After three weeks of unusually strong fields, the Rocket Mortgage Classic represents a return to normalcy. Only seven of the top 30 players in the world are at Detroit Golf Club this week. In tournaments with weaker fields, we typically see more variance in results, so don’t be afraid to play some sleepers in your fantasy lineups. Heck, at this event last year, Nate Lashley won as an alternate and Doc Redman finished second as a Monday qualifier.
Detroit Golf Club is an old-school Midwestern country club. The par-72 Donald Ross design stretches just beyond 7,300 yards but plays fairly short. The course features four par 5s, meaning we should see plenty of birdies. (Lashley won at -25 last year.)
Similar Tour venues include Sedgefield Country Club and the Old White TPC at the Greenbrier. Like Detroit, these tree-lined courses call for precise irons and wedges. To contend at any of them, you need to be able to make birdies by the bunch.
Harold Varner III $7,600
Three weeks ago at Colonial, Varner got himself into contention. Now he looks primed to capture his first PGA Tour victory. He struck the ball well at the Travelers, gaining over seven strokes on approach. A subpar short-game performance, however, resulted in a T-32 finish. Varner now heads to a course that should feel similar to Sedgefield and the Greenbrier, where, in his past six starts, he has finished top 30 four times and top 10 twice.
Brian Stuard $7,400
A native of nearby Jackson, Michigan, Stuard has a bit of a home game this week. He finished fifth at the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic last year, and he comes into the event after three straight made cuts.
At 6/1, Bryson is the favorite this week. That’s no surprise: he has been playing brilliantly post-shutdown, finishing eighth or better in all three events. He is also top 20 in the field off the tee, on approach, on the greens, and in birdie rate.
Hovland has been crushing the ball en route to three consecutive top 25 finishes, but he just gotten the putter to cooperate. In the past three weeks, he has gained 22 strokes combined off the tee and on approach. A year ago at the Rocket Mortgage classic, he finished 13th.