Pick 'Em Preview: Rocket Mortgage Classic
July 27, 2022
By Rob Bolton and Mike Glasscott , PGATOUR.COM
- July 27, 2022
- Rookie Taylor Pendrith is fresh entering Detroit Golf Club. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
When the favorite wins, you probably don’t because everyone is given the putt inside the leather, but when the long shot connects, well, you probably still need to build to finish inside the prize money, because he’s a lottery ticket.
Tony Finau delivered as the target at the 3M Open. His odds were barely into quadruple digits, so everyone who went with a set-and-forget approach on the weeklongs might as well not have.
Out-of-nowhere Scott Piercy yielded 2,500 coins to be the R1 Leader at TPC Twin Cities, so PGA TOUR Pick ‘Em Live proved how much “and” is more valuable than “or.”
Other than hovering your fingerprint over the mouse to click on a guy at long odds halfway through his final round – and hoping he hangs on – your most important period of time can be the entirety of the opening round. Of course, it doesn’t always play out like that, but as we’ve conveyed throughout the existence of this experience, that’s part of the elegance of the format. Remain fluid and good things can happen.
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Rob … Taylor Pendrith (+6000)
The rookie is No. 13 in my Power Rankings. Even if this were the real thing, I’d reserve a unit for him. He’s just that good.
At 11th in distance of all drives, 17th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and ninth in greens hit, he can bring parts of Detroit Golf Club to its knees. With a cooperative putter, who knows?!
He enters with three straight top-15 finishes, but the first two were separated by four months due to a fractured rib. It’s another why I like him even more right now. He’s not fighting for a Playoffs spot (at 104th in the FedExCup) and he’s relatively fresher than most vying alongside. Worth adding is that two of the three winners of the RMC were first-timers.
Glass … Hayden Buckley (+15000)
The first three editions at Detroit Golf Club have produced winners consisting of an alternate, a chalk favorite and a young bomber, the last two of whom were 26 years of age. I'm hoping to add a third consecutive 26-year-old in a guy who stripes it. Buckley is 18th in fairways hit, 17th in GIR and 53rd in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. That's the first requirement in a shootout. I'll need a week from his putter to pull off this upset, but I can always retreat to the chalk on the weekend.
Rob … Callum Tarren (+800)
His pre-tournament trading at the 3M Open was so volatile, it was like Blue Horseshoe fell back in love with Anacott Steel. The Englishman rallied for a T7 to pay off this crowd – his second top 10 of July, wrapped around a T22 at Barracuda – so let’s make the same call in Motown.
Currently 118th on the Eligibility Points List, he’s one payday from a spot in the Playoffs, if that, so the heaviest lifting is behind him. Even better, his combination of power and precision is sturdy enough to warrant the reach.
Glass … Michael Gligic (+1000)
Five straight paydays and nine of the last 10 for the Canadian. Ironically, his only non-payday was a withdrawal from his national open in June. He opened with 64 at TPC Deere Run en route to his first top 10 (T10), and then shot 63 in the second round at Keene Trace a week later (T21). Add a T16 last week at the 3M Open and that's three top 25s in his last four.
Glass … Sepp Straka (+550)
The easy route would have been to double down on Gligic, which I still might do, but Straka was 31-under in his first two trips here (T8-T11) before missing last year’s cut. Of his 10 rounds, six are 68 or better, so something definitely fits his eye. Trying to find any value down here this week is challenging.
Rob … Chris Naegel (+1000)
In lieu of the scarcity of value that Glass referenced, I’ll give the non-member a spin. All Naegel has done is Monday qualify for four events in July alone! The first resulted in a T16 at the John Deere Classic, so we know he has Thursdays, Friday, Saturday and Sundays in him, too.
Yes, I’m skittish about getting stuck with this bet that hasn’t opened with any reliability since the game launched but having fun always in rule No. 1.
Rob … Mark Hubbard (+6600)
With wind expected to freshen midday, not only do I expect that these coins will go to an a.m. waver, but I devoted my attention to guys who go off No. 1.
The front nine at Detroit GC is the easier half, so I want a guy who will pounce on it and hang on when the breezes arrive. Of course, the track should be more receptive in the morning as well, so I’m sold on this quarter of the draw.
Hubbard goes off in the second threesome. He was the FRL in his last start at Barracuda (with 13 points) and he connected eight sub-70s in traditional stroke-play competition to open July. He’s among the hottest players on TOUR right now and he opted for rest since the solo fourth at Old Greenwood.
Glass … Brandon Hagy (+10000)
Tee No. 10 at 8:24 a.m. ET gives me PLENTY of time to ditch this daydream, if necessary, and scramble for a result. The last two years, he's opened with 65 and 67, and posted 62 at Keene Trace two weeks ago. Let's gamble!
NOTE: While Glass and Rob typically stick with their selections as detailed in Pick ‘Em Preview, they are allowed the right to make changes at any time.