By News Team
30th June 2020
The PGA Tour rolls on to Detroit this week for the Rocket Mortgage Classic where another good field has been assembled.
Although weaker compared to the previous three tournaments, there are still six of the top 20 in the world teeing it up, including two of the top 10 in Bryson DeChambeau and Webb Simpson.
Here’s our preview of the second staging of the event ahead of its start on Thursday.
Birdie fest should suit Hatton
Given this week’s venue, Detroit Golf Club, is designed by Donald Ross you’d expect it to feature a number of undulating greens. Such surfaces are what Ross’ courses are known for, but the putting surfaces here are much less severe meaning this is a course that can be got at. Last year’s inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic is evidence of such, with the winner, Nate Lashley, finishing an incredible 25 under par, showing that once again we should be in for a birdie fest.
The first three PGA Tour events back have seen incredibly low scoring, and when courses are set up to yield birdies it normally means that putting is the deciding factor. The winners of those tournaments, Daniel Berger (eighth), Webb Simpson (second) and Dustin Johnson (fourth), have all ranked highly in strokes gained putting en route to victory, and given low scoring is expected again, you’ve got to be looking for those who are hot with the flat-stick.
TYRRELL HATTON continues to impress and he looks sure to go well at 16/1 in conditions that will play to his strengths. The Englishman didn’t do much wrong in the final round at Harbour Town a couple of weeks ago and had it not been for Simpson’s heroics on the back-nine he might have easily notched up his second win on the PGA Tour. He putted brilliantly in South Carolina, ranking first for strokes gained putting and he’s ranked second on the entire tour this season in that category too.
As well as his fantastic putting, that this week looks set to be a birdie fest will be music to the 28-year-old’s ears. Of his five professional wins, four of them have come when the winning score has been 20 under or lower, meaning he’s not scared of firing at the flags when birdies, not pars, are the order of the day.
Reed all about it
Like Hatton, PATRICK REED is ranked in the top five for strokes gained putting and the American is another fancied to play well in Detroit at 16/1. His game seems to be coming into shape nicely after an encouraging display at the Travelers Championship. He was always playing catch-up after an opening 70, but three rounds in the 60s, including a closing 64, showed he’s not far away from his best.
Reed will be looking forward to getting back to a course which he played well at on debut in 2019. The 29-year-old finished in a tie for fifth 12 months ago where an uncharacteristically cold putter cost him dear.
He was superb in all other areas of his game, though, and he’s another who tends to go well when birdies are at a premium, with six of his eight wins being achieved with a score of 14 under or better. In fact, he holds the record for lowest winning score in PGA Tour history – 28 under par at the 2014 Humana Challenge – so he’s more than comfortable taking dead aim at the pins.