The PGA TOUR heads to Michigan this week as Detroit Golf Club hosts the Rocket Mortgage Classic . The course is a very gettable par-72 measuring at 7,300 yards with bentrgass/poa greens. This will be one of the bigger birdie-fests of the season, as in the two year’s this tournament has been in existence the winning scores were 23- and 25-under par respectively.
I’ll be highlighting the best cash game/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main slate, but these players are often great options in any contest.
My analysis will frequently reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. Strokes Gained is now available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, check out this article from Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which unpacks each of the above metrics in detail. I also recommend Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained column after each round of that week’s PGA TOUR event, which highlights golfers to buy and fade, along with Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column, which highlights which Strokes Gained sub-metrics matter the most for a given course. The following players listed are based on DraftKings scoring and pricing.
Joaquin Niemann ($9,800 DraftKings)
Niemann has been maybe the most consistent golfer on the PGA TOUR this season in terms of making cuts. He stubbed his toe back at the Memorial a few weeks back which was his lone blemish of the 2021 season. Overall he’s made the weekend 19-of-20 times he’s teed it up this year.
His long term rolling numbers are as strong as anybody in this field, as the Chilean ranks sixth in SG: Ball-Striking and fourth in total strokes gained over his past 48 rounds. He did not play this event last year, but in 2019 he finished T-5 in his debut at Detroit Golf Club. Niemann also ranks third in this field in average strokes gained per round at this course, trailing only Nate Lashley and Bryson DeChambeau — the last two winners of this event. We should look to target Niemann at tracks with wide fairways where scoring is abundant, and that’s what we have this week. Lock and load.
Jason Kokrak ($9,500 DraftKings)
Kokrak had been playing some of the best golf of his career prior to the U.S Open, so I think we can give him a pass for missing one cut. The big fella teed it up here once in 2019 and finished T-29, so he has some familiarity with the course. Much like Niemann, his long term rolling numbers look good as well, as Kokrak ranks sixth in this field in total strokes gained over his past 48 rounds. He also ranks No. 1 in SG: Putting in that same time frame, so he’s been getting it done in all facets of the game of late.
We get a nice discount on one of the hotter players on TOUR who has some course history, and he makes too much sense in cash games, especially when you pair him with Niemann.
Cameron Tringale ($8,100 DraftKings)
Tringale has been pretty up and down of late, missing three of his past five cuts dating back to the Wells Fargo. However, he did seem to find his game in the second round of the Travelers this past week, gaining over 2.2 strokes on approach. It was his short game that let him down, which is normally a strength, so this seems to be a good spot to hop right back on the train.
Tringale has played this event both times and has gone T-5 and T-30, so there’s clearly something that catches his eye. His $8,100 price tag in this field does not reflect his talent level and that’s something we can take advantage of. It’s unlikely he misses the cut for a fourth time in six weeks at an easy track in a bad field, so let’s take the discount and move on here.
Doc Redman ($7,900 DraftKings)
The Doctor has finally found his game after a brutal start to the season. He’s now made six of his past seven cuts while posting two top 10’s across his past four events. His bugaboo of late has been his off-the-tee play, which should be mitigated this week with the wide fairways at Detroit Golf Club.
His approach play has been stellar, as he sits sixth in this field in that department over his past 12 rounds in this field. Redman also ranks ninth in total strokes gained in that time frame as well. It seems like everything is clicking for him at the moment, and he looks to be a pretty safe option this week at just $7,900 on DraftKings. It also helps that he’s seen the course before, finishing T-21 last year at this event.
Sepp Straka ($7,700 DraftKings)
Straka is not your prototypical cash game play, as he can be pretty hit or miss at times. However, he does seem to show up at easier courses in either alternate type events or when we have weaker fields like this. He has the best course history in this field, posting a T-11 and a T-8 in the two years it’s been held.
It’s also really nice that he’s coming in hot, finishing in a tie for 10th last week at the Travelers, while gaining strokes ball striking in all four rounds. Plenty of people who do not follow the PGA TOUR closely likely won’t roster Straka this week, so let’s make them pay and take their money.
Charles Howell III ($7,100 DraftKings)
I love targeting Chuckie Three Sticks at alternate type events like this, as at this stage of his career he’s almost a quadruple-A player, meaning he’s not good enough to hang with the world’s best anymore, but is also much more consistent than many of the paltry options at the bottom this week.
He is criminally underpriced for his talent level, as $7,100 in a field like this is silly. He should easily give us a made cut this week while boasting significant upside beyond that, which for this price is all we’re looking for. He finished T-35 here in 2019 as well.
Brian Stuard ($7,000 DraftKings)
This will likely be the first and last time Stuard will be featured in this article. He is, however, from the Detroit area and will likely have family and friends in attendance this week. I know that is mainly narrative based, but it’s seemed to work out so far as he’s finished T-5 and T-30 in his two starts here. He also finished T-30 at the Travelers last week, so it’s nice to see him come in with some form. You can certainly do worse when rounding out your cash game lineups and Stuard actually boasts some upside.