2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic Top Picks: Buy Bryson DeChambeau to Repeat at Detroit Golf Club
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryson DeChambeau.
The Travelers Championship seemingly never wanted to end on Sunday evening as Harris English and Kramer Hickok battled it out through an eight-hole playoff at TPC River Highlands. English would finally put it away with a 17-foot birdie putt to capture his second win of the season.
It was a really interesting tournament throughout the week as many big names flashed near the top of the leaderboard but ultimately couldn’t hang on down the stretch. Bubba Watson was the biggest name of the bunch that really had a chance to win, however, he gave away that opportunity when he went six-over in his final five holes. Marc Leishman, Brooks Koepka and Abraham Ancer were also in the mix, but in the end it was English and Hickok at 13-under on the week.
They traded pars, at times dramatically, through the first seven playoff holes, before English put it away as they played the 18th hole for the sixth time. Now, the TOUR heads west from Connecticut to Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Bryson DeChambeau will return to defend his title after the epic duel he played with Matthew Wolff on the course in 2020. He will be joined by a number of players looking to carry positive momentum from their week at The Travelers into the next event. Let’s see who stands out for our early buys heading into the week.
3 Buys for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
This event last year was when we saw the new Bryson DeChambeau break through for his first win. He simply overpowered the course at Detroit Golf Club and paired it with a hot putter to ultimately beat Wolff by three shots. We have seen Bryson get his name in the mix in each of the last two weeks, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a repeat this week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Bryson won this tournament last year despite losing strokes to the field on approach, so when I see him gain nearly a full stroke on the field at The Travelers, it has me eyeing the big man this week.
He put one really great round together on Friday when he gained more than three-and-a-half strokes ball-striking, with 2.23 of those coming with his irons. His iron and wedge play often drive his success because he is almost always going to gain a bunch of strokes off the tee and is very consistent on the greens as well. DeChambeau clearly had a great plan for this course in 2020, and he’s showing the form that makes him a pretty clear favorite in what appears to be a fairly weak field.
I was encouraged last week by the finish of Patrick Reed at the U.S. Open, and he really carried that play into the week in Connecticut. He just wasn’t able to make enough putts at The Travelers to ever really contend over the weekend. It is still a great sign for the former Masters Champion that he still gained nearly two strokes per round tee to green, gaining strokes in all three metrics.
Reed has become one of the best short-game players in golf to the point where I genuinely expect him to contend anytime he shows signs of the ball-striking being in form. He has certainly done that over the past two weeks, which leads me to believe we aren’t far from him being in position for a win in the coming weeks. He’s an easy early-week buy for me based on his form and the fact he had a Top 5 on this course in 2019. I’ll look past his missed cut at the event last year as I expect he will contend this week in Detroit.
It was an up and down week for Brendon Todd at The Travelers as he really started well on Thursday and had a great day tee to green on Saturday. The rounds in between weren’t enough to get him anything but a Top-30 finish, but he showed signs of putting the game together again.
Todd finished the week gaining strokes on the field in every tee to green category, including a stroke per round on approach. While it doesn’t seem that he would be a fit on any course where DeChambeau has won, we have seen both of these player types find success at Detroit Golf Club. I’ll keep my eye on Brendon going into the week as I don’t expect his short game to stay down for long, and it’s a great sign to see his ball striking bounce back.
The Travelers Final Strokes Gained Data (avg/rd)
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