(Cbs detroit) – The PGA Tour returns to Detroit for the third Rocket Mortgage Classic. This year, the golf course will meet at the Detroit Country Club, where the previous two winners have lost. With the course largely unchanged and some recent weather conditions have softened the tide, the Rocket Mortgage Classic should be another bird-of-the-mill holiday this year.
The pitch ready to take over the club’s North pitch is solid. The highest rated player is last year’s champion, Bryson DeShambeau, on the sixth. He shot from 23 years old in the debut of his new, larger physique. And this added strength helped him cross the course. Can he do it again?
“It was kind of a first look at Bryson DeShambeau and his new play of strength that he brought, a change in his body,” says CBS Sports reporter Colt Nost. “And he just completely destroyed the pitch last year, winning by three shots. And this week, he again became the favorite. So it will be interesting to see if he can support the performance he had here last year. “
The ninth-ranked Patrick Reed is the only top 10 player to make an appearance this week. Reed has been in the top 10 four times in a row since winning the Farmers Insurance Open in January. Webb Simpson, the 15th largest player in the world, has played just four tournaments since early April, and three of them were major. He will aim to improve on last year’s eighth place. Hideki Matsuyama, who finished 18th, also had limited success after winning the April Masters.
“There are many big names,” notes Knost. “You have Phil Mickelson, Hideki Matsuyama, Ricky Fowler. Bubba Watson on the battlefield with Matthew Wolff, Max Homa. I think this is a very, very solid field, quite tough, but definitely a week where you could see that perhaps a smaller name will really make a big splash and turn his season or career upside down. “
The course will collide with the Detroit Country Club circuit, which has gathered a lot of birds over the past two years. The club’s North Course, originally designed by Donald Ross, has been refurbished in preparation for its opening in 2019. The Tour’s oldest par-72 course at 7,370 yards is somewhat of an anachronism on today’s PGA tour. This is a classic course in an era where sports fields are being modernized to withstand power play.
North course front ninetree-lined is slightly more complex than the back nine. Any course rewards distance, but accuracy from tee helps. IN open holePar-4, 397 yards, is original to the field and emerges at the base of a bent oak tree that marked the Native American trail between Detroit and Saginaw. The fourth hole, one of two par-5s on the front nine and the longest on the course, extends to 635 yards. Two shots to the green are still very reachable.
On the back nine, the 14th, 15th and 16th holes merged a couple of years ago to form “Zone 313” where birds can fly. This year, fans will again be there to create a festive atmosphere for the set of holes, which will provide some scoring opportunities. The streak starts with 555 yard par-5s with risk rewards depending on how you approach it. Hole 15 is a par-3 playing longer than its 160 yards would suggest. Hole 16, 446 par-4 yards, offers points scoring opportunities for those who can navigate the green.
“It’s really good for guys who can bomb it because they can handle a lot of problems,” Nost notes of North Course. “They’re taking out the fairway bunkers. And given the bad weather they had here in Detroit last week, the golf course is going to play very softly, which makes these players just throw darts at these pins and they’re going to do a lot of birdies. So unless there is a strong wind, this golf course will not have much protection. This will give up on many poor results, and it should be a shootout. “
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Here are the favorites:
Bryson DeShambeau (15-2)
DeShambaut is the reigning Rocket Mortgage Classic champion. He burned the course last year at his only event at the Detroit golf club. And he remains arguably the longest rider on the Tour, a leader in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee. His last win came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, after which he finished third in the Players Championship.
Hideki Matsuyama (14-1)
Matsuyama only has one top 10 finish this year, and that was his Masters win in April. It also never made it to the top 10 of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. In 2019, he finished 13th, and in 2020 – 21st. But Matsuyama was relatively consistent on this field and played well on other courses developed by Ross.
Patrick Reed (14-1)
This year, Reed has made the top 10 five times in his 15 tournaments. This includes winning the Farmers Insurance Open in January. He also plays relatively consistently, especially around the green, where he is eighth in Strokes Gained: Putting. It missed a cut in last year’s Rocket Mortgage rankings but finished in fifth place a year earlier.
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Watch Rocket Mortgage Classic Saturday, July 3rd and Sunday, July 4th from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET on CBS.