Last year marked the first staging of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The tournament replaced the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour schedule.
The host course for the Rocket Mortgage Classic is the North Course at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit Golf Club was founded in 1899 by William R. Farrand as an exclusive private golf club. Bert Way designed the original 6 hole course and the layout gradually increased to 9 holes in 1900.
In 1906 the club was formally opened and in 1913 some additional property was bought. Donald Ross was retained to survey, design and build two courses on the property which became the North and South Courses.
At just over 7,000 yards from the back sticks, the North Course is the longer of the two layouts. However, with rerouting and the construction of several new tee boxes, the course plays as a 7,300+ yard Par 72 for the tournament.
As part of the rerouting and in an effort to lengthen and toughen the course, the first hole from the South Course will play as the third hole in this week’s event.
The North Course features narrow, tree-lined fairways which makes club selection from the tee box an important part of play. Also, several holes are doglegged requiring an ability to shape the ball both ways.
The North Course, on the face of it, will demand precision and reward ball-strikers. A variety of approach shots will be required to find the tricky green complexes. The greens on the North Course are classic Donald Ross, small, heavily contoured and raised. If the putting surface is missed then scrambling will be challenging.
Scoring levels this week will ultimately be dictated by how penal the fairway rough will be and more importantly how slick and fast the undulating greens will play.
Last year, Nate Lashley captured the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic in a birdie-fest. The golfing Gods were smiling on Lashley as he was the last man in the field as the third alternate. He embraced his good fortune with a first round 63 and went on to lead wire-to-wire.
He closed with a final round -2 (70) to finish on a total -25 (263) for the tournament. The Top 20 players finished on -14 or better for the week.
“I was just happy to get in this week, and to end up winning is just a dream come true”Nate Lashley
With only last year’s tournament to go on it is hard to find an angle in. The relative ‘unfamiliarity-factor’ will test all aspects of a player’s game. With unfamiliar greens serving as targets, players hitting full shots while being in tune with distance and accuracy will prosper.
Going on last year’s result, players will need to drain their fair share of putts and a fast start is key.
Expect players in the mix to have a healthy percentage of greens in regulation with first class putting and a low scoring average on the stock Par 5s
Rocket Mortgage Classic Betting Tips
Kevin Na 33/1 (E/W) – first look at the North Course at Detroit Golf Club for the South Korean born American. Easy to forget that he is already a winner this season at the ‘birdie-fest’ Shriners Hospitals Open. A solo 5th in last week’s Travelers Championship puts him firmly on this week’s radar. Around TPC River Highlands he was 24th in SG:Tee-To-Green and 6th in SG:Putting. A solid all-round game puts him inside the Top 10 in this week’s Stats Analysis. Strong putting a plus on unfamiliar greens. Game looks dialed-in based on stats and last week.
Doc Redman 45/1 (E/W) – teed it up at last year’s inaugural playing of the Rocket Mortgage Classic placing solo 2nd on a score of -19 (269). Finished the week in Detroit 10th in SG:Tee-To-Green and 11th in SG:Putting. Backed up a T21 at the RBC Heritage with a T11 in last week’s Travelers Championship. Despite weak putting stats he still manages to feature inside the Top 30 in this week’s Stats Analysis, If the flat-stick comes to the party this week then he will be one of the main protagonists. Will feed off the positivity from last year’s result and from his form of late.