Rocket Mortgage Classic: Custom Model predicts surprising winner

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GOLF: AUG 07 PGA – World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
MEMPHIS, TN – AUGUST 07: Will Zalatoris hits a shot during the third round of the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, August 7, 2021 at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire)

The PGA Tour is back for another weekend of thrills and spills. This time, we head to Detroit Golf Club for The Rocket Mortgage Classic. With the opening tee off now just hours away, it’s time to dig into our Custom model.

Although it hasn’t predicted a winner in 5 weeks, it did predict that Callum Tarren (+9000) would finish inside the top-20 last week (+400). This means that a $100 bet would’ve netted a $500 return.

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What goes into building a Custom Model for the Rocket Mortgage Classic

The first thing I do is look at stats that correlate to success at the course in question. In this case, we see flat greens, tree-lined fairways, and gettable par-5’s. Without too much in the way of consequence for longer hitters, this tournament could well turn into a putting contest, which has been heavily factored here.

From there, I look at those stats over each golfers last 50 rounds, and then those same stats when playing the course in question and others that have similar profiles. I place a value each stat to bring a combined grade for every golfer in the field.

Rocket Mortgage Classic model yields a surprising result

While Patrick Cantlay (+800) may be the favorite, he’s not at the top of my custom model for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. That honor goes to the pair of Will Zalatoris (+1200) and Maverick McNealy (+2500). It’s worth noting that a common cause for concern when discussing Zalatoris is his bizarre putting stroke, so if you’re looking for a reason to play the value guy, that’s the one.

However, Zalatoris is a big-hitter whose ball-striking should find him plenty of greens in regulation. His putting has gone from -0.66 strokes gained last year to +0.13 this year, so he is gaining ground. There is absolutely reason to believe he’s going to get that first tournament win soon after knocking on the door 4 times this year, and with a slightly lighter field, this is a nice spot to play him.

The value here is on McNealy. I played him last week and although his 49th place finish was disappointing, it wasn’t a bad round of golf. I’m still bullish on the fact that while his iron play isn’t as good, his putting is excellent. He still gained 1.19 strokes to the field last week in that category and this will be a course that demands that skillset. If you’re choosing between the two, McNealy is more favorable.

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A big surprise inbound at the Rocket Mortgage Classic?

I always love deep-value plays. Callum Tarren was a huge hit for me last week and he ranks inside the top-15 of my model again. However, my attention has been drawn to Seung-Yul Noh who is my 20th-ranked golfer. I played him last week and he came 38th. But this is a +30000 longshot who has made five cuts in a row and came 57th here last week. He’s +1000 to finish inside the top-20. I am going all-in on that given how he’s flying so massively under the radar.

Appealing plays

Denny McCarthy +3500: Phenomenal putter but struggles off the tee. This could be a course that suits him perfectly. His average finish over his last 10 tournaments is 32nd.

Davis Riley +4000: Another Zalatoris-type hotshot who seems to be gaining significant ground quickly. His putting is a concern but he’s performed amazingly around correlated courses, with an average finish of 29th.

Callum Tarren +10000: I played him last week, I’ll play him again. He’s gaining strokes off the tee and with the putter, which ticks both boxes needed to be successful here. He’s a low-cost play who will be volatile, but could absolutely be inside the top-20 on Sunday. It’s just hard to ignore the 31-year old when he pops in the model so often.

You can get FULL access to our Custom Model for the Rocket Mortgage Classic with all stats included AND $7000 worth of free bets for FREE by joining the Philly Sports Network discord server here.

Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire

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