Rocket Mortgage Classic First-Round Leader Odds, Picks: Cameron Champ, James Hahn Among 5 Best Bets
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Champ.
The PGA TOUR heads to Detroit Golf Club this week to play the fourth edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
The field is a bit better than last week, as the additions of Patrick Cantlay, Will Zalatoris, Max Homa and Adam Scott help make the odds a bit more palatable.
In the first three renewals of the event at Detroit Golf Club, there have been five first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the five, four of the first-round leaders or co-leaders have teed off in the morning. This would suggest that there’s probably an edge for the earlier tee times.
When building a first-round leader card, it’s always important to keep an eye on the weather. The wind can always change, but as of Tuesday evening, it appears there may be a slight draw bias in favor of the morning starters.
The wind will be mostly dormant in the morning, although the conditions look to be scoreable in the afternoon as well.
Thus, I’ve decided to select five longshots as my first-round leader selections with three coming from the morning wave and two coming from the afternoon wave.
2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic First-Round Leader Bets
Cameron Champ +7000 (DraftKings)
Last week at the 3M Open, Cameron Champ played his final three rounds at 11-under par and finally showed some of the form he’s been missing for most of the 2022 season.
Champ is a very streaky player and usually starts to show he’s playing well before he gets into contention at an event. The Friday through Sunday of last week could be Champ’s way of letting the golf world know he’s ready to contend once again in Detroit.
While not a great putter overall, the 27-year-old can get insanely hot on the greens.
His ceiling with the putter, combined with his ability to overpower this golf course with his distance off the tee, makes him a prime candidate to shoot the low round on Thursday.
Round 1 Tee Time: 7:40 a.m.* ET
James Hahn +9000 (DraftKings)
As most of the contenders at the 3M Open saw themselves freefall down the leaderboard on Sunday, James Hahn did the opposite. The veteran fired a final-round 65 — the low round of the day — to vault himself into a share of fourth place.
For the week, Hahn gained 6.3 strokes on approach, which was the fourth-best performance of his career in that category. He’s a good driver of the golf ball who prefers to putt on Bentgrass greens.
Additionally, he has done his best work in easy playing conditions throughout his career. Hahn is getting hot at the right time and has a chance to get off to a flying start in Detroit.
Having the first tee time of the day certainly doesn’t hurt his chances either.
Round 1 Tee Time: 6:45* a.m. ET
Brandon Wu +10000 (DraftKings)
Despite a poor finish to narrowly miss the cut at the Open Championship, Brandon Wu has been playing some excellent golf of late.
The Stanford product had an impressive performance in one of the best fields of the year at the Genesis Scottish Open, where he finished in a share of sixth place. Two 67s on a course where most of the field struggled mightily speaks to the talent Wu has and what he’s capable of.
The ability to gain strokes off the tee is one of the most important factors at Detroit Golf Club. Driving is an area in which the 25-year-old thrives, as he’s gained strokes off the tee in six of his past seven starts.
Wu has some exceedingly low rounds on his scorecards in 2022 including a 65 at the John Deere Classic and a 63 at the Mexico Open.
Round 1 Tee Time: 12:10 p.m. ET
Chesson Hadley +11000 (DraftKings)
Chesson Hadley is a golfer I’m downright excited about being able to bet in the triple digits of the first-round leader market this week.
He’s a very streaky player who is clearly in the midst of a serious heater. Hadley has three top-10 finishes in his past four starts and is getting it done in a variety of ways.
For starters, the 35-year-old is putting extremely well right now and has gained an average of 3.8 strokes putting on the field per event in his past four outings.
Additionally, he’s gained strokes on approach in five of his past six starts and gained a solid 3.3 strokes in that department at last week’s 3M Open.
Hadley played very well last season around this time in an attempt to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He currently sits at 130th in the standings and will be extremely motivated to vault himself up the standings once again.
Round 1 Tee Time: 12:32 p.m. ET
Roger Sloan +18000 (DraftKings)
Roger Sloan is a massive longshot in this market, and for good reason. He’s struggled mightily for all of 2022 and most of 2021.
However, he’s shown that when he does play well, it tends to be on Donald Ross-designed tracks.
Last season, Sloan shot an opening round 65 at Detroit Golf Club, which was good for a tie for second on the leaderboard after Round 1. About a month later, the Canadian lost in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship, which is another Ross design. He also finished 31st at the Wyndham Championship in 2021 and 21st at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2019.
Sloan has managed to play some of his best golf on Ross tracks despite his poor form leading into most of those performances. Therefore, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him start the week strong in Detroit.
Round 1 Tee Time: 8:24 a.m. ET
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