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The Approach: PGA DFS Picks Based off Awesemo’s Rankings for the Rocket Mortgage Classic

Geoff Ulrich

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The PGA Tour will make a stop in Detroit this week for the third year in a row. The Rocket Mortgage Classic has become a regular summer stop on tour and quickly been inserted as one of the handful of events around this time of year that features low scoring and straightforward courses. Detroit Golf Club saw a cut line of 5 under par last year and ranked as the fourth-easiest venue on tour, which gives an idea of how badly birdies will be needed this week. With a little bit of course history under its belt and the usual form statistics, there is quite a bit of information to go off of when preparing daily fantasy golf picks for DraftKings and FanDuel this week.

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The venue is a shorter par 72 at just over 7,300 yards and is a Donald Ross classic design that was renovated a few years back to make it usable for the PGA pros. It features four very gettable par 5’s and also has a handful of par 4’s that measure under 400 yards. The profile of the first two winners here could not be any different, as Nate Lashley isn’t a bomber by any means but lit it up on approach and on the greens. Last year’s winner, Bryson DeChambeau, used his bomb-and-gouge game to perfection here but also sank a ton of putts and ranked first in strokes gained putting. All types can compete here but birdie conversion, and a strong putting week will certainly be needed. Let’s get into some of Awesemo’s expert daily fantasy PGA picks.

Detroit Golf Club Stats and Info

  • Par 72, 7,370 yards; the venue is a Donald Ross design, and he has also designed Sedgefield (Wyndham Classic) and Pinehurst No. 2 (U.S. Open 2014).
  • The venue features numerous shorter par 4’s, and that has made 125 to 150 yards the target for approaches; 150 to 175 yards is also a popular bucket for approaches.
  • Four of the par 4’s here measure under 400 yards, and the venue saw each of the top 12 finishers in the field last season gain at least 1.4 strokes putting for the week.

Putting Splits

Detroit Golf Club is similar to last week in terms of green type, as it also features a blend of poa/bentgrass greens. Just like last week, I have used a combo of both green types for the splits. Use caution with these in your daily fantasy golf picks; they aren’t the be-all, end-all, but they make for a nice tiebreaker.

Negative Poa/Bent Annua Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

  1. Joaquin Niemann: -1 strokes on poa/bent, +16 strokes on all other surfaces
  2. Chris Kirk: -6 on poa annua, +10 on all other surfaces
  3. Chesson Hadley: -3 on poa/bentgrass, +28 on all other surfaces

*+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost

Positive Poa/Bentgrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

  1. Jason Kokrak: +28 on poa annua, +3 on all other surfaces
  2. Doc Redman: +6 on poa/bentgrass, -4 on all other surfaces
  3. Jason Day: +19 on poa/bentgrass, +2 on all other surfaces

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Daily Fantasy Golf Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel

*Grades are ordered DraftKings, FanDuel

Webb Simpson: Grades: A+, A+ | Values: B, B

Simpson comes into this week off a brutal performance at the U.S. Open where he missed the cut by a bunch of strokes. The missed cut was a rare one for Simpson, though, as he only has two such results over his past 19 starts on the PGA. Simpson is more of a putter-based player and ranks third in strokes gained putting over the last 50 rounds, but that may actually work in his favor here. Detroit Golf Club has some of the easiest-to-hit fairways and greens on the PGA Tour, so most everyone will get their chances this week. Simpson has also become a bit of a Donald Ross maestro, and he ranks third in this field in strokes gained tee to green on Ross designs.

On top of finishing eighth at this event last season, Simpson has also won the Wyndham and finished inside the top 10 there on a handful of other occasions. While DeChambeau has been more consistent than Simpson over the last month or so, Simpson has an almost identical points projection to DeChambeau this week and has the best value score in the model of anyone over $9,000. Long story short, Simpson is a bounce-back candidate and a nice anchor play at well under $11,000 in this weaker field.

The Stats:

  • Ranks seventh in birdies or better in this field over the last 50 rounds.
  • Is fourth in par-4 efficiency from 350 to 400 yards and is top 20 in proximity from 125 to 175 yards.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 20.1%


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Cameron Tringale: Grades: B, B | Values: A, C

While it looks like Tringale is going to be popular this week, it also looks like he’s too good of a potential value at just over $8,000 on DraftKings to avoid. He has the 10th-best DraftKings projection on the slate and also carries the highest value score of anyone over $8,000. This week is an interesting spot for Tringale, as he has three missed cuts on his ledger over his past five starts. Still, he has gained strokes on his approach in seven of his last nine starts and landed himself a fifth at this event in 2019 — to go along with a 30th last season. He ranks ninth in this field in DraftKings points over the last 50 rounds and is still 12th in strokes gained on approach over that same span. While the increased missed cuts are concerning, everything with the long-term form looks steady enough to back him here at value-conscious price.

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The Stats:

  • Twelfth in strokes gained on approach over the last 50 rounds; ranks sixth in birdies or better over that same span.
  • Eighteenth in par-4 efficiency from 350 to400 yards and has gained three strokes on approach here in the first two iterations of this event.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 20.8%


Awesemo's Top Golfer Tool is an Ace

Since golf performances are largely uncorrelated between one golfer and the next, aside from weather impacts, a good way to view a PGA DFS lineup is as a parlay, where you have to hit all 6 picks to hit. The Awesemo Top Golfer Tool gives you the probabilities that each golfer will finish top 6, as well as their 25%, 50%,and 75% results as a benchmark for how you can expect each golfer to perform at the tournament.

Low-Owned PGA DFS GPP Flier

Mackenzie Hughes ($7,200)

It is interesting that less than two weeks ago Hughes was in the final group at the U.S. Open, yet he still can’t get any love in DFS circles at just over $7,000. He admittedly was on a streak of five missed cuts before his shock 15th at Torrey Pines, but he also managed his way to the weekend last week at the Travelers. Hughes can get himself in contention based on his ability with the flat stick alone, and it is worth noting that last year’s winner — DeChambeau — won despite losing strokes on approach.

Hughes will have to strike the ball better with his irons this week, but he carries similar upside to DeChambeau on the greens, where he ranks 15th in strokes gained putting on poa/bentgrass over the last 50 rounds. He also has a nice Donald Ross track record, as he’s made the cut at the Wyndham in each of his appearances there and was 21st at this event last season, where he gained 3.4 strokes on approach. Hughes is risky but has high-end ability on the greens. He makes for an interesting GPP target with a sub-5% ownership projection.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 4.7%

DraftKings Top Three Under Five

I am targeting three players here that I ultimately think will end up under (or close) to 5% ownership in bigger DraftKings GPPs. We are searching for boom/bust players here with an almost 100% focus on upside.

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Henrik Norlander ($6,800)

Norlander has looked close to challenging in his last few events. He faded late last week but has made three of his last four cuts and gained over 2.5 strokes on approach in each of those three starts where he played the weekend. He finished 12th at this event last year, gaining 8.3 strokes on his approaches alone.

Beau Hossler ($7,000)

Hossler seems to have finally found some consistency in his ball striking, which is big news since he remains one of the more elite putters on tour. Hossler has finished inside the top 20 two weeks in a row and closed with a 64 last week, gaining 1.7 strokes on approach in Round 4 alone. If he can keep the momentum up with his irons, he has the ability to challenge here given his wizardry on the greens.

Chez Reavie ($7,600)

Reavie was expected to get more heat this week because he’s coming off three strong starts and DFS players have trusted him en masse. Still, he projects with right around 5% ownership in this field at the moment. Reavie has gained over three strokes on approach his last three starts and feels like he will challenge once he pops with the putter.


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