This article is part of our PrizePicks Golf series.
PrizePicks offers a unique twist on DFS play in the form of Over/Under picks for individual players in almost every sport imaginable. You have the opportunity to pick two, three or four players per entry, and the goal is to predict whether the individual player will end up over or under the projected total PrizePicks provides. For PGA play, you are required to pick at least one Over and one Under play. The legend for scoring in this format is as follows:
|Double Eagle or Better||13|
|Double Bogey or Worse||-1|
Unlike your usual PGA DFS platforms, PrizePicks offers PGA gameplay on a per-round basis, not for an entire tournament. So, the projected totals you see today are for the individual rounds on Thursday, and once Thursday's round commences, you will see updated numbers for Friday, and so on.
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This week the Tour will venture into uncharted territory. Not only is the Rocket Mortgage Classic a brand-new tournament, but the Detroit Golf Club has never hosted a Tour event Let's go over this new layout as we make our picks for the opening round.
Detroit Golf Club (North Course) – Par 72, 7,334 yards
This Donald Ross-designed course is no pushover when it comes to length. The layout favors the guys with the long ball, and with four Par 5's there should be plenty of birdie opportunities, and possibly a few eagles – which are rewarded handsomely with 8 points in this format. There are also some short Par 4's to take advantage of, so placement off the tee will play an important role as well. Since this new event is sandwiched in between two Majors, we aren't going to see a strong field this week, but there are a few of the usual suspects who will be in town to tackle this unfamiliar layout. I'll freely admit I know about as much about this course as the rest of you, but from the scorecard, I suspect this tournament will score like some of the weaker events, with final scores likely ranging from 11-under to 14-under.
Weather will not play a role in the opening round, but a sustained wind will yield a bit more length from the fairways as they dry out later in the day.
As I've said before, Overs are tough to come by on PrizePicks, so more often than not I will avoid the prohibitively high O/U's and look to the bottom of the slate for potential in that category, and make multiple Under picks in the upper echelon of players. Overall, I find this to be the soundest weekly strategy to employ.
Sungjae Im – 19.0
Simply put, Im has played in a lot of events this season, and I think he experienced some serious fatigue in April and May. He's turned it on in recent weeks with respectable finishes in both the Canadian Open and the Travelers, and his stats are solid indicators that he could make another good showing this week. He is in the Top 10 in Birdie Or Better Percentage and Par 4 Scoring and fares well in most of the other vital stats I am targeting. His only blemish in my book is that he ranks a paltry 72nd in Round 1 Scoring Average, but when you consider how he's played some tough courses this season with no prior history to draw from, his ability to adapt to this unfamiliar course will play to his strengths.
Chez Reavie – 20.0
Some might find this threshold to be a tad too high, but why not ride the hot hand? Reavie blitzed the field over the weekend at the Travelers, and all he'll need is an eagle (24th on Tour with 8) to boost his totals up. He ranks an impressive 3rd on Tour in Round 1 Scoring and 9th in Par 4 Scoring Average. His birdie or better percentage (45th) is just so-so, and he isn't the longest guy on Tour, but we saw last weekend how he could set a scorecard on fire. I'll bank on his hot streak to continue in Detroit.
Charles Howell III – 18.5
Howell has cooled off a bit after a hot start this season, but he took a few weeks off after the U.S Open and is finally returning to action. The driver is going to be the difference maker for Howell this week. He's one of the longest on Tour and is usually reasonably accurate, and he's also dialed in on approaches from 100-125 yards (24th). He only needs to post 4-under to get over the hump, and I think he's an excellent candidate to get there.
Patrick Reed -19.0
I'm throwing most of the stats out the window with this pick. The somewhat volatile club-snapper has lost his way a bit, and despite his length, I don't know if he'll be able to rally to a low score in the first round. He doesn't fare badly on Thursdays, but his ability to adapt to unfamiliar territory scares me a bit. For a guy with his length, he doesn't do exceptionally well on Par 5's (82nd on Tour with 4.63), and he'll need to take advantage of those holes if he's going to get anywhere this week.
Dustin Johnson – 22.5
I feel like I am going to keep dodging the bullet with DJ and somewhere down the line he is going to burn me severely, but he's only come out of the gate this fast once or twice in the past couple of years, and usually does his damage on moving day. I don't have to tell you that his length and accuracy lay right into the sweet spot on this course, but as I said, this is uncharted territory for everybody. Almost all of the players will be saddled with reads on greens they've never seen, and the putter is the club that has betrayed DJ the most this season. Despite his superior numbers, I think he'll lose some strokes on the greens this week.
Jason Kokrak – 19.0
Kokrak played himself right out of the Travelers last week, and that has to be a hit to his confidence on a course that set up well for him. To see him break 19 would be a huge surprise here, although he did get two extra days to travel. I don't know that it'll make much of a difference. His stats across the board in my targeted categories are somewhat solid, but he is one of the Tour's slowest out of the gate (164th in Round 1 Scoring Average), and I think you can hang an Under on him based on that stat alone. I believe he's the safest under on the board this week.