PGA Tour Rocket Mortgage Classic best pre-tournament bets
The PGA Tour scraped its way through June, with three mostly successful tournaments marking golf’s comeback from a three-month coronavirus hiatus. There were concerns of another abrupt halt to the sport when an emergency press conference was called prior to last week’s Travelers Championship in the wake of several positive coronavirus tests, but that presser simply addressed safety measures. The tour pressed on, and now it moves into July with the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, Mich.
With many players taking a break following three straight weeks of competition, Bryson DeChambeau is a clear-cut favorite in Detroit. However, he could be challenged by the likes of Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Tony Finau, and Hideki Matsuyama.
Let’s take a look at three of the best pre-tournament bets to make heading into round one on Thursday. Be sure to check out our golf expert picks, as well, for our outright winner choice and daily predictions.
Viktor Hovland to finish in the top 20 (+100)
Hovland is not taking a break, and why should he? At 22 years old, the Norwegian has no problem playing every week and his first three starts of golf’s summer return have him soaring into this event with plenty of momentum. Hovland has been getting incrementally better and better, too, with a T23 showing at the Charles Schwab Challenger, and T21 at the RBC Heritage, and a T11 at the Travelers Championship. The 2018 U.S. Amateur champion is a total of 35-under par through three tournaments, better than everyone except DeChambeau and Abraham Ancer. Hovland was T13 at the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic last season and finished fourth at the 2019 Wyndham Championship—further indicating that he can get around Donald Ross-designed courses.
Brandt Snedeker to make the cut (-225)
Snedeker and Hovland are Steve Palmer’s favorite picks this week over at Racing Post. And he probably isn’t wrong. Snedeker also improved at the Travelers Championship, bouncing back from a missed cut at the RBC Heritage to place T41. Sure that is hardly spectacular, but the former Vanderbilt standout at least showed that he shook off the rust that had been on display in Hilton Head. Snedeker opened with three rounds in the 60s last week and he closed with three such rounds at the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic. A 17-under score was good for fifth place—only two shots out of second (Nate Lashley dominated the field at 25-under par). Snedeker should be a lock to make the cut again…and he could do a whole lot better than that.
Bryson DeChambeau to win his first-round pairing (+145)
DeChambeau is part of a marquee pairing with Reed and Matsuyama. Advantage: DeChambeau. The 26-year-old American has been positively bashing the golf ball of late thanks to his bulked-up frame and it has resulted top-8 results the past three weeks. In fact, his streak of top-8 finishes now stands at six dating back to mid-February. Reed is coming off a missed cut at the RBC Heritage and a T24 performance at the Travelers Championship. Matsuyama made only one appearance in June and missed the cut at Harbour Town. Against two fellow top-six title favorites this week, count on DeChambeau making an early statement on day one.