A week after one of the longest playoffs in PGA Tour history at the Travelers Championship, the Rocket Mortgage Classic tried to match it as this week’s playoffs between Joaquin Niemann, Cam Davis and Troy Merritt had five deep holes Sunday at the Detroit Golf Club.
Niemann sadly ejected early after bugging the first hole, the 18th par-4, as Davis and Merritt both hit par. The worst for Niemann was that he hadn’t done a bogey the first 72 holes of the tournamentt before hitting his approach over the back edge on the 18th and failing to move up and down for playoff par. It was an unfair ending for someone who had played so well all week.
Davis apparently was fortunate enough to be in the playoffs, when he made an eagle on the 71st regulation hole when he finished his hole from a bunker on the green. He finished with 3 more to shoot 31 in the back (with a bogey!) And squeezed through the extra holes with Merritt and Niemann.
After Niemann came out, Davis and Merritt went to the 15th par-3 hole. They both made pars and did it again on the next, and everyone started to wonder if this was really just a redux of the Travelers’ playoffs in a new town on a different route. After birdies on No. 14, I was convinced we were going to do eight more holes this weekend. However, on a return to that 15th par-3, Davis – who objectively played cleaner golf in the extra session – ultimately won the tournament.
Davis missed his birdie putt, one of the few in the final hour that would have gotten him the event, but Merritt failed to get up and down a thick rough just before the green. Davis’ look of disbelief at his first Tour win matched ours at a playoff finally ending.
“It’s pretty hectic from the 17th hole,” he told CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis. “I tried to get out of it as much as I could and hit every blow for what it was worth. As simple as that is, it’s so hard to do when the pressure is like that.”
Davis has been a good pro for some time, but his success on the PGA Tour has mostly happened since the start of 2020. His four top 10 rankings came since the Sony Open last season, the second week of a very strange year. His world ranking of 134 probably belies his skills. Davis is a very modern player – incredible at the start and strong with his iron game. The fact that his short game got him this tournament in the end should be both an encouragement for him and a harbinger of what could be if he raised the ground in these areas.
What stood out to me the most throughout the day with Davis was how confident he was on every shot. Picking up the tees before the shots hit their peak, flushing the irons in tough situations all over the yard. He looks like a star. It remains to be seen whether the 26-year-old Australian will end up being one, but during a day in a town thousands of miles from his home country, Davis hit every shot he was asked to be the best player. of the best tour this week alone. Rating: A +
Here is the rest of our notes for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Troy Merritt (2nd): Look, his playing was great all week, but I’m just here for this amazing quote from someone I never expected to say. The quote came on Saturday night as Merritt makes his way into the final pairing with Niemann. He was placing above the field average after a year in which he sometimes struggled with his flat stick.
“I just attribute it to basketball, you know, as a shooter, when you go through crises, shooters shoot,” Merritt said. “Putters have to putt, just keep hitting putts. You have to do them on the golf course, not necessarily on the green. You just have to keep that confidence in knowing that they are going to come in at some point and luckily, we reached that corner and they entered more often than not. ”
Troy Merritt drops shooters shoot lines! Note: A
Bubba Watson (T6): After his brutal arrival at the Travelers’ Championship last weekend at TPC River Highlands, Watson has been impressive over the last nine Sundays in Detroit. His 32 is a 9-stroke swing from the last nine last week, and he hit it with a birdie curler at the end. Respect for someone who last week said he just wanted the opportunity to throw up on himself again. He got it, and he did the exact opposite. Note: A
Bryson DeChambeau (MC): The big guy missed the cup on Friday and didn’t speak to the media after the first or second round, apparently because he didn’t want to address his current status with ex-caddy Tim Tucker. This, of course, sparked another string of decades-old questions about whether athletes should be required to speak to the press. I’m not very interested in the answer to this question, but I think it tells you that you read a sponsor rolodex when things are going well and you don’t chat when you aren’t. It was DeChambeau’s second missed cut of the season. Rating: F