DETROIT – Cam Davis shot 50 feet of sand in hole 71, leading him to the five-hole playoffs where he outlasted Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic for his first PGA Tour win.
“This is the only reason I’m sitting here right now,” Davis said at a press conference along with the trophy. “To be honest, there was no thought in my head about punching a hole.”
Davis ultimately won when Merritt missed a 6-foot doubles shot in the fifth hole of the playoffs.
Davis missed shots to win every hole in the playoffs, but kept his composure because he knew good shots set shots he had just missed.
The 26-year-old Australian left a putt 6 and 18 feet high, 25 feet high and 19 feet high. He misread the 12-foot hit break on the fifth hole in the playoffs and settled on a par and then won when Merritt made a bogeyman.
“I just tried to get the best I could out of my head and just hit every blow, no matter what it cost,” Davis said. “As simple as it is, it’s so difficult to do with this pressure. I just kept rocking it.
“I guess I didn’t make any putt, but I kept using it, so it worked out well.”
Davis finished with a score of 5 or under 67 to match Merritt (68) and Niemann (68) with 18 and 270 at the Detroit Golf Club. Niemann dropped out of the playoffs with a ghost on the first extra hole, his first ghost of the week.
“It’s hard to stand here knowing the playoffs are in progress,” Niemann told reporters.
Niemann had a chance to win it in the 72nd hole, but left the shot 17 feet high.
“I should have won this tournament, but I mean this is what it is,” Niemann said. “I’m going to rest next week and will try to do my best for the (British) Open and the Olympic Games.”
Niemann had two shots that went 569 yards in 17th and took two shots from 14ft to get ahead in 18th, but he quickly got company.
Merritt, who was in the last group with Niemann, made his fourth bird in five holes and tied the lead in 17th place.
Davis joined the leaders with a bird-eagle finish.
“I have had some good positions before, but the golf that I played in the background was just great,” said Davis, who has competed in a four-hit tournament in the top 10 over the past two years.
The 35-year-old Merritt has been aiming for his third PGA Tour win and his first since 2018. He’s been at odds lately, but he hasn’t had enough.
“It was a great couple for two months, four top 10 competitors, and now it’s a great conclusion this week,” he said. “I just hope for this victory. We’re knocking on the door. “
Niemann, 22, shared the lead in the second and third rounds and finished second for the third time, including losing in the playoffs of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Last week’s Travelers Championship, Harris English defeated Kramer Hickock in the eight-hole playoffs in the second-longest sudden death in PGA Tour history. Hickok stayed behind to watch the playoffs in Detroit after finishing 6 under.
Alex Noren (64) was in the lead at 17. He got out because of the heat and humidity, but planned to leave the comfortable club as soon as someone got ahead of him, and this happened to three members. Noren tied for fourth with Hank Lebioda (68).
Bubba Watson climbed the leaderboard on an earlier hot and hot afternoon from 64, which put him 16 lower. This briefly gave him a share of the lead, and he tied for sixth place with Brandon Hagey (68).