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The Fantasy Golf Sommelier – Rocket Mortgage Classic

Greetings fellow golf addicts and welcome back to this weeks edition of the Fantasy Golf Sommelier for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. We’re in Detroit this week for just the second addition of the Rocket Mortgage and I can’t wait to get rolling even though this is the weakest field since we’ve been back. Lot’s to look forward to though this week as Detroit Golf Club is just a classic old school Donald Ross design that are fun to play and also fun to watch as we should get a ton of scoring this week based off last years edition (Nate Lashley won at freakin 25 under!). As I mentioned on the show I do expect tournament organizers to make the greens quicker and a little more rough, but these aren’t terribly difficult fairways to hit so we might not get to -25 but will definitely get some fireworks on this course this July 4th weekend.

Now how about a little wine talk. One of the themes I used to write about a lot here in the FGS but haven’t in a while is talking about the various wines and vineyards that are native to the states where the tournament that week is held in. Every time I do this I’m almost always surprised by some little nugget of wine info or discovery when I do this so let’s bring that back this week and talk about Michigan wines. Michigan actually has over 150 wineries and that number is only growing and while I can’t say I’ve actually had a wine from Michigan that number is the first thing that jumped out at me as surprising. Most of the wine in Michigan is produced within 25 miles of Lake Michigan where the conditions are the best for varietals to grow. It’s not a particularly easy region for wines with the cold temps and undpredictable weather, but Michigan is actually the most agricultrally diverse state outside of California and produces some great fantastic wine. The best wines in Michigan tend to be Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Reisling (not a big fan of this very sweet wine), Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir. Just thru some quick research it appears if you want to try a Michigan wine the most popular wineries to look out for are Bel Lago, Black Star Farms, Bry’s Estate Vineyard and Winery, and Chateau Grand Traverse. Ever heard of Ice Wine? It’s actually a thing and I’ve tried it (not too bad). Michigan is actually one of the only places in the world that makes true Ice Wine. So there you go, a little wine history from the great state of Michigan. Next time you’re visiting or in your local wine store see if you can fine some wine from the state and give it try. Wine ain’t all about just California people!

Alright! That’s all I got for this week. Let’s dive in to the Rocket Mortgage plays of the week. As always, we are going to use the classic Wine Spectator 100 point scale for the picks (think of it like a confidence factor):

  • 95-100 Classic: a great wine
  • 90-94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
  • 85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities
  • 80-84 Good: a solid well-made wine
  • 75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
  • 50-74 Not recommended (or a very shitty wine)

So, here we go, let’s stroll on down into the sommeliers’ cellar of fine golf plays for the week…

Patrick Reed – $10,500 – 95 Points – Love him or hate him ole P Reed has the perfect game to play well at Detroit Golf Club and help you end up with those green screens this week. Reed has played well all year and after barely making it thru the cut on the number last week, he played very well on the weekend including a closing 64 on Sunday where he gained over 2 strokes on the field in putting. The guys teeing it up this week will definitely have to be hot with the putter on these tricky and undulating Donald Ross greens. Reed also ranks very good in the field in Strokes Gained Approach (25th), Birdie or Better Percentage (25th), Opportunities Gained (1st), and Par 4 scoring (8th). I’ll be starting a lot of lineups with the shovel loving Masters champ this week.

Christiaan Buzuidenhout – $8,300 – 92 Points –  Typically I’ll put a little higher priced guy in this section but I’m just a huge fan of CBaz this week based off his good form this year and course fit. Christiaan has made 8/10 cuts this year including seven of those eight cuts finishing inside the top 30. Just a couple weeks ago at the RBC Heritage CBaz fired off 4 straight rounds in the 60’s and looked very solid throughout. If you look at the stats necessary to play well here Christiaan is also checking boxes ranking 13th in the field in Strokes Gained Approach, 18th in Birdie or Better percentage, and 37th in Par 4 scoring. At a current projected ownership of less that 10% percent I would feel very comfortable firing him into several tournament lineups on DraftKings.

Pop the Cork on him and Let it Breathe – This is the guy we didn’t mention on the pod but after further review, popped later in the week and is a sneaky good, possibly low owned play. 

Erik Van Rooyen $8,000 – 92 Points – Early in the week I thought there might be a chance that EVR could be somewhat chalky, but after looking at ownership projections of less than 10% I’m a big fan of the South African this week. Erik missed the cut at the Schwab but I’m going to chalk that up to being a little rusty after the 2 month break because he bounced back strong with a T21 at the Heritage. He took last week off so is rested and I believe ready to contend this week. He ranks in the top 20 in the field in 3 of my key stats (Strokes Gained Approach, Birdie or Better percentage, and Par 4 scoring) and he’s also top 10 in the field in ball striking and off the tee. All that said let’s go ahead and pop that cork on EVR this week and get some green screens!

The $10 Wine Special – Priced like a Sutter Home, plays like a Caymus!

Maverik McNealy – $7,600 – 88 Points – Maverick has been incredibly solid and consistent during his first full season on tour making 13/16 cuts with 7 finishes inside the top 35 including an 11th at the Honda Classic and back to back top 15 finishes at the Farmer’s and Pebble Beach. He took the week off after a 58th place finish in Hilton Head and I think Maverick is primed for a great week. The Stanford alum is obviously used to playing on Poa surfaces out in California and ranks 19th in the field in  Strokes Gained putting on Poa. He’s also 38th in Opportunities Gained, and 26th in Par 4 scoring. Maverick’s ownership looks to be around 10% at the moment so I think you can play him in GPP’s and even safely play in cash this week in you PGA DFS lineups.

Wes Bryan – $6,500 – 86 Points – I can’t believe I’m actually writing up Wes Bryan this week, but here we are, after year off, Wes is actually playing pretty well in just two starts into his comeback. Wes struggled a little on the weekend at Hilton Head finishing 68th, but bounced back pretty well last week with a top 25 finish. Wes can be a little erratic off the tee, but he’s always been an excellent putter and ranks in the top 25 in the field in Strokes Gained approach. I think there’s definitely some risk in playing him, but if you’re looking for a solid cheap play for the week I don’t think there are much better options than Wes. Bome.

Boone’s Farm Vintage Fade of the Week – Boone’s Farm is basically convenience store wine we drank in college and possibly could kill you (not really, but it’s gross).

Kevin Na – $9,100 – Ok I realize I’m going a little bold here as Kevin’s game is a great fit for this course but at his projected ownership of over 18% for DraftKings GPP’s I think he sets up to be a prime candidate to pivot off of. This will be Na’s first time playing here in the 2nd year of the event and frankly I’m just surprised so many are on him. You have to score a ton on this course and Kevin ranks 71st in the field in Opportunities Gained which means he hasn’t been giving himself a lot of birdie looks lately. The 5th place finish last week is great but he also missed the cut a couple weeks before that at the Schwab so it’s not like the form could be said to be consistent enough to play him at such high ownership. We also know he’s got a track record for late withdrawals which is another risk I’m just not willing to take. I say fade chalk Kevin Na this week and find some better options around him (hint, a guy just below him coming off a missed cut and will have significantly lower ownership than last week 😉 )

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