Rocket Mortgage Classic 2022 picks, predictions & best bets from golf expert Diane Knox Balas
Well, last week was a terrible one for all of my picks — I’ll be the first to hold my hands up! We did have Callum Tarren finishing in the top 10, but that was the only bright spark in my otherwise dismal week. That’s the frustration surrounding golf betting!
But the PGA Tour continues to roll towards the FedExCup Playoffs, and this week we’re off to Motor City for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Detroit Golf Club hosts the penultimate event before the top 125 lock up their PGA Tour cards and progress to the first round of the playoffs, so it’s an important week for many. We’re also greeted by a great field, with a lot of big names back in action following their transatlantic trip to the British Open in Scotland.
Patrick Cantlay, 3M Open winner Tony Finau, Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris and Max Homa are the headline names, with past champions Cam Davis and Nate Lashley looking to repeat history.
Similar to the 3M Open, this is a wide-open tournament that anyone could win and history doesn’t show one type of player consistently doing well. Davis was 150/1 at the start of the week last year and Lashley was the last man in the 2019 field and wasn’t even listed on most sportsbooks before play began! So there should definitely be a longshot wild card in your picks this week.
Detroit Golf Club: What you need to know
This gem of a course was founded in 1899, but this is only the fourth year of the tournament. It measures in at 7,370 yards and is a par 72, so it plays on the shorter side.
When you look back at past champions and guys who have fared well in Detroit, trends show this course suits a variety of styles. Bryson DeChambeau won here in 2020, with Matt Wolff hot on his heels — two big hitters. However, in 2019 Lashley took home the trophy and was 101st in driving distance that week.
There are a few ways to get the job done around Detroit Golf Club, but the common thread seems to be strong putting, great wedge play and overall a good tee-to-green performance.
The fairways are tree-lined but pretty wide and there are fewer water hazards around the 18 holes, presenting a lot of options off the tee.
The 4th hole is a 635-yard par-5 that maybe only DeChambeau could reach in two, but he won’t be back to give it another crack since he’s playing in the Bedminster LIV Golf event (I’ll handicap that one later….). The 17th hole is also a par 5 and plays as one of the easiest on the course, creating some late-in-the-day scoring opportunities.
Expect scoring to be low again, as overall it’s not that difficult a course in any area aside from on the greens. I’m really looking at strong wedge players, birdie-makers and excellent putters this week, as well as encouraging past performance and momentum entering the tournament.
Knox’s Knockout Rocket Mortgage Classic picks
Tony Finau (+1400 at BetMGM)
Playing again the week following a win, Finau means business when it comes to contending for the FedExCup in a few weeks. His victory at the 3M Open was his first of the year, coming six weeks after a runner-up finish at the RBC Canadian Open. His game has really been on an upward trend since the end of May, with three top-5 finishes. Last week Finau was first tee to green, second around the green and third in approach, and the putter really came to life over the weekend. I will definitely be putting a little money on him lifting back-to-back trophies.
Kevin Kisner (+4000 at BetMGM)
Being one of the shorter hitters on tour, Kisner has had great success here over the past three years. He finished in third place in 2020 and T8 last year, as well as making the cut in 2019. Kisner is known to be a good putter, and when his flat stick heats up…watch out! He has posted five top 10s this season and sits at No. 32 in the FedExCup standings, so he is in a brilliant position to make it all the way to the Tour Championship. Kisner is an accurate player who will plot his way around a course he knows…and likes.
Chris Kirk (+6000 at Bet365)
Kirk is one of those under-the-radar players who is having a very solid season; four top 10s, including a T5 at the PGA Championship, puts him at No. 60 in the FedExCup standings. A good week here could really propel him. H is fourth all season around the greens and fifth in total driving but just needs a good putting week. At +350, I also like him for the top 10.
Danny Willett (+10000 at FanDuel)
I had to pick someone who played well last week, as history shows that the two courses are comparable; Detroit Golf Club even playing slightly easier due to the lack of water hazards. Willet had a great week and carded his first top 10 of the season, finishing strong with five birdies in his last nine holes. The Englishman has to have a good week to make the playoffs, currently sitting at No. 137. He is a brilliant wedge player, is second for the season around the greens and could be a real contender if he continues his better-than-average putting performance from the 3M Open.
Rocket Mortgage Classic Prop Bets
Adam Scott top-5 finish (+550 at DraftKings)
Back in action following back-to-back top-15 finishes at the U.S. Open and British Open, Scott has been putting better than he has in a long time — sitting at 14th in birdies or better for the season. Making his first appearance at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, a seasoned pro like Scott will be able to figure out this easy course. I like him to go low.
Doug Ghim top-10 finish (+800 at DraftKings)
Ghim has been on a bit of a tear recently, contending at the Genesis Scottish Open and then at the 3M Open, finishing T16 in both (we shall overlook his triple bogey on the 72nd hole last week!). In fact, in his last six events, he has finished top 18 in three of them. He was excellent off the tee all week in Minnesota and put on a great performance on the greens. I like these odds for a top-10 finish.
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