Starts: 1st July 2021
Course: TPC River Highlands
Length: 7,370 yards
2020 Champion: Bryson DeChambeau
Overall Profit/Loss: -3pts
Pre-Event Bets: +5.25pts
1pt EW Max Homa 50/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-8)
1pt EW Brendon Todd 60/1 Each Way @ Betfair (1/5 1-8)
0.75pts EW Troy Merritt 100/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-8)
0.5pts EW Andrew Putnam 150/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-8)
1pt EW Jonas Blixt Top European 40/1 @ Skybet (1/4 1-3)
0.5pts EW Sepp Straka FIRST ROUND LEADER 80/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
0.5pts EW Mark Hubbard FIRST ROUND LEADER 110/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-6)
In-Play Bets: -8.25pts
2 July 2021 (-3pts)
1pt Each Way Chris Kirk 45/1 @ Unibet (1/5 1-5)
0.5pts Each Way Robert Streb 100/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
3 July 2021 (-2pts)
1pt Each Way Richy Werenski 40/1 @ Unibet (1/4 1-4)
3 July 2021 (-3.25pts)
1.25pts Win Only Kevin Kisner 22/1 @ Bet365
2pts Win Only Jason Kokrak 14/1 @ Bet365
Designer: Donald Ross
Used Since: 2019
Greens: Bentgrass/Poa Annua
Water Hazards: On 1 hole
Par 5's: 4th, 7th, 14th and 17th
Premium on: Putting
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
This is the flattest course on the PGA Tour. Fairways are also easy to find with driving accuracy percentages around 5% higher than average.
The cut has been made at -5 both years this tournament has been played, low scoring is essential.
Possible showers in the afternoon with a max wind speed of 11mph.
Sunny intervals with a max wind speed of 13mph.
Sunny intervals with a max wind speed of 10mph.
Partly cloudy with a max wind speed of 18mph.
We have seen winning scores of -25 and -23 the past two years, expect low scoring again. Notable that the margin of victory has been six shots and three shots.
None of the top 7 had recorded a top 40 finish at the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic. You can play well here without having played here before.
The two winners of this event both posted a top 30 finish in their previous start. Recent form is preferred over course form.
Last year's champion, Bryson DeChambeau, ranked 10th in the world. In contrast, 2019 champion, Nate Lashley, ranked 346th.
Americans have won both events here.
None of note.
SG: Off The Tee
Looking at the two winners, DeChambeau ranked 1st last year, whilst Lashley ranked 55th in 2019.
DeChambeau ranked 102nd and Lashley ranked 25th.
100 places separated the past two winners in Driving Distance ranking, DeChambeau ranking 1st and Lashley 101st.
84th and 7th were the rankings for the 2020 and 2019 champions.
Greens In Regulation
Both previous winners have ranked in the top 25 in this category (22nd and 6th).
SG: Around The Green
Both previous winners have ranked in the top 25 in this category (47th and 26th).
A hot putter is essential, both previous winners ranked 2nd SG: Putting.
The 18th and 11th holes generally play as the hardest holes on the course.
The par 5's (4th, 7th, 14th and 17th), along with the 3rd hole play as the easiest holes.
The 16th and 18th played cumulatively over par the past two years. The 17th offers a significant birdie chance, playing 0.5 strokes under par each of the past two years.
Fast or Slow Start
In 2019, only one of the top 10 failed to shoot a 68 or better in the opening round. Last year, eight of the top 11 shot 68 or better in the opening round.
Both winners of this event have been inside the top three at halfway and the top two after 54 holes.
The Rocket Mortgage Classic In-Play Blog
4th July 2021, 1.30pm
A hole in one on the 11th hole rocketed our pre-event 100/1 tip, Troy Merritt, into a share of the lead going into the final round.
Surprisingly, the ace was the American's first hole in one on the PGA Tour and it clearly unsettled him as he played his final seven holes in +1. He was three shots clear after the 11th and traded around 6/4 at his lowest. However, the slow finish has now left him in a tie for lead and second favourite in the betting at 9/2.
In truth, it was a disconcerting finish and Troy will need to play much better than he did over those closing holes if he is to have a chance of winning today. His last win on the PGA Tour came in 2018 at the Barbasol Championship and he's passed up two winning chances at the 2019 and 2020 Barracuda Championship since.
Troy's record when leading after 54 holes stands at two wins and three losses. He's clearly capable of winning and has beaten quality players such as Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel to record his wins. However, he's also capable of poor final rounds when in contention. We obviously hope he can get the job done!
Favourite in the betting is Joaquin Niemann (2/1) and he's a deserving favourite. Yet to drop a shot this week, the young Chilean shot a 68 yesterday that could easily have been three or four shots better had the putter been co-operating.
Niemann possesses a 4⭐ Golf Betting Club Pressure Performance Rating and he needs to be respected. That said, he's been poor the last two times in contention, at the Valspar Championship and Sony Open. However, his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions was impressive and his position at the front of the betting is fully justified.
Of the chasing pack, Hank Lebioda has done his best work when posting low final rounds from off the pace. He's relatively inexperienced at this level though and at 9/1 he's not for us. Brandon Hagy is another we are happy to strike a line through given he's yet to win in over 120 starts as a pro and has passed up a couple of winning opportunities on the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tours over the past few years.
Cameron Davis is a player of enormous potential and has previously won the Australian Open. However, his performance when in contention at the Sandersons Farms Championship in October last year was poor and that's enough to put us off the 13/2 available.
We should see ideal scoring conditions with wind forecast to reach a maximum of 5mph and no rain forecast.
Round 4 Bets
- 2pts Win Only Jason Kokrak 14/1 @ Bet365
- 1.25pts Win Only Kevin Kisner 22/1 @ Bet365
With doubts over several of those at the top, our strategy going into the final round is to take two players from the group at 11 under par who are capable of going low in the final round. With conditions set to be firmer and faster, that should suit both Kokrak and Kisner. Kokrak leads the field in SG: Tee To Green this week and only a cold putter has stopped him being nearer the top. He's improved his putting stats each round and we are banking on that trend continuing. Kisner shot a final round 63 last week and he's a player who can get hot when the putter gets hot. He ranks 5th SG: Approach this week and with a bit of extra roll on the fairways he should be able to attack the pins in the final round. Both players are proven winners and we want them onside to supplement our man Troy.
3rd July 2021, 1.30pm
It’s very much all to play for at River Highlands with 13 players within two shots of the lead. Tom Lewis and Joaquin Niemann now hold the advantage after round one leader Davis Thompson went round in one over par.
Niemann is a worthy favourite but odds of 4/1 with the chasing pack as it seems very short. Plenty of PGA tour winners lurk and one or two are bound to make a move.
Hopefully it will be one of our boys, with Troy Merritt and Max Homa being tipped up at 100/1 and 50/1 pre-event, and Chris Kirk being put up at 40/1 yesterday. We’re in an excellent position and we could make a case for all three if we weren’t already on board.
It’s due to be less windy today so scoring should improve and we can expect some low numbers like Thursday. We will add one player today who was in our thoughts pre-event.
Round 3 Bets
- 1pt Each Way Richy Werenski 40/1 @ Unibet (1/4 1-4)
Richy has been out of form of late with three missed cuts in a row but looks to be returning to form at a course he enjoys. He finished 21st here last year on the back of some similar form and then went on to finish 3rd at the 3M Open followed by a win at Barracuda, so we know he enjoys this time of year. He is only two shots back after two solid 68’s and his stats have been solid in almost all departments.
2nd July 2021, 10.15am
We’ve had a bit of disruption with weather delays in Detroit so play was unable to get finished last night due to darkness. No one was able to catch newly professional Davis Thompson who’s opening round nine under par 63 gives him a two shot lead.
Joaquin Niemann was the only afternoon starter able to get close to him with a 65 and joins Brandon Hagy and Tom Lewis at 7 under par. Niemann is currently 11/2 favourite followed by Thompson who can still be backed at 14/1.
Last year Bryson DeChambeau and Matt Wolff separated themselves from the field to contend for the title with Bryson one off the lead after round one and Wolff a whole four shots back. It’s the sort of course where low rounds can cause much change to the leaderboard so we shouldn’t discount those who have started slow.
The weather forecast is predicting a bit of breeze today, with the wind picking up to 14mph in the afternoon but it should be quite still in the morning for the players to finish off their rounds.
We have chosen a couple of morning starters at nice prices with potential to kick on from here.
Round 2 Bets
- 1pt Each Way Chris Kirk 45/1 @ Unibet (1/5 1-5)
Chris fired an impressive bogey free 67, where he ranked 2nd in the field tee to green, 7th for approach play and 8th around the greens. He has already recorded four top 10’s this season including a 2nd place finish at the Sony Open. Finished 21st here last year on his first start after a win on the KFT. A three time winner on tour, the last being in 2015, he is very much ready for his comeback win on the PGA Tour.
- 0.5pts Each Way Robert Streb 100/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
Robert is another in the group at 5 under par and also has a nice early start. He arrived this week after a good week at the Travelers, finishing 19th. We have selected him on the value of his price as we remember how impressive he was in contention for his victory at RSM Classic last year. 100/1 is a great price for a man you can trust on Sunday so let’s take the chance he can get himself in a position to do so.