05 June 2021: The heat from an eight-hole playoff between Harris English and Kramer Hickok had barely simmered. And the Rocket Mortgage Classic produced yet another thriller. Cameron Davis, Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann were all tied at the end of the week, needing a five hole playoff to produce another first time winner on the PGA TOUR.
Hickok, who endured heartbreak when English made birdie on the eighth playoff hole last week was around the green watching Merritt miss a six footer on the par-3 15th hole to hand victory to Davis.
“It was a long playoff,” said the 26-year-old Australian. “We did get close to last week, but just glad I finished the way I did.”
Earlier, Niemann made bogey on the first to exit the battle, leaving Merritt and Davis to fight for the title.
Davis produced some late magic to force his way into the playoff.
He produced a stunning eagle from the bunker at the 17th hole to bring himself within a stroke of the lead. Davis added a birdie from inside seven feet on the 18th to secure his spot alongside those in the final group – Merritt and Niemann.
“It’s still so surreal for me,” added Davis. “I’ve been in some good positions before, but to play the golf that I played coming down the stretch was just awesome.”
Merritt remained in the hunt for a third title on the TOUR with some solid approach shots and clutch putting during the playoff, much of it to save par.
But his tee shot on the par-3 15th bounced back off the green into the rough. And despite a valiant effort, it was all he could do to keep the playoff going.
“Cam did what he had to do,” said Merritt, “he put it on the green every hole, had a chance to win five times, hit great putts and he just played fantastic. My hat’s off to him. We gave it all we had, it was just not quite good enough.”
Victory helped Davis qualify for the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, his first WGC.
Patton Kizzire and Bubba Watson shot 64, playing among the early groups. Watson even briefly enjoyed a share of the clubhouse lead at 16-under. Watson was in contention at the Travelers before bleeding shots over the final stretch last week. Alex Noren also shot 64 to finish one stroke ahead of Watson.