How the Rocket Mortgage Classic 2021 Top Finishers Have Fared Since

It’s been a tumultuous year for professional golf since the PGA Tour was last in Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The defection (and subsequent blacklisting) of dozens of pros at the LIV Golf Invitational series supported by Saudi Arabia exhausted the star power of the PGA, with the third event of the new tour (at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey) going head-to-head with the fourth annual outing at the Detroit Golf Club.

This includes notable names such as former Rocket Mortgage frontman Bryson DeChambeau and fan favorite Phil Mickelson, scampering for the big (and guaranteed) money from the new competition.

FIELD:2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club: Every Player on the Course

RESTORED:The county’s request inspired Southfield Golf Course to complete a $3 million renovation

Still, the top finisher from last year’s tournament to make the jump was Jason Kokrak, who finished tied for 12th. The 11 golfers who finished ahead of him are all still on the PGA Tour (at least for now). Only five will return to Detroit.

Here’s how these top 11 have fared on tour since the PGA’s last visit to Detroit.

BUCKET LIST:Michigan’s popular golf course gets top honor for great views and vibes

SUCH QUALITY:Michigan is one of the top 10 states for private golf courses. Here are the top 15

T-8: Kevin Kisner

Kevin Kisner of the United States prepares to play on the 13th tee during the final round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland on Sunday July 17, 2022.

Last season: The Georgia alum finished his 2020-21 season with plenty of whiffs – three finishes of 63rd or worse, plus a missed cut – and a big win – earning his fourth career title (and first since 2019) at the championship Wyndham with 66s in the last two rounds in August at Greensboro, North Carolina.

This season: Kisner was equally hit or miss – birdie or bogey, in golf terms, we assume – with nine missed cuts (including a four-straight streak, including two majors, in May and June) and five top 10 finishes. His best result: Second place in match play at the World Golf Championships in Austin, Texas in May. Still, he rediscovered his mojo over the past month, entering Detroit with a T-6 finish at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut and a T-21 finish at the British Open in St. Andrews last weekend. He will be back in Detroit this week.

THE PRO-AM:Calvin Johnson and Dylan Larkin Join Izzo and Sanders in Rocket Mortgage Classic Jamming

BEST OF THE BEST:The 10 Best Golf Vacation Destinations in Northern Michigan

T-8: Seamus Power

Last season: Power also got hot shortly after his time in Detroit; after finishing eighth the following week, he won the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky in mid-July. That included a first-round 65 and a straight 67 to force a playoff with JT Poston at 21 under par. Power prevailed with a par on the sixth playoff hole – the fourth time he and Poston have played the No. 18 in the playoffs.

This season: Power’s season culminated in a tie for third place at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, despite having four more top-10 finishes. He also missed the weekend nine times, including at St. Andrews last weekend. He won’t try to make the cut in Detroit, though; he skips the Classic for the first time in four years.

T-8: Sungjae Im

Last season: The 24-year-old Korean went from Detroit to the Quad Cities for the John Deere Classic to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics; his result there (T-22) was his best until he took third place in the BMW Championship at the end of August.

This season: I started strong, winning the Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas in October, and then finished in the top 20 in four of his next five tournaments. He looked to be getting hot again heading into the summer, with three straight top 15s, but missed the cut at the US Open and Scottish Open, then tied for 81st at St. Andrews. He will also skip Detroit for the first time.

T-8: Mark Anderson

Last season: Anderson, 36, had only three finishes above 30th place: Bermuda in October 2020, Detroit and Barbasol two weeks later. He finished the season with a missed cut, a tie for 59th and a tie for 57th, and missed his PGA Tour card.

This season: The South Carolina alum didn’t fare much better on the Korn Ferry Tour, with six missed cuts and two top 10 finishes in 15 events, including a tie for second place at April’s Club Car Championship in Savannah, in Georgia. He won’t play in Detroit either.

T-6: Brandon Hagy

Brandon Hagy tees off the 16th tee during the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club on Thursday, July 1, 2021.

Last season: It was a boom or bust for the 31-year-old to complete the 2020-21 campaign. The Booms: A tie for 18th place at John Deere a week after Detroit and a fifth-place finish in the Barracuda Championship (which uses the “modified Stableford” scoring system, awarding points for scores, rather than counting against par) in Truckee, California. The busts: three failed cuts.

This season: The California native couldn’t repeat his success in Truckee, missing the cut last weekend. It is one of 16 cuts missed in 28 events this season. His best result so far? A tie for 21st in the Valspar Championship – in which he shot a 68th final round – in the Tampa Bay area in March. Hey, the Tigers looked good in Central Florida in March as well.) Hagy will look to fare better than they did in Detroit city limits this week.

T-6: Bubba Watson

Last season: The two-time Masters champion surged to Detroit with eight birdies in his final round. His end to the season was pretty much the exact opposite, tied for 51st at the 3M Open in Minnesota, tied for 46th at the Wyndham and missing the cup at the Northern Trust in the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

This season: Watson played a light charge, with just nine events – and none since a tie for 30th in the PGA Championship in late May, when the 43-year-old tore his knee. He made the cut six times, though it only featured two top-10 finishes: a tie for ninth at December’s QBE Shootout and a tie for fourth at New Orleans in April. He will also be seated in Detroit.

T-4: Hank Lebioda

February 7, 2022;  Scottsdale, Arizona, USA;  Hank Lebioda practices on the green during day one of the Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.

Last season: After shooting a 66 in the third round and a 68 in the fourth in Detroit, Lebioda followed that up with a tie for eighth place at the John Deere. But after that it went off the rails, with a withdrawal at Minnesota and missed cuts at Wyndham and the Northern Trust.

This season: The 28-year-old started his season with missed cuts in six of his first seven events. In all, he has 13 misses and 13 successes in 26 events, with a top 15 in Houston in November as his highest. He will be well rested this week in Detroit after missing last week’s cut in Truckee.

A must-play Up North: This might be Michigan’s most underrated golf course ]

T-4: Alex Noren

Last season: The 40-year-old Swede (passing through Oklahoma State) missed back-to-back cuts past Detroit, then tied for 16th at the Tokyo Olympics. This earned him a tie for fourth place in The Northern Trust and he closed with a tie for ninth place in the BMW Championship to end his season.

This season: Last weekend’s second-place finish, by one point, at the Barracuda was the best of the season (and one of only three top 10 finishes) – but it was marred slightly by Noren’s July 12 decision. Open after a tie for 30th at the Scottish Open, Noren opted to travel to Truckee for a guaranteed tournament, rather than waiting to see if a berth opened up. Two days later, TWO spots opened in St. Andrews. There’s no major conflict with the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but just to be sure, Noren is sitting this week in Detroit.

T-2: Joaquin Niemann

Joaquin Niemann tees off on the 16th hole in the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit on Sunday, July 4, 2021.

Last season: The Detroit Golf Club course seems to match the 23-year-old Chilean’s game; he finished tied for fifth in 2019, skipped the event in 2020 and tied for second last year in the three-way playoff. Also in line with his game: the course in Tokyo, where he finished tied for 10th at the Olympic Games in August. Niemann finished 29th at the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta in September, but his notable number for his final run was 113 – the minutes it took for 18 holes (playing alone thanks to a withdrawal from Brooks Koepka) to set a record at East Lake Golf Club.

This season: He should also love LA, where he picked up his second career Tour victory, at the Genesis Invitational in February. He’s been steady this year, with nine top-25 finishes and only four cuts missed in 21 events, but he’s still looking for a breakthrough at a major, finishing tied for 35th, tied for 23rd, at tied for 47th and tied for 53rd in this year’s Masters, PGA, US Open and British. He is also skipping Detroit this year.

T-2: Troy Merritt

Troy Merritt hits an approach shot from the 16th fairway during the third round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic Sudden Death Playoffs at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit on Sunday, July 4, 2021.

Last season: Maybe the Boise State alum was too busy watching his Broncos play football; Merritt made the cut in just two events after leaving Detroit — a tie for 39th at the 3M Open three weeks later, and a tie for 51st at the Barracuda.

This season: Merritt has made 16 of 22 cuts this season, but with just six top-25 and two top-10 finishes — both tied for fourth, at Pebble Beach in February and the Texas Open in San Antonio in April. More recently, Merritt followed a pair of missed cuts at the US Open and the Travelers with a tie for 30th at the Scottish Open. He will be aiming for his third straight top 10 finish in Detroit this week.

FIELD:How Rocket Mortgage Classic’s growth parallels that of Cam Davis

1: Cam Davis

Cam Davis holds the trophy after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic in five rounds of the playoffs at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit on Sunday, July 4, 2021.

Last season: Davis closed his time in Detroit – four birdies, a bogey and an eagle in the last seven holes force a playoff for five holes with Merritt and Niemann – much better than he did all season. He played five more events, with his best result coming two weeks later in Minnesota: a tie for 28th place.

This season: Maybe Davis, a 27-year-old Australian, draws his strength further north than he goes? That would explain the Seattle resident’s tie for third place at the RBC Heritage in Toronto in April, as well as his sixth-place finish at the Barracuda in Truckee — hey, that’s Northern California at least. The 6-foot-4 Davis will return to defend his title in Detroit this week. Detroit Golf Club is north of part of Canada, at least.

Contact Ryan Ford at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @theford.

Comments are closed.