PGA Tour Picks: Rocket Mortgage Classic

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By TOM LAMARRE

The Rocket Mortgage Classic, which kicks off Thursday at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan, is the penultimate event of the PGA Tour regular season and many players are battling to break into the top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings to qualify for the playoffs.

However, Los Alamitos and fourth-ranked UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay, last week’s winner Tony Finau, 2021-22 rookie of the year Will Zalatoris, current rookie of the year favorite Cameron Young and the other favorites don’t have to worry about it.

Zalatoris and Young are yet to win on the PGA Tour, but they’ve been so close, so many times, this might be the week for one of them to break through.

Australia’s Cam Davis (pictured), who had won twice on lower home runs, was in that position last year when he held off Chile’s Joaquin Nieman and Troy Merritt with a par on the playoff’s sixth hole for earn his first PGA Tour victory.

“Every year I was trying to try to come back, because I love this golf course, thinking, ‘Can I just do a little better?'” Davis, 27, recently told the Detroit Free. Press talking about the Course designed by Donald Ross. “And obviously the last time I did as well as you can do. The tournament had grown every time I had played here as well. I would say that is a pretty accurate statement. He is growing as well as me.

“The greens are beautiful and challenging. It’s synonymous with a lot of the best golf courses in the country, and I feel like guys are jumping at the chance to play golf courses like this. And it’s just cool to see a lot of big names come out and try, because it’s a good test.

Also on the court this week are great champions Stewart Cink, Danny Willett of England, Jason Day of Australia, Gary Woodland, Adam Scott of Australia, Davis Love III, Zach Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Lucas Glover and Geoff Ogilvy of ‘Australia.

Other notables include Ricky Fowler, Luke Donald from England, Rory Sabbatini from Slovakia, Matt Kuchar, Emilio Grillo from Argentina, Harris English, Russell Knox from Scotland, Patton Kizzire, Adam Hadwin from Canada, Kevin Kisner, Jhonattan Vegas from Venezuela, Bill Haas, Nick Watney, Ryan Palmer, Si Woo Kim from South Korea, Max Homa and Cameron Champ.

Monday’s qualifiers included Erik Flores of Grass Valley and UCLA, and KK Limbhasut of Thailand and Cal.

The Wyndham Championship next week in Greensboro, North Carolina is the final regular season event on the PGA Tour with the FedEx Cup playoffs beginning a week later with the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis, in Tennessee, followed by the BMW Championship. at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware, and culminating in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

BEST BETS

1.Patrick Cantlay, United States – Fourth-ranked Cantlay teamed with Xander Schauffele to win the Zurich Classic in New Orleans but does not have an individual title after winning the FedEx Cup four times last year. He has nine top-10 finishes and is sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. Cantlay makes his first appearance in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

2. Tony Finau, United States – After earning the third victory of his PGA Tour career last week at the 3M Open, Finau has four top-10 finishes this season, including second place at the RBC Canadian Open and a tie for second at the Mexico Open in Vidanta. He was in the top 20 after three laps in his only start in the Rocket Mortgage in 2019, but closed with a 74 and slipped to a tie for 54th.

3.Cam Davis, Australia – The reigning Rocket Mortgage Classic winner is tied for eighth at the John Deere Classic, has finished solo sixth in the Barracuda Championship and tied for 16th at the 3M Open in his last three starts, and has five tops 10 on the PGA Tour this season. Davis tied on the sixth playoff hole to beat Troy Merritt and Joaquin Nieman last season.

4. Will Zalatoris, United States – The 2020-21 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year is yet to win on the Tour, but has finished runners-up three times this season, including the US Open and the PGA Championship among eight top 10 finishes and is ninth in the FedEx Cup Rankings. In his lone start in the Rocket Mortgage, Zalatoris only beat 70 once and finished 77th last season.

5.Danny Willet, England – The 2016 Masters champion finished tied for seventh at the 3M Open last week and won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews earlier this season in addition to winning the 2018 DP World Championship. Willett makes his third start in the Rocket Mortgage and is tied for fourth in closing with 66 in 2019.

6. Emiliano Grillo, Argentina – Was close to the lead throughout the 3M Open last week before finishing tied for second, his second second result this month, while also tied for second in the John Deere Classic. Grillo, whose lone PGA Tour win came at the 2016 Frys.com Open, tied for 39th in the Rocket Mortgage Classic two years ago before missing the cut last season.

7. Scott Piercy, United States – After leading the 3M Open most of last week, a triple bogey on the back nine on Sunday derailed Percy and he finished tied for fourth. He has six top-25 finishes this season, including a tie for 11th in the Fortinet Championship and a tie for 12th in the RBC Heritage. Shot 75-71 to miss the cutoff by four shots in his lone start at Rocket Mortgage last year.

8.Chesson Hadley, USA – Hadley was in pursuit most of the way last week at the 3M Open before fading on the back nine in the final round and finishing 10th in solo. He also finished fifth in the Travelers and tied for 10th in the John Deere Classic recently. A five-time winner as a professional, he finished tied for 52nd in the Rocket Mortgage last year after missing the cut twice.

9. Callem Tarren, England – As well as moving closer to retaining his PGA Tour card for next season, Tarren appears to be closing in on his first professional victory as he finished tied for fifth at the Puerto Rico Open, tied for sixth at the John Deere Classic and tied for seventh place in the 3M Open after fighting to the end each time. He makes his debut at Rocket Mortgage Classic.

10. James Hahn, United States – The former Alameda Cal star closed with a 65 last week to place fourth at the 3M Open after posting ties for ninth at AT&T Byron Nelson and the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this season. Hahn, a two-time PGA Tour winner, is making a third appearance in the Rocket Mortgage Classic after missing the cut for the past two years.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Stewart Cink, United States; If Woo Kim, South Korea; Adam Scott, Australia; Gary Woodland, United States; Rory Sabbatini, Slovakia; Ricky Fowler, United States; Jonathan Vegas, Venezuela; Adam Hadvin, Canada; Kevin Kisner, United States; Webb Simpson, United States; Jason Day, Australia; Max Homa, United States; Sahith Theegala, United States.

SLEEPERS

1.Cameron Young, United States – The Rookie of the Year contender is yet to win, but has finished runners-up three times, including in the Open Championship. Debuted at Rocket Mortgage.

2. Henrik Norlander, Sweden – A two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner, Norlander ranked T-4 in the Sanderson Farms Championship this season. T-12 in the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic.

3. Stephen Jäger, Germany – Six-time Korn Ferry Tour winner was T-6 at Wells Fargo, T-15 at Mexico Open, T-20 at Bermuda this year. Missed cut at the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic.

4.Brandon Wu, United States – The 2021 Korn Ferry Tour winner was T-2 at the Mexican Open, T-3 at the Puerto Rico Open, T-6 at the Scottish Open this season. Make your debut in Rocket Mortgage.

5. Cole Hammer, United States – The 2022 national champion rookie from Texas won the 2021 Big 12 championship among seven amateur victories and made his second start as a professional.

For first round departure times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

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