2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic Sleeper Picks: The Best Longshot Bets at Detroit Golf Club
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Byeong-hun An
And just like that, we’re heading towards the stretch run of the 2020/21 PGA TOUR season.
This is just the third-ever Rocket Mortgage Classic and the two previous winners couldn’t have been more different. Last year’s winner, Bryson DeChambeau, was the pre-tournament favorite. But two years ago it was Nate Lashley, an alternate entry who didn’t even have pre-tournament odds, who lifted the trophy in Motor City.
What we’re trying to say is, this tournament is going to be pretty tough to forecast. That won’t stop us, though.
Here are our favorite sleeper picks for the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Patrick Rodgers (+16000)
In the top-30 on the list of driving distance leaders this season, I expect that length to help him this week. For a much-heralded former phenom who finished runner-up to Charles Howell III in a playoff three years ago, it might take a big week against a lesser field to propel him back into the public consciousness.
Sepp Straka (+8000)
Sepp Straka has finished eighth and 11th in his two starts here and was 10th last week at the Travelers where he finished fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach. I was hoping for a bigger number since he had struggled a little prior to last week. But 80/1 is enough to get me to bite.
Brandt Snedeker (+8500)
If I am adding any names to my card this week beyond Bryson, it will be with longshot types that may be able to find the magic this week. Brandt Snedeker fits that bill as he will also benefit from wide fairways, and the short nature of this course will put wedge in his hand on approach. He is one of the best players in the field on approaches inside of 150 yards, which will be a common occurrence during this tournament.
Sneds has had mixed results in his two starts at DGC, following his top-5 finish in 2019 with a missed cut last year. The one area that he was consistent between the two tournaments was gaining strokes on the greens as he’s gained 9.5 strokes on the field at Detroit Golf Club across six rounds.
All of these factors combine to make the Vanderbilt alum an attractive option at these extended odds.
Byeong-hun An (+16000)
First of all: Yes, I’m serious.
Although he is coming off of a missed cut and has only one top-10 in the past year, there are reasons to believe in Byeong-hun An this week. Despite the missed cut at The Travelers, his statistics were actually impressive. An gained strokes both off of the tee and on approach for the second consecutive week; which is the first time he has done that since October of 2020.
While the stats are decent, the main reason I am intrigued with An this week is his history on Donald Ross tracks. At the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic, Benny finished 13th when he was also coming off of a missed cut in the week prior at The Travelers. An also has some success at Sedgefield Country Club, which is another Donald Ross design and home of the Wyndham Championship. In his most recent start at Sedgefield (2019), he finished in third.
It’s most certainly a longshot, but there is reason to believe Benny An could contend at Detroit Golf Club this week.
Cameron Tringale (+4500)
Not sure Tringale can be classified as a sleeper at 45/1, but it does seem like he’s going overlooked a little this week. He’s one of 18 players to make the cut at this event in both year’s it’s been held and posted strong finishes (T-30, T-5) both times. His game has been a little up and down of late, but he gains on average 1.6 strokes per round tee-to-green on the field at Detroit Golf Club.
He’s also a slightly better putter on poa, which is what’s featured this week. Tringale has been in contention on multiple occasions this season and has four top-10s to show for it. He’s still searching for that elusive first PGA TOUR victory, and the way he’s been playing there’s no reason to think it can’t come at a track he clearly enjoys quite a bit.