Expect Golf Motor City madness

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If you’re a PGA Tour player looking to make a name for yourself, this should be one of your best opportunities to shine and maybe pick up a win along the way.

With the action fast and furious as the chase for the FedEx Cup playoffs spots heat up, the PGA Tour tees it up in Detroit, Mich., with the Rocket Mortgage Classic. It’s the fourth week back from the shutdown so forgive everybody if they aren’t quite sure which time zone they are in, which golf course they are playing or even what day it is. The Tour has gone from Texas to South Carolina to Connecticut and now into Michigan over the last month.

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And that might be the biggest reason we see many of the major players taking a break this week. That makes it ideal for those looking to get into the Top 125 or to move further up the ladder.

The star power this week is certainly down from the first three tournaments. There is no Rory McIlroy, no Dustin Johnson, no Brooks Koepka, no Justin Thomas, no Justin Rose. But there are top-tier names here: Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson to name a few. However, this might be one of those weeks to look for another long shot winner. (See Daniel Berger at 80-1 in the Tour’s return a few weeks ago).

It has been a whirlwind three weeks as players fight for points and it’s only going to get tougher. There are no weeks without tournament action through the playoffs in late August. That’s a lot of golf. But there’s more. The next wraparound season kicks in the next week after they crown the FedEx Cup champ. In fact, the first open weekend with no PGA Tour events is Thanksgiving and a lot of guys will definitely give thanks for having a week off where they don’t have to worry about losing ground.

We have a few questions we’re pondering as we search for a winner this week: Is anyone making their fourth straight start with good average finishes? Who’s making just a second or third start and may be a little fresher? Who’s maybe making his first start and could come out of the gate red-hot?

Most of the fields in an average PGA Tour event are a round of 62 early in the week from being in the hunt or a faltering round of 74 from missing out on the weekend action. It’s that volatile right now.

So with that in mind, we’re thinking there’s a decent chance this week that someone still looking for that big break gets the win and all the accolades that go with it. Just ask Nate Lashely, last year’s champ here. He won the event, his first on the PGA Tour, after getting into the field as the seventh alternate.

We’re going to be all over the board this week but we’re going to tab Viktor Hovland at 20-1 as the main pick. He’s got a PGA Tour victory, but it comes with one of those asterisks alongside it as he won an alternate field event in Puerto Rico back in February before the shutdown.

Hovland was T-13 here last year and had a miraculous weekend to do that as he made the cut on the number. His finish included a final-round 64 to vault up the leaderboard in just his second start as a pro. The first three weeks since the Tour has returned he’s gone from T-23 to T-21 to T-11 so he’s moving in the right direction.

We’re also going to go with a long, long shot in Will Gordon at 100-1 as one of our picks. Getting the chance to play on the PGA Tour is quite a change from his usual stomping grounds — the Mackenzie Tour in Canada — and he’s hoping these starts pay off even more. He made an early splash last week in the Travelers (playing on a sponsor’s exemption) and is getting the chance to play back-to-back weeks. When he gets a chance for PGA Tour play, he makes the most of it. He was T-3 this past weekend and was invited to play last fall at the RSM Classic on Sea Island and wound up T-10.

About the Author

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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