Rocket Mortgage Classic 2021: Cam Davis Tops Troy Merritt, Joaquin Niemann in Playoff

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 4, 2021

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JULY 04: Cam Davis of Australia plays his shot from the fourth tee during the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on July 04, 2021 at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Cam Davis outlasted Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann in a three-way playoff on the way to winning the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic.

The course at Detroit Golf Club produced low scores throughout the week leading up to the fourth round on the Fourth of July. It meant a lot of birdies were needed to keep pace with the rest of the field and climb the leaderboard.

All three leaders did their jobs Sunday while finishing 18 strokes under par for the tournament, requiring an extra five holes to settle the event.

Niemann lost on a bogey on the first playoff hole, while a par on No. 15 was enough to help Davis come away with his first career PGA Tour win after Merritt bogeyed the par-three hole.

Final Leaderboard 

1. Cam Davis (-18)

T2. Troy Merritt (-18)

T2. Joaquin Niemann (-18)

T4. Alex Noren (-17)

T4. Hank Lebioda (-17)

T6. Bubba Watson (-16)

T6. Brandon Hagy (-16)

T8. Mark Anderson (-15)

T8. Sungjae Im (-15)

T8. Seamus Power (-15)

T8. Kevin Kisner (-15)

Full results and stats available at PGATour.com

Four rounds in the 60s is usually enough to separate yourself from the field on the PGA Tour, but Niemann, Merritt and Davis all accomplished the feat and remained tied after 72 holes at minus-18.

It led to a playoff, which had a surprising start with Niemann eliminated on the first hole. The 22-year-old didn't have a single bogey through four rounds, but carded his first one in the playoff to lose his chance at a win.

Davis, meanwhile, had birdie putts to win the championship on each of the first two playoff holes but missed each one.


THIS close to ending it ... <a href="https://twitter.com/camdavisgolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CamDavisGolf</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/TROYMERRITT_PGA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TroyMerritt_PGA</a> head to their third playoff hole (16) <a href="https://twitter.com/RocketClassic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RocketClassic</a>. <a href="https://t.co/ZBeSjVl4fX">pic.twitter.com/ZBeSjVl4fX</a>

Davis and Merritt matched pars on the first three playoff holes before each birdied the fourth one.

The fifth playoff hole finally ended the tournament on a mistake by Merritt, who missed the green on the par-three and then couldn't save par. Even with an anticlimactic ending, Davis became the deserved champion after an outstanding four days of action. 


Cam Davis wins the <a href="https://twitter.com/RocketClassic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RocketClassic</a> after an exciting playoff with Troy Merritt! <br><br>This is Cam Davis' first PGA Tour event win. <a href="https://t.co/6TGZfgbuP1">pic.twitter.com/6TGZfgbuP1</a>

Davis finished one-under in five playoff holes and ended his round in impressive fashion with a chip-in eagle on 17:


CAM DAVIS! GOODNESS GRACIOUS! <br><br>He is tied for the lead at -17!! <br><br>📺 | CBS <a href="https://t.co/wraLkW2dKd">pic.twitter.com/wraLkW2dKd</a>

Another birdie on 18 gave the Australian a 67 for the round, enough to put him in position for victory.

A playoff seemed almost inevitable considering how many players were in the running for a win. Niemann and Merritt began the day as co-leaders, although there was a long list of players who got at least a share of the lead throughout the round.


Jason Kokrak has birdied the last 5 holes and he is now tied for the lead 🤯<br><br>📺 | CBS <a href="https://t.co/1fTtuIrI49">pic.twitter.com/1fTtuIrI49</a>


Bubba with the birdie at 15 to tie the leader at -15. He is 7-under today. 👏<br><br>📺 | CBS <a href="https://t.co/x4nb4x6mTi">pic.twitter.com/x4nb4x6mTi</a>


We have a new leader! Alex Noren nails the birdie to go to -16. <br><br>📺 | CBS <a href="https://t.co/YR48MhaqA3">pic.twitter.com/YR48MhaqA3</a>

Bubba Watson was the first contender in the clubhouse at 16-under, a major turnaround after barely making the cut after Round 2.


A new clubhouse leader.<a href="https://twitter.com/bubbawatson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BubbaWatson</a> birdies 18 to tie the lead. <a href="https://t.co/i0CtKH2GmS">pic.twitter.com/i0CtKH2GmS</a>

Alex Noren then set the bar even higher with his final round of 64, making 17-under the mark to beat.

The Swedish golfer reached the green in regulation in 16 of 18 holes, excelling on his approach shots on the way to matching his lowest round on the PGA Tour.


Alex Noren is dialed in to finish his final round. <br><br>📺 | CBS <a href="https://t.co/CiS5DscGun">pic.twitter.com/CiS5DscGun</a>

Hank Lebioda, Merritt and Niemann all eventually tied for the lead at minus-17, while Cam Davis joined the group in dramatic fashion for a five-way tie.

Additional birdies by Davis, Merritt and Niemann put them all at 18 strokes under par, eventually forcing a playoff.

It took five more holes before Davis was able to come away with the win.

The John Deere Classic is scheduled to begin Thursday in Silvis, Illinois, but you can expect many top golfers to begin preparing for The Open Championship starting on July 15 from Royal St. George's Golf Course in Kent, England.