ROCKET MORTGAGE CLASSIC
Davis Claims First Win After Three-way Playoff
Apar was all it took at the fifth playoff hole and Australia’s Cam Davis had his first US PGA Tour win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Davis had eagled the par-five 17th and birdied 18 in regulation to thrust himself into a playoff with Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann, who were all tied after 72 holes on 18-under-par 270.
It was a heartbreaking finish for Chile’s Niemann, whose only bogey of the week came at the first playoff hole; his second shot at the par-four 18th threatened the flagstick but took a hard bounce to settle in deep rough behind the green.
Davis left his six-foot birdie putt wanting, settling for a par to match Merritt. Both would par the next three holes to bring the playoff back for a second time to the par-three 15th.
Unable to get his 12-foot birdie putt to drop, Davis still emerged victorious after Merritt chipped out of deep rough only to miss his attempt at a par-saving putt.
“I just tried to put as much of it out of my mind as I possibly could and just hit every shot for what it was worth.” said Davis, who carded a five-under par final round of 67 to be the first in the clubhouse on 18-under. “As simple as it is to say, it’s hard to do when the pressure is on. I didn’t make any putts but I kept on putting it in play so it worked out all right.”
Merritt and Niemann, who started the day tied for the lead, joined Davis in providing plenty of late-round fireworks. They both birdied the 16th to share the lead at 17-under in a five-way tie when Davis holed out for eagle from a greenside bunker at the 17th, “I was just trying to hit a good bunker shot. Picked my spot and just flew it a little bit past it, jammed the flag. Those I guess are the sort of things that need to go your way if you want to keep pushing forward.”
Davis rolled in a six-footer for birdie at the 72nd hole, then Merritt and Niemann both birdied the par-five 17th to make it a three-way tie for the lead, Niemann missing a 13-foot eagle attempt that would have given him the lead outright.
Neither could birdie 18, however, Niemann finishing with four birdies in his four-under 68 and Merritt posting six birdies and two bogeys in his 68.
Niemann admitted it was gut-wrenching that his first mis-step came at the first playoff hole. “I know that I could have closed the tournament pretty early on 14,” added the Chilean, who missed a five-foot birdie chance there. “Then I couldn’t make a putt on 17 and 18. It’s just the way it works.”