DETROIT (AP) – Cam Davis hit a 50-foot sand shot on the 71st hole of regulation and that propelled him to a five-hole playoff where he beat Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic for his first win. on the PGA Tour. .
“It’s the only reason I’m sitting here right now,” Davis said at a news conference next to the trophy. “To be honest, there wasn’t a thought in my head of trying to hide it.”
Davis finally won when Merritt missed a 6-foot par putt on the fifth hole of the playoffs.
Davis missed putts to win every hole in the playoffs, but kept his composure because he knew good shots set up the putts he just missed.
The 26-year-old Australian dropped 6 and 18 foot high putts, a 25 foot low putt and a 19 foot high putt. He misinterpreted a break on a 12-foot putt on the fifth playoff hole and settled for a par, then won when Merritt bogeyed.
“I tried to get everything I could out of my mind and hit every shot for what it was worth,” Davis said. “As simple as it is said, it is very difficult to do when the pressure is like this. I kept doing good swings.
“I guess I didn’t hit a putt, but I kept putting it into play, so it worked well.”
Davis closed at 67 under 5 to match Merritt (68) and Niemann (68) at 270 under 18 at Detroit Golf Club. Niemann left the playoffs with a bogey on the first extra hole, his first bogey of the week.
“It’s hard to stand here knowing that there is a playoff right now,” Niemann told reporters.
Niemann had a chance to win it at the 72nd hole, but he dropped a 17-foot-high putt.
“I should have won this tournament, but I mean, it is what it is,” Niemann said. “I’m going to rest next week and try to do my best for the (British) Open and the Olympics.”
Niemann had two shots that went for 569 yards at 17 and threw two putts from 14 feet to take the lead at 18 under, but he quickly had company.
Merritt, who was in the final group with Niemann, made his fourth birdie on a five-hole stage to share the lead at 17.
Davis joined the leaders with the eagle-birdie finish.
“I’ve been in good positions before, but playing the golf I played down the stretch was just incredible,” said Davis, who entered the tournament with four top-10 finishes in the past two years.
The 35-year-old Merritt was aiming for his third PGA Tour victory and his first since 2018. He’s been in contention lately, but he’s fallen short.
“They have been a good couple two months, four top 10s, now a good finish this week,” he said. “I just hope that victory. We are knocking on the door.”
Niemann, 22, shared the second and third round lead and was runner-up for the third time, including missing a playoff at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Last week at the Travelers Championship, Harris English beat Kramer Hickok in an eight-hole playoff that tied for the second longest sudden death in PGA Tour history. Hickock stayed to watch the playoffs in Detroit after finishing 6 under.
Alex Noren (64) had a share of the lead with 17. He came out of the heat and humidity, but planned to leave the comfortable clubhouse as soon as someone was a stroke ahead of him and that happened with a trio of competitors. Noren tied for fourth with Hank Lebioda (68).
Bubba Watson moved up the rankings earlier in the hot and smoky afternoon with a 64 to place him at 16 under. That briefly gave him a share of the lead and he tied for sixth with Brandon Hagy (68).