2023 Rocket Mortgage Classic Dark Horse Picks: Rickie Fowler, Cameron Champ & Sepp Straka
Via Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Rickie Fowler of the United States watches his second shot on the tenth hole during the final round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 25, 2023 in Cromwell, Connecticut.
For what felt like the 10th straight tournament, we had two golfers in contention over the weekend, but neither could cross the finish line on top at the Travelers Championship. While it would be nice to hit another outright winner soon, all we can really ask for when betting golf is to have a sweat on Sunday. We have certainly had plenty of golfers in the mix recently, so let's continue that trend at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
This will be the fifth renewal of this event, and three of the first four winners finished at least 20 strokes under par. With technology getting better each year and talent continuing to grow on the PGA Tour, we can expect another birdie-fest this week in Detroit. There has been rain leading up to the event, which has softened the course enough that a few golfers have suggested that the winning score could end up being 30-under par. This week's course is essentially the Coors Field of the PGA Tour.
Detroit Golf Club is a par-72 that measures 7,370 yards. We've seen a lot of bombers perform well here in the past, and that's because golfers can hit as many drivers as they like without much penalty. The fairways are wide, the rough is playable, and there is only a single water hazard on the course. Distance isn't a prerequisite for success, but it certainly doesn't hurt on this course, especially if the conditions are as soft as they have been in practice rounds leading up to the event.
The greens here are relatively small (5,150 square feet on average) and feature a mix of Bentgrass and Poa Annua. Despite the small size, golfers have peppered these greens in regulation over the years. Approach play is always important, but I'm not too worried about scrambling and around the green metrics. If golfers are constantly missing greens in a birdie-fest, they aren't going to be in contention anyway.
Rocket Mortgage Classic Outright Bets
Rickie Fowler +1400 (FanDuel)
Many have scoffed at the idea of betting Rickie Fowler at +1400, but I've been waiting for this week for a long time. Fowler has had a similar season to Jason Day in many aspects. The difference is that Day played in a non-designated event (AT&T Byron Nelson) and picked up his first win since 2018.
This is the first weak field Fowler has played in this year, and I like his chances to contend this weekend. He's first in this field in Strokes Gained: Total over the last 24, 36 and 50 rounds. He doesn't have a weakness in his game and is one of the best putters on Tour, which always comes in handy at birdie-fests.
He's the best golfer in the field at the moment, and +1400 isn't too steep for that.
Sepp Straka +6000 (PointsBet)
Sepp Straka isn't a golfer who finds his way onto my betting card often, but his game really sets up well for Detroit Golf Club. He's long and straight off the tee, he can get red-hot with his irons, and he has gained strokes putting in four of his last five starts.
He's not a great scrambler, but that's not nearly as much of a concern this week. He's rattled off three top-30 finishes in his last five starts and has two top-11 finishes at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in his career.
Cameron Champ +15000 (BetMGM)
I usually don't bet golfers who have missed eight of their last 11 cuts, but I'm willing to make an exception for Cameron Champ. He's one of the longest hitters in the field, and despite the poor form, he has gained eight strokes on approach over his last six events.
He's not a good putter by any means, but he has the ability to spike with the flatstick. He's won three times on Tour, and they have all been in birdie-fests. He's also a golfer who tends to play the same courses well each year, and he has two top-20 finishes at this event. I'll take a sprinkle on the outright and add a top-20 bet on Champ as well.
Best of luck this week. Like Rickie, let's hope to get back in the winner's circle.