Rocket Mortgage Classic Each-Way Tips: Niemann can take flight in Detroit

Chile's Joaquin Niemann
Joaquin Niemann can take victory

After his 35/1 selection Harris English won the Travelers Championship, Dave Tindall is back with three tips for the action at Detroit Golf Club...

"Last year's 1-2, DeChambeau and Wolff, help the angle that big hitting and holing lots of putts is a great recipe for Detroit Golf Club and Niemann ticks those boxes: he's 9th in Driving Distance and 32nd in SG: Putting."

Back Joaquin Niemann E/W @ 29.028/1

Main Bet: Joaquin Niemann each-way @ 29.028/1

The winners of the two editions of the Rocket Mortgage Classic shot a combined 48-under so this event immediately gets 'birdie-fest' stamped all over it.

That's one angle in but then things start to break down a little.

In 2020 Bryson DeChambeau beat Matthew Wolff, the two currently ranking first and sixth in the Driving Distance charts.

In 2019, Nate Lashley came home in front of Doc Redman. That duo rank 146th and 125th for DD this season. Well, at least all four are Americans.

Stats-wise, there are some contradictions too. For example, Lashley was sixth in Approach but DeChambeau recorded negative numbers in that category.

At least the SG: Putting numbers offer some comfort with DeChambeau first and Lashley second.

DeChambeau was fourth for Birdie Average in that 2020 season although you'd expect that from a player of his quality.

This week's venue is a Donald Ross course and that can go in the useful clue column as there seems to be some decent correlation with the Wyndham Championship.

Patrick Reed and Brandt Snedeker are former winners at Sedgefield and both made the top five here in 2020. That event has been won with either 21 or 22-under in the last five years so it's similar scoring levels to Detroit.

Reed has a big chance I feel this week although 14s is about right in this field.

To be honest, it's not the easiest week but one player who fits the bill quite nicely is Joaquin Niemann.

The Chilean is 16th in Birdie Average this season and finished tied fifth in this event on his only start in 2019.

He shot rounds of 68-66-69-68 that week, ranking 10th in Approach and scoring well in all categories.

Last year's 1-2, DeChambeau and Wolff, certainly help the angle that big hitting and holing lots of putts is a great recipe for Detroit Golf Club and Niemann ticks those boxes: he's ninth in Driving Distance and 32nd in SG: Putting.

His current form is consistent rather than flashy but bookend 68s and a Friday 67 at last week's Travelers hint at better things.

He's got a decent record at Sedgefield and his one victory on the PGA Tour - the 2019 Military Tribute at The Greenbrier - was achieved in 21-under.

Earlier in the season he had back-to-back second places at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and Sony Open with 25-under and 20-under respectively so, scoring-wise, this event is most certainly in his wheelhouse.

Take Niemann at 28/1.

Next Best: Maverick McNealy each-way @ 56.055/1

Maverick McNealy seems a good name to win a tournament with Rocket in the title but there are some more down to earth reasons why he can take flight.

The 25-year-old from California who did a degree in Science and Engineering (another good omen!) ranks 40th in Birdie Average this season and was 29th in the last one so makes a bunch of red numbers.

He was a runner-up at Pebble Beach earlier this season with 16-under and added a top four in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.

In his latest two starts, McNealy posted 20th in the Charles Schwab Challenge and 30th in last week's Travelers. He shot a 63 in the former and a 65 in the latter.

He gives his Rocket chances another boost thanks to last year's debut at the course. The Stanford grad shot 68-68-71-66 and finished in a tie for eighth.

McNealy also offered up some useful background when speaking to the press.

After his second-round 68, he revealed: "Very comfortable on poa annua and bluegrass, bentgrass, all this mix we see around here, it's stuff I grew up on on the west coast.

"And I'm excited that if I can start to hit a few more greens, then I can shoot low scores."

And then there's the family connection. "It's really special to come here, too, because my dad grew up here in Detroit and my grandpa worked for American Motors.

"My three brothers and I are all named after American cars actually because of the Detroit connection. It's fun thinking back the last time I was here was when my dad caddied for me at the US Amateur at Oakland Hills a couple years ago."

Other relevant stats: McNealy ranked first for Strokes Gained: Off the Tee last week (DeChambeau was first for that same category here in 2020) while he's improved his SG: Putting performance in each of his last three starts.

There's plenty to like so take the 55/1.

Final Bet: Doc Redman each-way @ 51.050/1

On first glance, Doc Redman's ranking of 137th in Birdie Average looks a little off-putting.

But he was in the top 25% for birdie makers in the previous campaign and recorded 19 circles on his scorecard (T7 for birdies) when runner-up at the Palmetto Championship two starts ago.

He opened with 65 there and went one better than that on day one of the Byron Nelson, using that strong start to finish in a tie for ninth so he's had some strong form through May and June.

Redman, who was also in the top 20 at last week's Travelers after two rounds, is certainly a fan of Detroit Golf Club on the evidence of the last two years.

He was runner-up in the inaugural event in 2019 and started out with a 65 last year before taking tied 21st.

Delving into his numbers, he's putted well on both visits: 11th for SGP in 2019 and 17th in 2020. Redman was also 10th for SG: Tee To Green on debut two years ago.

There's a sense that we're still waiting for his career to take off following his 2017 US Amateur win but he's building steadily (20th and 29th in his last two majors is a good sign) and backing Redman at 50/1 in a weak field like this seems a decent move when putting everything together.

The case for him can also include his top three at Ross's Sedgefield in 2020 when he fired 64-63 in the middle two rounds.

Others I looked at were Cameron Tringale, Charley Hoffman and Max Homa.

It's never easy to guess on any given week who will wield the hottest putter but hopefully our trio can get in the mix.

Dave's 2020/2021 P/L

Staked: £1110.00
Returned: £2222.12
P/L: +£1112.12

2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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