Davis on top after wild finish at Rocket Mortgage Classic

Mark McGowan

Cameron Davis (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Australian Cameron Davis held his nerve as all around him were losing theirs and his reward was a second Rocket Mortgage Classic victory in Motor City.

Playing in the penultimate group alongside fellow Cameron in the big-hitting yet criminally underachieving Cameron Young, the 2022 Presidents Cup International Team member started the final round one shot back from England’s Aaron Rai and Akshay Bhatia, one of the brightest up-and-coming stars on the PGA Tour.

As the rounded for home, it was anybody’s tournament as Min Woo Lee twice holed out from off the green to force his way to the top alongside Bhatia and Davis, with Young, Rai, and Davis Thompson all sitting one back.

Lee would blink first, overhitting his approach to the last and a heavy-handed chip resulted in a bogey which, by his own admission, was likely one stroke too many. Young, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour despite being a regular contender, snapped the shaft of his driver after hooking one off the tee on the par-5 14th and was forced to use 3-wood on both the par-5 17th and par-4 18th holes, ultimately bogeying both to slip to T6.

Rai birdied the 14th to join the group at -17 who were al trailing by one, but four closing pars would see him come up one shy.

Davis bogeyed the par-5 14th, but was the only one of the final four to birdie the 17th, and that got him back to -18. A clutch up-and-down on the last was crucial, but Bhatia had a makeable birdie putt on 17 that he missed wide right and then left himself a 30-footer for the win on 18. Tentatively played, it came up four-and-a-half feet short and after starting his par-putt outside the left edge, the ball swung hard right and barely touched the lip as it slipped past and handed Davis the victory.

“It was a rollercoaster of emotions at the end there,” Davis said in his winner’s press conference. “Honestly, I felt like I had done a pretty good job of really not knowing where I stood on the leaderboard. I felt like honestly so much, especially that back nine, just moment after moment of could have been awesome but just didn’t quite happen, I felt like it just wasn’t going to be my day. I was honestly very surprised that I was tied for the lead with the last group coming down 18, I guess I’ve been here before, I need to go get ready for another playoff.

“And when Akshay missed that putt, it’s a combination of shock and feeling bad for him, but at the same time just realizing that the huge burden of trying to win again is off the shoulders. Still in a little bit of shock, it doesn’t really feel real right now.”

Along with a first prize cheque of over $1.5 million, he climbs into the top-40 in the FedEx Rankings and takes a big step towards making it back-to-back Presidents Cup appearances, though the win comes too late to force his way into the Australian team heading to Paris for the Olympic Games.

“I don’t really know if they’ve changed my goals,” he said of his rise up the rankings. “It’s just really nice to know that I can get my hands on another trophy. I missed the boat, I guess I just missed the boat on the Olympics, this win’s come a little bit late for that big goal of the year, but I’ve got two more big goals of finishing high on the FedExCup and also trying to get on that Presidents Cup team. Just to know that the good golf is in there and was able to come out this week, I want to just keep that rolling. I’ve still got plenty to play for this year.”


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