By James Dalthorp III



As we head in to July 2020, a fresh stretch of new fantasy golf waits upon us. This week, we head to Detroit City for the second year of a new event, the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Although the event is new, the course is not! It’s designed by one of the game’s most famous architects, Donald Ross – which gives us plenty to discuss concerning the event and our picks.

JD3 TOP 30

(Some players have withdrawn from list)

1. Webb Simpson – 

It can be easy to dismiss Webb because he is a top pick in a very large, unheralded field. Pick him. He is the best player in this tournament – his spin control makes him dangerous here. This field is not strong, maybe the weakest so far on Tour this season – and Webb should win 2/5 times the way he’s playing. Red hot.

2. J.T. Poston – 

A T11 here last year where he was in the hunt late into the event and despite narrowly missing the cut last week, he finished T10 and T8 in his previous 2 starts since the season restart. Harbour Town is more like this course than last week – and he’ll feed off those good memories and contend here again.

3. Nate Lashley – 

Typically when i see a defending champion, I have to consider whether it was a miracle week or the course suits them. Last year was a bit of both – but since this was the first time around Detroit CC for the whole field, I’m giving Lashley the benefit. His win was not just special, it was extremely dominant – sleeping with the lead on Friday night and shooting 63 the next day. I expect this to be a course that Lashley makes big checks on in his career.

4. Viktor Hovland – 

Now the first Norwegian to be ranked top 50 in the World Golf Rankings, Hovland is the obvious rookie of the year. At this point, I’m just waiting for him to hoist a second trophy. He has been quite steady and laser-like with his long game. This course should feed the fire. Lots of shot shapes that favor his draws.

5. Adam Hadwin – 

Hadwin started the year with big promise, finishing with two top fives and then a fairly solid Presidents Cup. This course and field suggest a strong finish – lush, Canadian green grass with slight color changes on the putting surfaces and not too many players in the field who can outball-strike him. He has only missed one cut this season. Due for glory.

6. Patrick Reed –

Reed has plenty of wins and high finishes at events like this one and after a very strong Sunday performance last week, I think he comes into the event with a hot putter and plenty of confidence. He’s also one of the top ranked guys here for a reason. He was a contender here last year and I think he’s ready to win again.

7. Kevin Na – 

Coming off a 5th place finish last week, I think we’ll see Kevin on top of the leaderboard again. He has been cautious with his health lately mostly over a minor injury during the break. It seems that has worn off – and Kevin is on pace for perhaps his best ever season on Tour. He’s already made 2.5 million in 14 events since last September. Top 10 for Na.

8. Maverick McNealy –

Dude has outstanding tee to green game and this course will be lush and play to his strengths.

9. Tyrell Hatton – 

Won twice in his last 5 starts worldwide – including Bay Hill, where the rough is high (like it can be this week). I like Hatton’s game a lot – and if the wind blows, he’ll be a safe pick to keep the ship steady.

10. Rickie Fowler –

With Rickie’s sponsor hosting the event and on a course where Fowler should feel comfortable, I would expect a top 25 finish at WORST for Rickie. This course should cater to Fowler’s style of play – and he’ll have lots of mid range putts that he should have no problem with. His game has looked quite good to me lately, his scores just have not reflected his shotmaking.

11. Doc Redman – 

runner up here last year and solid since the restart. He’ll be comfortable on this type of grass and his ball striking has significantly improved. Coming to a familiar site should give him confidence.

12. Wyndham Clark 

Clark has played well on Donald Ross courses in the past – even go back to his US Amateur days and a T6 in stroke play at Oakland Hills. He might not look like a great pick on paper, but I think this is the kind of event he relishes and I expect a good event. He’s had 4 top 20 finishes this season and has shown great signs.

13. Billy Horschel 

Good history for Billy at Donald Ross layouts – and this one being more of northeast type of vibe, it’s got his style of play written all over it. He’s won at East Lake – a Ross gem – for the Tour Championship, and he plays well on these old school style classics.

14. Kevin Streelman –

Streelman played very steady last weekend and hit some great shots on Sunday. Seeing as he played solid here last year, he’s going to come into this event feeling solid and with some nice momentum.

15. Mackenzie Hughes –

There may not be a player in the field with a hotter putter after last week’s event at River Highlands. Hughes made 2 bombs on the last 2 holes. Always take the guy with the hot putter.

16. Bryson Dechambeau – 

It’s not time to bench Bryson. He’s clearly upset and disgruntled over how his reputation has suffered for being a bit of a kook and taking seven hours to read putts. In his defense, he has more than resolved those question marks. I expect him to be in the top 20, I don’t expect him to win. He’s got a bit of pissed off teenage angst energy going on right now.

17. Christian Bezuidenhout – 

A very steady player, Christian has been quietly doing great in the past 12 months with a couple international wins and a lieu of top 25 finishes on Tour. He should be comfortable on a course like this as he ranks 13th on the PGA tour in approach to the green. This is a second shot course.

18. Jason Dufner –

After making the last 2 cuts since the restart, I’m hopeful that Dufner has made a positive move in the right direction because this course SCREAMS Jason Dufner to me. Strategy, long par fives, tight and narrow. Duff’s exempt status runs out at the end of this year and he’s about due to get another win. If he doesn’t, he could be back on the Korn Ferry tour. I think he’ll turn things around soon.

19. Scottie Scheffler –

You want a guy like Scheffler on a difficult layout that’s long where most players won’t make a ton of birdies. Scottie is capable of making a ton – and it will not surprise me if he wins this year. Since some of the game’s best up and coming talents haven’t won yet, Scheffler has a unique opportunity here to distance himself.

20. Alex Noren –

Noren hasn’t quite cracked into the winners circle yet on Tour, but the Swede has 11 international wins and a stellar career. He is a good ball striker and does well on classic, old school layouts. I think he has a good week.

21. Brendon Todd  –

Early nom for player of the year – coming off a week where he had a tough finish on Sunday. I think Todd will bounce back – and since he’s having the best season of his career, you’d be nuts not put him in your lineups. He seems to strike lightning in a bottle at any given moment lately.

22. Scott Harrington –

We’re getting into the good stuff now. I’ve just got a good feeling about Harrington this week. He plays well in the lush green grass – no stranger to the thick rough and traditional courses. I think this is a track he’ll thrive on.

23. Kyle Stanley –

Steady and back in good form with a top 25 last week, I like Stanley a lot this week. He’s one of the most accurate drivers of the ball on tour and that will be important this week. This course is a little quirky. He’s going to be solid tee to green. If he putts decent, he’ll be a good sleeper. Capable of winning.

24. Tim Wilkinson –

Given a marquee pairing last week, I expect a strong week from Wilkinson. He’s a solid player and I think the opportunity to start this event with less pressure will free him up to go bananas.

25. Harris English –

Quietly a strong pick here. Plays solid on these old style, northern courses. He manages these tree lined style tracks quite well. Could be a week where he makes a statement. Made 1.7 mil this year with 8 solid events where he was within striking distance of the winners.

26. Luke LIst –

I still believe that List is going to break through – he’s narrowly missed the cut the last two weeks. But with these top 65 and ties now, it’s really tough to make the cut sometimes. A winner three weeks ago on the KF tour by a large margin, he knows what it takes to win. I’m not a huge List fan – I just believe that his latest performances are a sign of great things to come. He’s a strong ball striker who just needs a little boost to break through.

27. Brian Stuard – 

Michigan native and a top 5 here last year. Been playing decent and an easy decision here to go with the local press favorites. He should have some course knowledge that other players may not have.

28. Brandon Hagy – 

Tour players know who some of the best ball strikers are and Hagy is one of them. He’ll be tough to beat if he can start making putts. He’s about to become a father so I expect him to be in good spirits and very determined. He hits the ball very far so he’s one of the few guys who can reach the par fives here.

29. Bronson Burgoon –

Another up and comer who is a solid ball striker. This course could serve as a coming out party for a heralded amateur who hits a ton of greens. He tends to make his mark in a field that’s not as strong.

30. Charl Schwartzel –

solid tee to green player. played well at Harbor Town. He’s got to be confident in this field, one of the few major champions – a Masters winner – in a season where he has revived some of his 2012 magic.
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