The PGA Tour heads from one birdie fest to another at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, held at Detroit Golf Club. Even though the field is weaker than last week at Travelers, I expect a winning score easily north of 20-under as this par-72 layout will feature soft conditions and four par fives where players will feast. The formula for this week is simple: Drive it long, wedge it close, and catch a hot putter. Sound overly simplistic? Well, it really is that simple. Nate Lashley won in 2019 with elite wedge work. Cam Davis, Bryson DeChambeau, and Tony Finau won with elite power and above-average wedge play and putting.
Let’s take a look at three players that can win this week:
Rickie Fowler $10,400
Yes, I know it feels weird playing Fowler at this price point after a tumultuous last few years, but Rickie is back and better than ever. He has only missed one cut in 2023 and has finished 17th or better in nine of his last 10 events. Many of those results came in events with much better fields than this week in Detroit. He is number one in my data model this week as he is above average off the tee and is top six in approach, putting, and birdie rate. All signs point to Rickie finally breaking through with his first victory of 2023.
Chris Kirk $8,500
Chris Kirk has been very quiet over the last month, missing his last three cuts. This is why we are getting such a cheap price in a weak field for a player who has three top-three finishes, including a win, already in 2023. Kirk’s game is a great fit for this week (similar to Lashley in 2019). He is an elite wedge player, leading the field in approach inside 125 yards. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he has finished 21st or better in all three previous starts at this event. Kirk makes for a great mid-tier value play with the upside for another high finish.
Gordon Sargent $7,500
Sargent is going to be a very popular play this week. He has all the talent in the world, most prominent being the elite distance off the tee. We have four par 5s this week and most holes he will be able to bomb away with the driver. This is the perfect setup for Sargent as we have seen other bombers like Cam Davis and Bryson break through for victory at this course.