In the last two weeks of the PGA tour, the intensity of twilight has been significantly disrupted. But someone has to pay the bill. It was Kramer Hickok last week. This week, after Troy Merritt pushed a five-meter doubles to the right of the cup, he got stuck with a ledge.
Cam Davis was the beneficiary of Merritt’s misfortune, taking his first title in the Rocket Mortgage Classic in the fifth hole of the Sudden Death Playoff, which also featured Joaquin Niemann, who died suddenly in first place. playoff hole. A native of Sydney, Australia, Davis did not win the title on a hot Sunday in Detroit. Not at all. He landed a series of impressively good pressure shots overtime at a Detroit golf club only to land a series of not-so-good shots that kept Merritt on the sidelines and hope.
In all five holes of the playoffs, Davis was victorious on his stick and was unable to get rid of the pesky Idahoan as they swapped Parsis, just like Hickok had done a week earlier at the Travelers’ Championship before Harris English finally finished it on the eighth extra hole with a bird. … … Normal was enough this time around, and the transplanted Australian, who now lives in Seattle, was the seventh winner of this extended season.
“I just kept doing my best,” said 26-year-old Davis, a 6ft 4in who has had a chance to win since January and has only made the top 10 twice this season. “I did a lot of good putts and a couple of not so good putts, but I thought some of them have a chance to go in up to a few feet. I had to keep playing and give myself a chance, that’s all I tried to do. Everything worked out well. “
It was the fourth of July, and there was a fireworks display, and Davis took care of that before his regular overtime work. Throughout the day, he did remarkable results across the board – a game average of 69.649 – Davis needed something special and he got it on the 17th par-5 hole when he hit the bunker on the eagle. He then scored 18 from six feet for five to 67 and entered the house from 18 to 270, one better than Alex Noren, who had long been the club leader at age 17 after 64.
“This is the only reason I’m sitting here right now,” Davis said of a bunker shot that “jammed the flag” after he splashed out a little aggressively but got help from the flagpole. “I don’t know, I guess these are the things to do your way if you want to keep moving forward.”
Niemann and Merritt, co-leaders of the third round, eventually joined him with the birds at 17, but in the end were unable to defeat the winner. Each closed with 68. Merritt, 35, the only American among the trios and the crowd favorite on Independence Day, has scored four of his last six in a late burst that nearly paid off in his third tour title and his first in three years.
A few words about 22-year-old Niemann, who did everything necessary to win the tournament, except for the lowest score. On 72 holes, the guy did not make a scarecrow. Too bad he had to go 73. He hit a wedge from 144 yards on the first hole of the playoffs, which revealed a gross lie that a cow couldn’t swallow. He dropped to 41 feet and ended up just inches off par to stay in the playoffs. The Chilean native earned his third runner-up of the season and became the second player of the year to complete 72 holes without a scarecrow, joining Andrew Putnam at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. There have been nine playoffs this season, with Niemann losing two of them and losing the other to the Englishman in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Davis, the 2017 Australian Open winner, has never made the playoffs. At least he couldn’t remember being in one of them. He couldn’t think of a single experience that would prepare him for the pressure he faced in trying to win the tour – something, as he said Saturday, “I’ve worked my whole life.”
Due to the pandemic, he hasn’t seen his swing coach since 2019 and he came to the event after a three week hiatus and nothing better than the lone top 25 since February. But he spent some time at home with Neil Smith, a leading golf psychologist, and he believed that things changed as the pressure continued to rise and he continued to let Merritt off the hook.
“We did a lot of work on the routine, and that’s the kind of thing we have to do,” Davis said. “I really have no past experience to prepare me for this. A few years ago, the Australian Open was similar in the sense that I didn’t really know where I was standing when I finished the last couple of holes and I was able to hit some good holes and cross the finish line. I guess I didn’t think about it today. I just thought about all the things that I had been doing this whole week up to this point and just tried to keep going. It’s just a repetition of all this. “
In the end, the repetition paid off. This is usually the case in golf. He was worth $ 1.35 million and had some job security.
Davis made his way to his 71st start on the PGA Tour, and the former Mackenzie Tour and Korn Ferry Tour player, ranked 134th in the world, was still aware of what he had done.
“It’s still so surreal for me. I used to have some good positions, but playing the golf I played downhill was amazing, ”he said. “So I’m sure I can look back, I’m sure some of it is on camera, so I can also relive some moments and enjoy it again. But it was amazing. I am very, very happy with the place where I am sitting now. “