Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Rocket Mortgage Classic

The PGA Tour saw one of its biggest stars return to the winner's circle this weekend, with Dustin Johnson earning his 21st career victory at the Travelers Championship. The Tour ships from Connecticut to Michigan this week for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, where DJ will take a much earned week off and allow Bryson DeChambeau and Webb Simpson to take center stage.

Detroit Golf Club is the host, a Donald Ross-designed par 72 that played to 7,340 yards in its Tour debut last season. Nate Lashley was a late addition to the event but ended up blitzing the field, winning by six strokes for his first Tour win.

The tournament course re-routes and combines two courses at DGC, with the South Course's third hole will play as the first in the tournament, and the North's first and second will play as eight and nine, respectively. The re-routing should not concern the field too much, as golfers either saw it this way last year or are seeing it for the first time, but it is notable that the course will not follow Ross's planned design and could alter the looks originally intended by the legendary architect.

Those who saw their lineups sink as the field played through 15, 16, and 17 at TPC River Highlands last week will b pleased to hear there is hardly any water to speak of at Detroit Golf Club, though golfers will have to contend with no fewer than 87 sand traps littered throughout the course.

After a week with an early start and a lightning delay at the Travelers, the field will be pleased to see early forecasts looking perfectly fine. The ball should fly especially in the afternoons, with mid-day highs expected to exceed 90 degrees throughout the week.

Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.

Course and Tournament Info

Course: Detroit Golf Club
Par: 72
Distance: 7,340 yards
Fairways/Rough: Ryegrass, poa annua, plus bent creeping in
Greens: Poa annua with some bentgrass

SeasonParYardageAverageO/U Par AvgRank

In its first year on Tour, Detroit played as one of the easiest courses of the year. Only TPC Twin Cities yielded more birdies, and just two golfers in the top 34 failed to shoot par or better in all four rounds. Golfers were free to rip driver at will, with the course generally playing fairly straightforward off the tee and no golfer gaining more than 3.8 strokes off the tee (compared to 10 golfers gaining 5.0 strokes or more with approaches).

With very little history to go off, we have to get creative for course comparisons. Given the wide fairways, scoring conditions, and weaker field strength in its first edition, we can point to another Midwest course in TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic). Fellow newcomer TPC Twin Cities (3M Open) is notably distinct for how frequently golfers must contend with water hazards, but both courses were among the easiest fairways, longest distance, and easiest greens in regulation last year. Likewise, Sedgefield CC (Wyndham Championship) plays on the easier side thanks to how frequently the field hits the green.

Key Stats

These stats will be the keys to success in the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club.

Key Stats for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Par 5s
Birdies or Better Gained

We have to keep it simple here, given how friendly the conditions are and how straightforward the course played last year. Iron play is by far the best indicator, as any advantage off the tee was mitigated by everyone's ability to mash unabashed. DeChambeau will no doubt try to push the envelope in that regard, but at least in last year's field, the driver was a necessity. Hitting it well guaranteed nothing, but hitting it poorly left you in the dust.

Birdie making is the key skill, and as daily fantasy players, we are always looking for that type of profile anyway given the scoring formats across the industry. But failing to take advantage, especially on the par 5s, will be a death knell as the field charges into double digits under par for the week.

Course History Studs

With just one year of data under our belt, we have to call out the top finishers from last year's debut. Lashley's blowout was aided by an astounding 9.3 strokes gained with the putter. He was not just sinking 30 footers all week, though. He couldn't miss from 5-10 feet, gaining 6.3 strokes from that range to lead the field. Lashley was also third in strokes gained: tee to green, due almost entirely to a sixth-best mark in approach.

Doc Redman was the runner up at 19-under par, finishing 9th in strokes gained: tee to green and 11th in strokes gained: putting.

Tied for third in 2019 were Wes Roach and Rory Sabbatini at 18-under. Roach led the field in stroke gained: tee to green, while Sabbatini was more balanced at 14th tee to green and 10th in putting.

Six more golfers tied for fifth place to round out the leaderboard -- Patrick Reed, Brian Stuard, Brandt Snedeker, Ted Potter, Cameron Tringale, and Joaquin Niemann (who is not in the field this week).

Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.