The PGA Tour regular season is quickly coming to an end as the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic marks the beginning of one last push for the postseason. With only two events left on the playing schedule, players will need to put their best foot forward at Detroit Golf Club in order to find their name inside the coveted top 125 of the FedExCup points race by the end of next week.
Someone who will lose little sleep over the standings is last week’s Sportsbook, Tony Finau. Tracking down Scott Piercy on the back nine Sunday, Finau captured his third victory on the PGA Tour and his second in less than a year. Going into the 3M Open, the American had finished as the runner-up at the Mexico Open and the RBC Canadian Open, unable to get the job done on Sunday. Yet through a blend of exquisite tee-to-green play and a hot putter, he was able to secure his place inside the top 30 ahead of the Tour Championship, the postseason finale.
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That would also be the tournament at which this week’s favorite, Patrick Cantlay, raised the FedExCup trophy just a season ago. Sprinting through the playoffs with victories at the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship, Cantlay won the massive monetary prize and later the honors of Player of the Year.
He is listed at +1000 at Sportsbook to win the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic. Inexplicably without a solo victory in 2021-22, he has been close on numerous occasions as he has racked up two playoff losses and six additional top-10 finishes.
According to our odds calculator, Cantlay has a 9.1 percent chance to claim his first title of the season and propel himself into the playoffs much like last year. In order to do so, he will need to take down a top-heavy field that includes players such as Will Zalatoris, Cameron Young, Davis Riley and Sahith Theegala, all of whom are still in need of their first career victory on the PGA Tour.
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|Si Woo Kim||+5000|
Odds as of July 26 at Sportsbook
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Course and Tournament Information
The Detroit Golf Club is a new addition to the PGA Tour playing schedule as it has only been featured three times previously. Debuting in 2019, it saw Monday qualifier Nate Lashley come away victorious before giving way to the likes of Bryson DeChambeau and last year’s Sportsbook Cam Davis.
When look at the past Sportsbooks of this event, it is clear any type of golfer is capable of winning on this par 72. Measuring roughly 7,300 yards and designed by Donald Ross, other Ross designs on the PGA Tour include Sedgefield Country Club, Winged Foot and Pinehurst.
With greens sloping primarily from back to front, accuracy off the tee is mitigated and as such the greens-in-regulation percentage is much higher than the typical week on the PGA Tour. Since it is more difficult for a player to separate themselves through their ball striking, there are two schools of thought. Either target those players who are among the best in said category or look to those competitors who are capable of running hot with the putter.
What Happened In Last Year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic?
Last season’s Rocket Mortgage Classic came down to the wire with three players finishing at 18 under. This appears to be the common winning score in the first three years of its existence and players will need to reach roughly 20 under to finish on top this year. Last year, it was Cam Davis, Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann who found themselves in a playoff.
With Niemann bounced from extra holes early with a bogey, that left Davis and Merritt to duke it out. It took a few additional holes, but once Merritt carded a bogey of his own, it left the young Australian with the Rocket Mortgage Classic trophy.
For the week, Davis ranked fourth in strokes gained tee to green, 33rd in strokes gained off the tee, ninth in strokes gained approach, fifth in strokes gained around the green and 22nd in strokes gained putting. Unlike the first two years, the 2021 tournament saw an uptick in the importance of the around-the-green game, which may not necessarily be the case this week.
2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic Expert Picks
Will Zalatoris (+1600) to win:
Eventually, Zalatoris will claim a victory on the PGA Tour and this week may be his best opportunity to date. In a field that does not feature a boat load of big names, Zalatoris is one of them. He arrives well-rested after taking a week off following his T-28 performance at The Open Championship.
Before his trip to Scotland, the Wake Forest product was terrific in the United States with a pair of runner-up finishes in the major championships and three additional top-five finishes to go with them.
He is among the best ball strikers in the world and his putter is beginning to cooperate. Unlike most players who will need to gain around six to seven strokes on the greens to win, Zalatoris will just need to find two or three if he is to raise the Rocket Mortgage Classic trophy.
Keegan Bradley (+3300) to win:
Finishing in a tie for 14th in the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic, Bradley led the field in strokes gained tee to green. Ranking fourth in strokes gained approach and fourth in strokes gained around the green, the former PGA Championship Sportsbook fell short with the putter in hand and ranked 74th in said category for the week.
Losing more than four strokes to the field with the putter, Bradley arrives this season much improved in that area of the game. He finished second at the Wells Fargo Championship in May while gaining nearly 10 strokes with the flat stick. He has followed up this performance with finishes of T-37 at the Memorial, T-7 at the U.S. Open and T-19 at the Travelers Championship.
In each of those outings, Bradley gained strokes on the greens in additional to his typically reliable tee-to-green presence. He has seen his iron play gain north of four strokes on the field in three of his last four outings and the combination of these two skill sets should allow him to contend at the Rocket Mortgage Classic once again.
Chris Kirk (+5000) to win:
The former Georgia Bulldog has now made six consecutive cuts and is an ideal fit for Detroit Golf Club. Arriving with finishes of T-7 at the RBC Canadian Open and T-15 at the Charles Schwab Challenge, Kirk’s around-the-green game coupled with his accuracy off the tee has propelled him to strong outings in recent weeks.
While his iron play is a touch volatile, the rest of his game is steady enough to hide any deficiencies with his scoring clubs. He has gained strokes around the green in seven straight outings and if this year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic plays anything like last, that will be music to Kirk’s ears.
In two trips to Detroit, he has collected finishes of T-21 and T-12. Last season he had +0.76 strokes gained approach per round, +0.53 strokes gained around the green per round and +0.41 strokes gained putting per round en route to contending.
Russell Henley (+5000) to win:
Henley was inches from winning on a Donald Ross design last season before he squandered the lead at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club over the course of the final nine holes. While this stung in the moment, it is encouraging to see him take to this style of golf course as it should bode well for him at Detroit Golf Club.
Like Kirk, Henley has the ability to get around the golf course thanks to his accuracy off the tee and steadiness around the greens. He has not played much golf this summer – in fact, he has only played in the three major championships – so it is difficult to decipher how he may stand in a birdie-fest style of tournament.
Yet his iron play is among the best on the PGA Tour and should return to form given the relative ease to ball-strike around this golf course. Despite missing the cut in 2019, Henley should feel comfortable at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and contend for the title.
C.T. Pan (+8000) to win:
The Olympic bronze medalist caught fire around this time last season and I am banking on him doing so again. Finishing T-31 at the 3M Open, this performance at TPC Twin Cities followed up a T-24 result at the John Deere Classic from Pan.
His iron play has been sporadic the last three weeks, but before this spurt of inconsistency, it was quite steady as he averaged nearly one stroke gained on approach per round. This combined with his accuracy off the tee and his putting, which has seen him gain more than a stroke per tournament in the last three weeks, should make Pan worthy of consideration for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
This will be his second appearance at Detroit Golf Club and while he missed the cut in 2020, he has played well at other Donald Ross designs through his career. If able to carry that type of comfort level into the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Pan is a steal to win this tournament at +8000.
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