September 19, 2021

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Rocket Mortgage: Thompson Leads After Thursday

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Personally, I can’t remember the last time a PGA tour stop went without a weather problem. The memorial brought, as always, one rain delay after another, and even a downpour along the way Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa fought on the 71st hole. The Palmetto Championship was a swift storm, much to the horror JT Poston and caddy Aaron Flener.

Both the US Open and Travelers Championship have been postponed, albeit for a different reason, as fog was to blame for the past two weeks. Unfortunately, this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic was the same story. Plagued by heavy rains last week, the Detroit forecast continued. A three-hour and 15-minute rain delay occurred as the players teeing off in the morning finished their first round.

The only man, or should I say, the youngest University of Georgia alum who made the most of the soft conditions was Davis Thompson. After a decorated amateur career that also made a lot of noise at the 2020 US Open in Winged Foot, Thompson has since turned pro.

On the way to the Detroit Golf Club’s course record, Thompson carded nine birdies against nine pars. Thompson sits at 9-under and owns a two-stroke lead that goes into Friday’s game. With the recent influx of young stars in recent years like Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, and Matthew Wolff, we may still have a fearless twenty-year-old in hand.

With Thompson and many others down Thursday, not everyone was equally lucky. Was most prominent Bryson DeChambeau’s bad game. When the news of DeChambeau and longtime caddy Tim Tucker split a few hours before his tee time, his world must have turned. With a new man in his luggage, the defending champion looked a bit disoriented for most of the day and was never able to join his group.

DeChambeau, the strong pre-tournament favorite, is on par for the tournament, nine strokes behind Thompson. Despite the high deficit PointsBet sports betting has DeChambeau at +3300 as he will try to make up ground tomorrow morning.

Updated odds (odds via PointsBet):

+550: Joaquin Niemann

+1400: Davis Thompson

+1800: Matthew Wolff

+2000: Jason Day

+2500: Kevin Kisner, Patrick Reed, Tom Lewis

+2800: Seamus power

+3000: Garrick Higgo, Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson

+3300: Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Kokrak

+4000: Brandon leave, Chris Kirk

+5000: Bubba Watson, Danny Willett, Hideki Matsuyama, Maverick McNealy, Pat Perez, Troy Merritt

Round 2 games (odds via PointsBet):

Jason Kokrak (+3300 to win):

I usually don’t add full selections before the weekend as it hasn’t worked out for us in the past (see just Max Homa last week). However, Niemann, who sits near the top of the leaderboard, inflates a lot of the numbers once you overcome that at 5 under. I go down a little further and double up again, but this time with Kokrak.

I’m on a pre-tournament ticket myself and like to reinvest for longer chances of winning. Kokrak is currently fifth in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and played a round with 3 under on Thursday. He’s six strokes back, but the putter was a huge disappointment on lap 1 and should hopefully recover in the next three days.

With numerous three-putts and short failures on the greens, Kokrak should like, where he is with 54 holes to go. He will have the opportunity to get things going early Friday morning after the first round is complete. The two-time PGA Tour winner just has to fix the mistakes as he made seven birdies on Thursday and should continue to do so later in the week.

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Phil Mickelson (+12500 to win):

Playing with Mickelson this early in the tournament will either blow me up or make me look like a genius. With odds this high, I’m ready to bet on the latter as he played on Thursday and has been extremely encouraging lately. After stalling for most of his first round, Mickelson came out of the rain delay fire and turned three birdies opportunities in a row.

He left the course and discussed with Golf Channel exactly what needs to happen in the future and, simply put, he said he needed to do more putts. Despite sitting at 3 under, Mickelson lost nearly two shots on the greens and did nothing outside of 10 feet.

More notably, he discussed the significance of the argument. Since this is a Ryder Cup year, many eager eyes will look at Captain Steve Stricker in a few months. Whether you agree or not, Mickelson is on the shortlist of potential captains and he wants to do everything in his power to make himself more tempting.

He understands that he needs to publish more high quality results and compete more often. I believe that Mickelson, with his tee-to-green game, which is currently in 10th place, will make a difference on the greens in the next three days and shoot his way up the leaderboard.

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