The Rocket Mortgage Classic was a new addition to the PGA Tour in 2019. Although it replaced the Quicken Loans National on the schedule, this is a brand new tournament in its own right with its own set of records starting with Nate Lashley’s win in 2019.
Quicken Loans, the parent company of Rocket Mortgage, is a proudly Detroit-based company and they have made sure that this tournament is a celebration of Motor City. Detroit Golf Club was the first host venue for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, becoming the first venue inside the Detroit city limits to host a PGA Tour event.
|2022||Detroit Golf Club||Tony Finau|
|2021||Detroit Golf Club||Cam Davis|
|2020||Detroit Golf Club||Bryson DeChambeau|
|2019||Detroit Golf Club||Nate Lashley|
2022: Tony Finau
Who said that Tony Finau doesn’t know how to close out a PGA Tour event? The American who had to wait over five years between his first and second tour win secured his third and fourth in consecutive weeks when routing the field in the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic. Could the big hitter be about to deliver on his huge potential?
Spurred on by his win at the 3M Open, Finau arrived in Detroit full of confidence and from the first moment he found himself in contention there was a sense of inevitability about another victory. That is a very different feeling to years gone by but no more is Finau the nearly-man of the PGA Tour. His game was sharp from tee to green and, as one of the best athletes in the game, Finau showed no sign of fatigue as the tournament wore on.
Such was Finau’s dominance after 72 holes that there weren’t even any nearly men in behind him. Patrick Cantlay, Taylor Pendrith and Cameron Young were all five shots back of the runaway leader. Of that trio, Pendrith had the most reason to be disappointed as he lost his lead over the course of the weekend. The 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic wasn’t about hard luck stories though, it was all about Finau’s brilliance.
2021: Cam Davis
Cam Davis could be forgiven for feeling more than a little bit annoyed by Troy Merritt. The 26 year old Australian was giving all that he had in pursuit of a first PGA Tour win but he just could not shake off Merritt in the closing stages of the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic. That was until the fifth hole of a playoff when Merritt finally ran out of energy and Davis made that long-awaited breakthrough.
Merritt’s Sunday started slowly. Making the turn in even par was not enough and made Davis and Joaquin Niemann the favourites for the win. He would soon turn it around and ended so strongly that he forced both Davis and Niemann to make late birdies just to make it into a three-man playoff. If it seemed as though he had the momentum going into extra holes, that soon faded as Merritt somehow managed to cling on with Davis passing up several good chances to make the birdie he needed to win.
As frustrated as Davis was with his inability to get the job done, he deserves praise for not beating himself up. It would have been easy to view each missed chance as the end of this golden opportunity but he kept going to grind down first Niemann and then Merritt and emerge victorious from this extended version of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
2020: Bryson DeChambeau
A look at the shots gained statistics for the Rocket Mortgage Classic show that driving accuracy is much more important at Detroit Golf Club than most golf courses used on the PGA Tour. However, it was the biggest hitter on the PGA Tour, Bryson DeChambeau, who ended up winning the second edition of the tournament by three shots.
As with any PGA Tour winner, there was more than one impressive aspect of DeChambeau’s game. Indeed, he gained more strokes on the field with his putter than with his driver but there is no doubting that his play off the tee set the tone for an aggressive style of golf. Even with only two events to go on, it is clear that aggression is key at Detroit Golf Club as DeChambeau’s winning score of -23 was two shots lower than Nate Lashley the previous year.
For DeChambeau, this was the start of the validation of the process he undertook to transform his body and his golf game. His reading of the stats is that the further he can hit it, the more wins he will rack up over the course of his career and after a win as stunning as this, who could argue with him?
2019: Nate Lashley
Nate Lashley got an idea that scoring was going to be very low at the inaugural edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic when his opening round of 63 was good enough for just a one-shot lead by the end of Thursday’s play. The two players who were just one shot away, Ryan Armour and Nick Watney, failed to hack the pace and both ended up in a tie for 46th place whereas Lashley kept his foot to the gas, firing in a 67 on Friday, another 63 on Friday and then holding on in more difficult conditions on Sunday with a round of 70. Combined, that made a remarkable score of 25 under par which was enough for a six-shot victory over Doc Redman.
Lashley’s incredible scoring across the four days is only a part of the tale of his first PGA Tour win. His week began in disappointment when he failed to play his way into the tournament via Monday qualifying (where he was edged out by Redman) but started looking up on Wednesday as the late withdrawal of David Berganio Jr gave him a fortuitous route into the event as the third and final alternate.
Understandably, Lashley was a real underdog and attracted very little support in the betting at a general price of 250/1. He was soon making a mockery of those odds and ensuring job security on the PGA Tour for the next two years with his stunning wire to wire win.