Pamela Maldonado gives her top picks for the Rocket Mortgage Classic from Detroit Country Club in Michigan.
PAMELA MALDONADO: We have got the penultimate event of the season this week in the PGA with the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The course, Detroit Golf Club, a par 72 and over 7,300 yards. The odds to win this tournament-- Patrick Cantlay is the 10-to-1 favorite, followed by Tony Finau, Will Zalatoris, Cam Young, and Max Homa rounding out the top five.
Some of the stats that I'm utilizing-- imagine yourself at a golf course, you walk up to the tee box, and you see a wide open fairway and not really much hazards around. What do you want to do? Hit bombs. So that's exactly what I am utilizing this week, looking to driving distance, maybe a player who can knock in some putts, and strokes gain total since March.
And fun fact, two of the three winners were first-time tour winners. So there's two players that I'm targeting for this week, looking first to Taylor Pendrith. Top 40 is a plus 110, plus 250 for a top 20, and 60 to 1 for a win. Now, this is a really small sample size. But Pendrith in 2022 is top 20 in strokes gained off the tee, top 30 in tee to green, has only 2 missed cuts, and 5 top 40 finishes, 4 of which were in the top 20, including a T16 at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Since finishing T13 in the Players Championship, Pendrith took some time off because of a rib injury, but he has since returned and has finished a top 15 in back-to-back events at both the Barbasol and at the Barracuda. This year, he has gained strokes off the tee in six of his last eight events, typically gains around the green, and can putt. He does also have zero tour wins, so Pendrith fits the mold of being a first-time potential winner here on tour this week.
The second player is Davis Riley. Plus 180 for a top 20, 40 to 1 for a win. Ever since Riley was paired up with Will Zalatoris, my boy, Willy Z at the Zurich, he has been a much improved player, following up with 5 straight top 20 finishes, including 5th at the Mexico open, and T9 at the Byron Nelson.
However, he has since trimmed it down just a smidge, taking T64 at the Travelers, losing 8 strokes with the putter, a stat line that is definitely more volatile than not. And he was cut just last week at the 3M, where he just couldn't find the birdies.
However, Riley is top 20 off the tee and in birdie or better percentage. He does have some distance, but his strength comes in the iron play, where Riley is ranked third in strokes gain on the approach. Plus, he's also top 10 and tee to green and 7th in strokes gain total. This is a great opportunity for Riley to find not only a bounce back, but potentially come out with a win.
So those are two players that I like to contend for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, looking to Taylor Pendrith and Davis Riley. You can find odds for both players and more at the Yahoo Sportsbook. Bet $10 and win $200 in free bets by signing up at BetMGM.com/YahooVIP. New customers only, must be 21 or older, and terms do apply.