. … Only Lashley made more birdies (28) than Michigan native Brian Stuard (T5) and his 26 circles. … Cameron Tringale (T5) T2 GIR and T5 Fairways but needed 119 putts. … Ryan Armour (T46) and Nick Watney (T46) opened with 64s, one behind Lashley. … Cameron Champ (T46) opened 66-65 and played in the final group with Lashley on Saturday. … Top 44 players 10-under or better. … There were 3 rounds OVER PAR in the top 34. … Cut was 5-UNDER. … Course ranked 42nd of 49 used on TOUR. … 70.113 average.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

Par-5 Scoring
4Bryson Dechambeau
6Webb Simpson
9Will Zalatoris
11Max Homa
13Jason Kokrak
18Brandt Snedeker
18Keegan Bradley
18Joaquin Niemann
18Hideki Matsuyama
23 Danny Willett
23Brendon Todd
23Luke List
28Anirban Lahiri
28Ryan Brehm
28Patrick Reed
38Vince Whaley
38Matt NeSmith
38Sebastian Munoz
38Patton Kizzire
43Cameron Tringale
43Sungjae Im
43Alex Noren
43Patrick Rodgers
43Charles Howell III
43Hank Lebioda
43Sepp Straka
43Ben Martin
Strokes-Gained: Putting
2Jason Kokrak
3Chesson Hadley
4Brendon Todd
8Patrick Reed
10Brice Garnett
11Kris Ventura
14Kevin Kisner
15Rhein Gibson
17Patton Kizzire
19Ben Taylor
20Webb Simpson
21Denny McCarthy
22Hunter Mahan
25Cameron Tringale
27Austin Cook
29Matt Jones
30Bryson DeChambeau
32Joaquin Niemann
33Adam Hadwin
35Andrew Putnam
36Mackenzie Hughes
37Ryan Armour
38Lanto Griffin
39Alex Noren
39Sungjae Im
Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage
1Patrick Reed
10Bryson DeChambeau
12Max Homa
13Cam Davis
13Anirban Lahiri
17Peter Malnati
18Harry Higgs
19Matthew Wolff
20Jason Kokrak
25Danny Willett
28Cameron Tringale
29Sebastian Munoz
30Charley Hoffman
31Webb Simpson
32Tom Hoge
33Joaquin Niemann
34Rory Sabbatini
35Patton Kizzire
39Joel Dahmen

Horses for Courses

Top golfers over the last two Rocket Mortage Classics entered this week and other exceptions

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10sTop 25Most
Bryson DeChambeau (1/1)11Win (2020)Last round (65) was the best of the week 
Matthew Wolff (1/2)112nd (2020)MC 2019; 31 Par-Breakers; shot 64 twice
Kevin Kisner (2/2)113rd (2020)T49 2019; 66 or better in 3 of 8 rounds
Ryan Armour (2/2)11T4 (2020)T46 2019; 25-under aggregate
Adam Hadwin (1/1)11T4 (2020)All 4 rounds in the 60s
Danny Willett (1/1)11T4 (2020)Every round was better
Sepp Straka (2/2)12T8 (2020)68 or better in 6 of 8 rounds; T11 2019
Maverick McNealy (1/1)11T8 (2020)Final round 66 best of the week
Troy Merritt (1/2)11T8 (2020)68 or better in 3 of 6 rounds; MC 2019
Webb Simpson (1/1)11T8 (2020)Shared 36 hole lead
Nate Lashley (1/2)11Win (2019)MC 2020; Posted 63 twice 
Doc Redman (2/2)122nd (2019)46 Par-Breakers in 2 events
Rory Sabbatini (1/2)11T3 (2019)MC 2020
Cameron Tringale (2/2)11T5 (2019)T30 2020; 29-under with 5 of 8 rounds 68 or better
Brian Stuard (2/2)11T5 (2019)T30 2020; 6 of 8 rounds 68 or better
Ted Potter, Jr (2/2)11T5 (2019)Of 8 rounds 7 are in the 60s
Joaquin Niemann (1/1)11T5 (2019)All 4 rounds 60s
Patrick Reed (1/2)11T5 (2019)MC 2020; all 6 rounds Par or better
Brandt Snedeker (1/2)11T5 (2019)MC 2020
Other NotablesTop 10sTop 25Most RecentOthers/Notes
Hideki Matsuyama (2/2)02T21 (2020)T13 2019; 28-under aggregate
JJ Spaun (2/2)01T30 (2020)T13 2019; 66 or better 3 of 8 rounds
Cameron Champ (2/2)01T12 (2020)T46 2019 after sitting 1 back of 26 hole lead; All 4 rounds 60s last year

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