2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic Round 3 Odds and Picks: Russell Henley, Scott Stallings Lead Tee to Green
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Pictured: Russell Henley.
The second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic led to the same two players at the top as Taylor Pendrith and Tony Finau have separated themselves from the pack through 36 holes. Pendrith holds a one-shot edge as the two pair up for the final tee time on Saturday. He is also three shots ahead of Lee Hodges, who is in third. Hodges has some separation of his own as he’s an additional two shots ahead of the rest of the field.
We seem to have seen this a lot lately where there is a bit of separation heading into the weekend, but it hasn’t always played out well for the leaders. Scott Piercy was the latest example last week and with some big names in the group five shots back, we have quite a few options as we look to find some buys and fades heading into Saturday.
Let’s see who stands out to make a run toward the top of the leaderboard going into Moving Day at Detroit Golf Club.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, SG: Ball-Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 3
I am regretting not getting to Russell Henley yesterday as he was a clear numbers play after losing more than two strokes to the field on the greens. He kept it going tee to green on Friday and gained with the putter on his way to a 7-under round of 65.
Henley gained in every metric tee to green and 5.2 in the category on the day, which was second best in the field and put him in the top spot for the week. He really didn’t peak with his putting either as he gained just .87 shots on the greens. I think he has more in him going into the weekend and he’s one of the guys bunched at 10-under and five shots back as we go into Round 3. I’ll admit +2000 feels a bit short for a guy who hasn’t won in five years, but I do like him to stay in the mix over the final two rounds.
The story for Scott Stallings is really similar to that of Henley as he lost more than three shots to the field on the greens in Round 1 and turned that around en route to a 7-under 65. He’s a player who has really found a groove with his game of late as he has three top-8 finishes in his past five tournaments, including consecutive results of that form. He’s in position to keep that trend going and at +4000 he presents some value from six shots back of the lead. I have some trouble seeing Stallings lifting a trophy, so I’ll probably focus more on the finish position markets, but with his game ranking second in SG: Tee-to-Green through two days, he certainly has staying power.
Brandon Wu is the player who looks best positioned for Saturday to do what Henley and Stallings did on Friday. He has lost strokes to the field with his putter each day and really bottomed out with more than two strokes lost on the greens in Round 2. Wu has been great tee to green with over six shots gained in that category and more than two and a half of those coming with his irons. He sits T26 and nine shots back of the lead, which brings some understandable longshot odds. That being said, I will focus in on a top-10 type of result as a potential ceiling this weekend.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 3
The first fade that sticks out on the numbers going into Round 3 is Stephan Jaeger. He is well behind in SG: Tee-to-Green compared to those around him on the leaderboard. Jaeger’s opening round saw him struggle off the tee and around the green, then on Friday he found issues with his iron play. It’s concerning to see all three aspects struggling and it really points to a player who is leaning heavily on his putter to keep him inside the top 10.
I started to consider Si Woo Kim on the buy side as he’s a multi-time winner and priced at the same odds as Stallings. The problem I found when I dug in further is that it wasn’t just one bad swing that led to his two shots lost on approach. Sure, the water ball on the 14th left him with 1.63 shots lost in that one swing, but he also had three more during that back nine that lost more than .4 strokes to the field. Something became amiss with his swing down the stretch on Friday and it has me wondering if he can fix it quick enough to stay in the hunt.
Chris Kirk has had some really good numbers around this course as he has two top-25 finishes to his name in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He’s in position for that type of result once again this week, but I am concerned about his play from Friday. He ended with a solid result, he shot a 3-under 69 in Round 2, but did it while losing strokes to the field tee to green. He lost strokes on approach in six of his final nine holes and it added up to nearly a full stroke lost with his irons on the back nine. His game seems to be going in the wrong direction heading into the weekend, which has me fading his prospects for another top-25 finish.