Cameron Davis Completes Triumphant Day For Australian Golf
CAMERION DAVIS secured his maiden PGA Tour title, winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic after a five-hole playoff.
The Australian went eagle-birdie over his final two holes to post a five-under 67 at Detroit Golf Club, seeing him join Joaquin Niemann and Troy Merritt at the top of the leaderboard on 18 under.
The players returned to the par-four 18th for the playoff, where Niemann - who went bogey-free throughout the 72 holes - made bogey after failing to get up and down from the rough at the back of the green.
Davis was unable to convert a six-foot birdie attempt at the first extra hole and narrowly missed from 20 feet at the second, played on the par-three 15th, where Merritt produced a superb bunker save to extend the contest.
Merritt recovered from a wayward tee shot at the third extra hole to rattle in a six-footer to save par and take the pair to the par-five 14th, where both players made two-putt birdies after finding the green in two.
The pair headed back to the 15th for the fifth playoff hole, where Davis squandered another birdie opportunity but saw his victory confirmed when Merritt failed to get up and down from just off the green.
"It has been pretty hectic ever since the 17th hole for me," Davis said. "I tried to put it as much out of mind as it could and hit every shot for what it's worth. As simple as it sounds, it's so hard to do when the pressure's on like that. I didn't make any putts, but I kept on putting it in play, so it worked out alright."
Davis started the day one behind and slipped further adrift when he cancelled out a two-putt birdie at the fifth by bogeying the ninth, only for him to spark a back-nine surge when he rolled in a 20-footer at the 12th.
The world No. 134 birdied the next two holes and responded to an untimely three-putt bogey at the 16th with a spectacular bunker hole-out for eagle at the par-five next, with a six-foot birdie at the last setting the clubhouse target at 18 under.
Overnight co-leader Merritt had birdied four of his last six holes to also regain a share of the advantage, while Niemann made back-to-back birdies from the 16th to complete the trio at the top after 72 holes.Sweden's Alex Noren finished a shot off the pace in tied-fourth after matching the round of the day with an eight-under 64, with Hank Lebioda also on 17 under after failing to find a birdie over his closing five holes.
Bubba Watson jumped into tied-sixth alongside Brandon Hagy thanks to a final-round 64, while Ireland's Seamus Power carded a bogey-free 67 to end the week in a share of eighth spot.
LUCAS HERBERT won the Irish Open at Mount Juliet by three shots after a four-under-par final round of 68 but it was another bitterly disappointing tournament for home favourite Rory McIlroy, who finished with a 74 and ended the week in 59th place. It is hardly the form he was looking for with The Open just around the corner.
Not that any of that concerned Herbert, with the 25-year-old Australian holding off Rikard Karlberg of Sweden to claim his second European Tour victory. And it is a win that secures him a berth in The Open at Royal St George’s.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Herbert said. "It's a bit fulfilling, I feel I was probably at one of my low points in my life two years ago when I played at Lahinch in the Irish Open. I feel like I've done full swing and to come back around and win the event is pretty satisfying."
Shane Lowry was the highest-placed Irish player, after a strong final round of 66 left the Open champion tied for 23rd place.
Cormac Sharvin, who was the best-placed Irish player before the final round, carded a solid level-par final round to finish in 33rd in soaking conditions in Kilkenny.
After a strong four days at Mount Juliet, Herbert added to his maiden European Tour success in the 2020 Dubai Desert Classic.
Herbert had fallen out of the top 200 on the World Ranking when he won in Dubai but he will now hit a new career high, sitting just outside the top 50, and he revealed that when he was playing this event in 2019, he was not sure if Tour life as a professional golfer was for him.
"I just really wasn't enjoying my life on the road and I think at the end of that week I was pretty much questioning whether this was the career that I wanted to do," he said. "I'd never played full time on Tour with a full Tour card and been away from home so much as well. I think that was the first case of reality and I don't know that I really enjoyed it that much at the time. There was a lot of soul searching going on.
"The people around me that were the closest, that were looking after me the most, I wasn't treating them the way I probably should have. It was just a big soul search after the following week, The Scottish Open and flew home. I had to do a lot of thinking and that Irish Open was probably the low point. For it to come full circle now and be holding this trophy, it's really special."
He added: "Looking at the names on that trophy, it's pretty special, to add my name to that list is something that nobody can take away from me now and it's very, very satisfying to do it.
"I won in Dubai last year and how much that benefitted me winning the event rather than a top five or a top three. A win is so much more than a second place so I was mentally trying to keep that at the forefront of my mind today - a win is a lot bigger than just a good finish and I was proud to finish the way I did."
Holding a one-shot lead over Johannes Veerman going into the final round, Herbert picked up two birdies in the opening three holes to strengthen his lead at the top of the leaderboard.
A bogey on the fifth was his only dropped shot on the final day, and although Veerman briefly tied for the lead after the 14th, a combination of two Herbert birdies and two bogeys for the American saw the former claim victory.
Karlberg carded a five-under-par final round to become Herbert's nearest challenger, however the Swede left himself with too much to do following his opening round of 71.
After his early-weekend struggles, Lowry's score of 66 - only bettered by the seven-under-par rounds of Matthew Jordan and Oliver Farr - saw him head to Royal St George's with momentum as the Offaly player aims to defend the Open title he won at Royal Portrush two years ago.
Graeme McDowell and McIlroy finished tied for 56th and 59th respectively as both players carded two-over-par 74s to bring their disappointing tournaments to a close.
Defending champion John Caitlin had a disastrous final outing of 74, which included three bogeys and a double bogey.
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