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Cam Davis wins Rocket Mortgage Classic on 5th playoff hole

Cam Davis wins Rocket Mortgage Classic on 5th playoff hole

Cam Davis won the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title when Troy Merritt missed a 6-foot par putt on the fifth hole of a playoffBy LARRY LAGE AP Sports WriterJuly 5, 2021, 12:18 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleDETROIT — Cam Davis holed a 50-foot sand shot on the 71st hole of regulation and that propelled him into a five-hole playoff where he outlasted Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic for his first PGA Tour victory.“It’s the only reason I’m sitting here now,” Davis said at a news conference alongside the trophy. “To be honest, in my head there wasn’t a thought of trying to hole it.”Davis ultimately won when Merritt missed a 6-foot par putt on the fifth playoff hole.Davis missed putts to win on each of the playoff holes, but maintained his composure because he knew good shots set up putts he just missed.The 26-year-old Australian left 6- and 18-foot putts high, a 25-foot putt low and a 19-footer high. He misread a break on a 12-foot putt on the fifth playoff hole and settled for a par, then won when Merritt made bogey.“I just tried to put as much out of my mind as I could and just hit every shot for what it was worth,” Davis said. “As simple as that’s said, it’s so hard to do when the pressure’s on like that. I just kept on putting good swings on it.“I guess I didn’t make any putts, but I kept on putting it in play, so it worked out all right.”Davis closed with a 5-under 67 to match Merritt (68) and Niemann (68) at 18-under 270 at Detroit Golf Club. Niemann dropped out of the playoff with a bogey on the first extra hole, his first bogey of the week.“It’s hard to be standing here knowing that there is a playoff going on right now,” Niemann told reporters.Niemann had a chance to win it on the 72nd hole, but left a 17-foot putt high.“I should have won this tournament, but I mean, it is what it is,” Niemann said. “I’m going to go rest next week and try to do my best for the (British) Open and the Olympics.”Niemann had two shots that went 569 yards at 17 and he two-putted 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 in a five-hole stretch to share the lead at 17.Davis joined the leaders with the eagle-birdie finish.“I’ve been in some good positions before, but to play the golf that I played coming down the stretch was just awesome,” said Davis, who entered the tournament with four top-10 finishes the past two years.The 35-year-old Merritt was shooting for his third PGA Tour win and first since 2018. He has been in contention lately, but has come up just short.“It’s been a nice couple two months, four top-10s, now nice finish this week,” he said. “I just hope for that win. We’re knocking on the door.”The 22-year-old Niemann shared the second- and third-round lead and was runner-up for the third time, including coming up short in 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 the second-longest sudden death in PGA Tour history. Hickock stuck around to watch the playoff in Detroit after finishing 6 under.Alex Noren (64) had a share of the lead at 17. He got out of the heat and humidity, but planned to leave the comfortable clubhouse as soon 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 surged up the leaderboard earlier on the hot and steamy afternoon with a 64 to put him at 16 under. That briefly gave him a share of the lead, and he tied for sixth with Brandon Hagy (68).———Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/LarryLage———More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Merritt, Niemann share lead in Rocket Mortgage Classic

Merritt, Niemann share lead in Rocket Mortgage Classic

Troy Merritt aced the 219-yard 11th hole at Detroit Golf Club and shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday for a share of the lead with Joaquin Niemann in the Rocket Mortgage ClassicBy LARRY LAGE AP Sports WriterJuly 3, 2021, 10:20 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleDETROIT — Troy Merritt aced the 219-yard 11th hole at Detroit Golf Club and shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday for a share of the lead with Joaquin Niemann in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.Niemann, who shared the 36-hole lead with Tom Lewis, pulled into a tie by two-putting from 46 feet at 17. He parred the final hole, the toughest one on the course, for a 68.Hank Lebioda (66) and Cam Davis (67) were a stroke back, and Brandon Hagy (68) was another shot behind. Lewis (71) was among six players three shots back with a legitimate shot on the relatively short course with receptive greens.First-rounder leader Davis Thompson (72) was six shots back. After opening with a course-record tying 63, he has played the last 36 holes in 1 over with rounds of 73 and 72The 35-year-old Merritt made his first hole-in-one on the PGA Tour — with a 5-iron off one bounce — to give him a three-stroke advantage. He had a bogey on the next hole to cut into his cushion on a jam-packed leaderboard and he ended up losing the lead by closing with six straight pars.Merritt won his second PGA Tour title at the 2018 Barbasol Championship. The next year, he missed two months of competition due to a surgery that removed a rib after he had blood clot that run from his chest to his left elbow.He entered this week with three top-10 finishes this year — including a pair of them in May — to put him within one of matching the most he has had in a year since making his PGA Tour debut in 2010.Merritt moved atop the leaderboard quickly after starting his round Saturday at 9 under, one shot off the lead.He had four birdies through seven holes and lamented not having another, missing a 14-foot putt on the ninth hole.His ace on the par-3 11th put him at 6 under for the day. Merritt took his cap off and bowed his head, recognizing the roaring crowd, and may have had a hard time composing himself. He missed the fairway to the right on the 493-yard, par-4 12th. Then, he was long on a chip and 14-foot putt, giving him a bogey and cutting his lead to a stroke.The 22-year-old Niemann took advantage with two birdies over his last five holes to put him in a position to win for the second time on tour. He became the first player from Chile to win on the PGA Tour at The Greenbrier in 2019.Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau missed the cut and left Detroit without speaking with reporters, leaving lingering questions about making a caddie change on the eve of the tournament that he didn’t address in an Instagram post.“Did not have my best this week, but that is golf sometimes,” DeChambeau wrote.——Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/LarryLage———More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Matsuyama tests positive for COVID-19, withdraws in Detroit

Matsuyama tests positive for COVID-19, withdraws in Detroit

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from the Rocket Mortgage Classic after testing positive for COVID-19By LARRY LAGE AP Sports WriterJuly 2, 2021, 7:17 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleDETROIT — Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from the Rocket Mortgage Classic after testing positive for COVID-19.The PGA Tour made the announcement Friday just before Matsuyama was scheduled to start his second round. Tour officials were unable to say whether Matsuyama has been vaccinated. The PGA Tour, though, does not test fully vaccinated players.“I will take all the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all others,” he said in a statement. “I appreciate and thank everyone for their concern in advance. I look forward to full recovery and returning to competition as soon as possible.”Matsuyama shot an even-par 72 on Thursday, playing with PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.Mickelson and Fowler were informed of Matsuyama’s positive test shortly before they began play Friday. According to the PGA Tour’s COVID-19 protocols, Mickelson and Fowler were not subject to contact tracing.At least 35 players have had to withdraw because of a positive test and Matsuyama is the fifth in the middle of a tournament since the testing program began last June.In two weeks, the world’s top golfers will no longer be required to test for COVID-19. The final PGA Tour event for testing, not including the majors, will be the Barbasol Championship on July 15-18.———Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/LarryLage———More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Davis Thompson shoots 63, takes lead at Rocket Classic

Davis Thompson shoots 63, takes lead at Rocket Classic

DETROIT — Davis Thompson, in his third PGA Tour event as a professional, is leading the Rocket Mortgage Classic.He’s not excited about that fact. Yet.“Sounds good on Sunday,” Thompson said after matching a Detroit Golf Club record with a 9-under 63 to take the early first-round lead. “It’s only Thursday. I know I’ve got a long way to go.”Brandon Hagy, Tom Lewis and Joaquin Niemann were two shots back. Seamus Power and J.J. Spaun shot 66, putting them another stroke behind the surprising leader.Thompson is in the field as a sponsor exemption after sending an email to tournament officials, asking for a spot. The 22-year-old former University of Georgia star missed the cut last week at the Travelers Championship after tying for 35th in his pro debut at the Palmetto Championship earlier in June.It is unlikely anyone saw his breakthrough round coming after he was a combined 6-over par in six previous starts — four as an amateur — on the PGA Tour. Thompson did show a flash of promise when he competed in the 2020 U.S. Open as an amateur, opening with a 69 before missing the cut at 7-over 147.Thompson took advantage of favorable conditions with rain-softened greens and light wind Thursday morning at Detroit Golf Club, missing only one green and needing just 26 putts in his bogey-free round with nine birdies.“If the putter gets hot, you can just kind of ride that wave throughout the day,” he said.Thompson resumed his round after play was suspended due to inclement weather for three-plus hours. He tied the course record shared by Nate Lashley, who won the inaugural event in 2019, and J.T. Poston.“I’ve played in a few pro events now, so you’ve just got to keep your emotions in check,” Thompson said. “Anything can happen. I know I’m playing well, so I’m just going to have some confidence going into (Friday) and hopefully I can play another good round.”Players with afternoon tee times had to endure a long wait to begin playing and wind that was 5 to 10 mph stronger than it was in the morning. Twenty-seven players will finish their first round early Saturday morning before playing the second round.Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau got off to a shaky start, a day after parting ways with caddie Tim Tucker. He replaced him for this week with Cobra-Puma Golf tour operations manager Ben Schomin, who said he was a caddie in competition for the first time.DeChambeau, No. 6 in the world ranking, is trying to successfully defend a PGA Tour title for the first time. He had a chance two weeks ago to repeat at the U.S. Open, but went from leading the major with nine holes left to faltering and finishing in a tie for 26th.And now, the big hitter might not make the cut and that would be a blow for him and the Detroit-based company that pays him as part of an endorsement deal.DeChambeau missed the fairway to the right at Nos. 2 and 3, leading to bogeys. At the par-3, 184-yard ninth hole, he was short off the tee, on his chip and 10-foot putt to put another bogey on his card that dropped him to even-par 36 at the turn.DeChambeau had nine pars on the back nine, closing with a 72 to leave him nine shots behind Thompson. He declined to be interviewed Thursday night.Phil Mickelson entered the Rocket Mortgage Classic for the first time in the event’s three-year history and said it will be his last appearance.Mickelson said he will not come back due to a report by The Detroit News that was published this week. The newspaper obtained federal court records from 2007, detailing how a Michigan-based bookie was accused of cheating Mickelson out of $500,000.“It was so much effort for me to be here and to have that type of unnecessary attack,” he said. “Not like I care, it happened 20-something years ago, it’s just the lack of appreciation.”The 51-year-old Mickelson shot a 69, marking the sixth time he has been under par out of 11 rounds since he became the oldest major winner at the PGA Championship in May.———Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/larrylage———More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

DeChambeau aims to repeat in Detroit, hopes luck on his side

DeChambeau aims to repeat in Detroit, hopes luck on his side

DETROIT — Bryson DeChambeau is shooting to be a repeat champion for the first time on the PGA Tour.And he’s hoping to be more fortunate than the last time he defended a title.The big hitter is back at Detroit Golf Club — where he won the Rocket Mortgage Classic last year by three shots — after collapsing with a chance to win the U.S. Open in consecutive years.DeChambeau has had nearly two weeks to analyze why he went from leading with nine holes to play at Torrey Pines to plummeting to a tie for 26th, nine strokes behind Jon Rahm.So, what went wrong?“Just luck,” he told reporters Wednesday.DeChambeau nodded without saying a word and punched his right hand into his left palm when asked a follow-up question. Minutes later, he was more forthcoming when the topic was broached again and went into hole-by-hole detail about his U.S. Open meltdown.“It’s just things compounding on each other that you just can’t necessarily control fully,” he said. “You hit a great shot, nothing happened for you.”That’s luck.”DeChambeau acknowledged he got some breaks during his breakthrough performance at Winged Foot last year when he won the U.S. Open.“People don’t realize how much luck plays a big factor,” DeChambeau said. “You can control a lot, but at the end of the day still, luck is a huge component of it.”Apparently, Patrick Reed counts himself among the people who do not think luck is a pivotal factor that determines who wins on the PGA Tour.“The guy who wins golf tournaments is usually the guy who’s playing best that week and is out there doing everything a little better than everyone else,” he said. “That’s what it takes to win golf tournaments. Four days, 72 holes, you’re going to get good bounces, you’re going to get bad bounces.”Tournament officials are desperately hoping weather conditions go their way after a storm flooded sections of a highway and scores of homes near Detroit Golf Club during the Motor City’s rainiest day in 80 years.Before he arrived in town, Reed was stunned by the images of the course.“When they showed me a picture off of 10 tee, you saw the tee box and it just looked like a lake,” he recalled. “You couldn’t see the bunkers that you’re trying to carry on the left or the ones on the right. And 18, you saw a little bit of grass, but everything was under water. And 15, it was the tee box, and then after the tee box it was basically just nothing but water into the bunker that’s just short of the green.”“Got to give all the credit to the superintendents and the people around here to get this place in that good of shape.”Adding to the challenges for the tournament in its third year, the power went out early Wednesday morning at Detroit Golf Club.“We don’t need power to go out to the golf course outside,” Reed said.He went on to say, however, that not having air conditioning in the clubhouse could potentially pose a problem.“If power stayed out for a while, especially how hot and humid it gets here, you would get pretty sticky in (the clubhouse),” Reed said. “It’s just another little thing to add that you have to be mentally strong for and handle because anytime you get those little curveballs thrown at you, you have to figure out a way to just keep on pushing and get through it.”Just two players ranked in the top 10 in the world — DeChambeau and Reed — and five of the top 25 are competing in Detroit this week. The field also includes 51-year-old Phil Mickelson, who missed a cut and finished tied for 62nd and 61st in three events since becoming the oldest major champion at the PGA Championship.“It’s still a strong field,” DeChambeau insisted. “Anytime you’ve got players in the top 50, 100, they’re still great players. We’re all really good, we’re within a couple shots of each other, so anybody can win.”———Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/larrylage———More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Schoop homers again, Tigers beat skidding Cardinals 6-2

Schoop homers again, Tigers beat skidding Cardinals 6-2

Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homer and two-run double to help the Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2By LARRY LAGE AP Sports WriterJune 23, 2021, 9:20 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleDETROIT — The Detroit Tigers are on a relative roll, winning three straight games for the second time in a 10-day stretch.Jonathan Schoop has had a lot to do with it.Schoop hit a solo homer and a two-run double to help the Tigers beat the skidding St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 Wednesday.Schoop has hit 10 home runs this month, including one in an 8-2 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday night.“It’s something special because the hard work is paying off,” Schoop said. “I just have to keep it up. There were some good stretches (previously), but this is one of the best.”While the Tigers are playing well despite being 10 games under .500, St. Louis is going in the opposite direction.The Cardinals have lost five of six. Since leading the NL Central nearly a month ago, they have lost 16 of 22 games in large part because starting pitchers and hitters are struggling.“It’s not a good recipe for shaking hands consistently,” manager Mike Shildt said. “We have to find a solution to both, or at least one.”Matt Manning (1-1) allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings. It was his second career start and first at Comerica Park, where his parents were among the fans in the stands that gave him a standing ovation.“I took him out kind of early, wanting him to experience some success,” manager A.J. Hinch said.Gregory Soto, Jose Cisnero and Michael Fulmer combined to pitch 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.John Gant (3-4) lasted just three-plus innings. He gave up three runs on two hits and four walks after entering the game leading the majors with 48 walks.“I just have to throw more strikes, attack the zone a little better and pitch a little deeper into games,” he said. “I didn’t give the team a great chance to win with my outing.”Gant’s outing ended when Daz Cameron hit a tiebreaking, solo home run in the fourth inning.Ryan Helsley followed and Schoop hit his 15th homer off the reliever in the fifth to put the Tigers ahead 4-2. They added extra runs to provide a cushion that didn’t prove to be necessary.The offensively challenged Cardinals scored a run in the second on Nolan Arenado’s solo homer and went ahead 2-0 in the third on Tommy Edman’s single.Schoop tied it with a double in the bottom of the third.“His presence in our lineup is just different,” Hinch said. “We know he’s capable of doing anything. All of us want Jonathan up to bat as much as possible.”HE SAID ITHinch, a former major league catcher, acknowledged even he gets mesmerized by Cardinals superstar Yadier Molina“I get caught watching him behind the plate,” Hinch said. “He’s the marquee guy in the league. He’s a future Hall of Famer.”TRAINER’S ROOMCardinals: RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon was placed on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder injury Wednesday, a day after leaving a game in the fifth inning with a shoulder injury. RHP Seth Elledge came up from Triple-A Memphis to take Ponce de Leon’s roster spot.Ponce de Leon missed three weeks earlier this year with a shoulder ailment.“It’s not in the exact same spot as last time, but it’s just fatigue,” Shildt said.RHP Kodi Whitley (back spasms) has been throwing and is getting closer to a rehab assignmentTigers: Miguel Cabrera was not in the lineup after leaving the game the previous night with calf stiffness, but he was available to pinch-hit. … OF Robbie Grossman was given the day off with a non-COVID virus.UP NEXTThe Tigers continue a homestand on Thursday night with a four-game series against Houston. St. Louis opens a seven-game homestand Thursday night against Pittsburgh.“We have a lot of guys who know how to win, but we’re just not winning right now,” Shildt said.———More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports