Monday Finish: DeChambeau wins Rocket Mortgage his way
Heavier, stronger and longer-hitting, he overpowers Detroit Golf Club
July 06, 2020
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Bryson DeChambeau’s Round 4 highlights from Rocket Mortgage
DETROIT – Bryson DeChambeau birdies three of the first four holes to seize the lead, and when it gets tight on the back nine he birdies three in a row to finish. His final-round, 7-under 65 is more than good enough to salt away the Rocket Mortgage Classic for his sixth PGA TOUR title. He moves from 12th to 4th in the FedExCup and serves notices that his new style, otherworldly power combined with astonishing touch, might just be changing the game.
Welcome to the Monday Finish.
THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS
1. He was a master of both touch and power. DeChambeau said he had heard the Donald Ross layout was a bomber’s paradise, and finding that to be the case, he took full advantage, nearly driving the green at the short par-4 first and 13th holes. He led the field in driving distance – he was outdriving even the TOUR’s longest hitters by as many as 30 yards – and in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (6.672). But in a first for the ShotLink era, the winner also led in Strokes Gained: Putting (7.831). That’s a fearsome combination.
2. He didn’t crumble on 14. The par-5 14th was like a par 4 for DeChambeau, but he hacked his second shot out from the right trees, through the fairway and into the water hazard. Things were not going well, with Matthew Wolff finally finding his game and making a run in the group behind him. Still, DeChambeau didn’t panic. He took a drop, gave himself a par putt (he missed), and resolved to not let the bogey ruin his day. “I held my head high and I was able to almost make par,” he said, “but I just kept moving forward.”
3. He had perfect timing. As DeChambeau eyed his birdie putt from just over 30 feet at the 16th hole, it was time to make something happen. Wolff had bounced back from his own failure to birdie 14 – after being just behind the green in two – with a birdie at the 15th. DeChambeau’s comfortable lead was now down to a shot, but not to worry. He rolled in the 30-footer at 16 for birdie to restore a two-stroke lead, then gave Wolff no chance by making more birdies on 17 (an easy two-putt after hitting the green) and 18 (huge drive, stuck the approach to inside four feet). DeChambeau’s start (three birdies in first four holes) and finish (three straight) were impeccable.
McNealy has Motor City roots
Stanford product Maverick McNealy isn’t just a product of Silicon Valley, where his dad Scott founded Sun Microsystems. Before that, Scott McNealy lived in Detroit, and Maverick and his three brothers, Dakota, Colt and Scout, are all named after cars.
“My dad grew up here in Detroit and my grandpa worked for American Motors,” said McNealy, who shot a final-round 66 to finish 15 under and T8. “… It's fun thinking back the last time I was here was when my dad caddied for me at the U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills a couple years ago.
“Our family all drives American cars,” he added. “I've got my mom's old Ford Explorer and we have two Explorers and two F‑150s in the family right now between my brothers and I. It's special.”
One brother, he added, is just finishing up his computer science degree at Stanford while working for Autonomic, which McNealy described as Ford's cloud computing capability.
“A lot of Motor City connections with our family,” McNealy said. His final round would’ve been even better were it not for a missed four-foot birdie putt on 18. Still, he was pleased with the performance. “Making East Lake is my goal this year,” he said.
Hubbard marches to own drummer
Colorado native Mark Hubbard, who now lives in Houston, shot 72 to finish T12. In the third round he played alongside DeChambeau, presenting viewers with a drastic contrast in styles. “Me and my caddie were joking about it on the first tee,” said Hubbard, a devout skier. “I don't know if there's two more polar opposite people or players on the PGA TOUR.”
DeChambeau’s epic tee shots bring down rain; Hubbard’s low ones run forever. DeChambeau is the Mad Scientist; Hubbard admitted he hadn’t heard about “specs” on a golf club until he was a freshman at San Jose State. Basically, he said, “I just kind of see it and hit it.”
His only equipment quirk is his 33-inch putter; he bends so much at the waist to putt that his torso verges on horizontal. “I just see the lines better down there,” he said.
His pairing with DeChambeau reached its comic apex at the par-5 14th hole, after DeChambeau “hit his usual drive about 100 past me,” said Hubbard, who was well back in the right rough. When CBS on-course reporter Trevor Immelman asked what club DeChambeau had used, and was told 8-iron, Hubbard chirped that he himself had only needed a 9-iron.
“So I one upped him,” he said, “but mine was a layup to 85 yards.”
Hubbard (69) was beating DeChambeau (67) until a four-shot swing in the last three holes.
“It’s nice to actually play on the weekend.” – Rickie Fowler, who moved up the board with a final-round 67 (14 under, T12) after earlier making his first cut since the Return to Golf.
“It’s been a long week, mentally draining week.” – Cameron Champ, a late addition to the field after being medically cleared. He flew in Thursday and shot a final-round 66 (T12).
“The level of play on TOUR these first four weeks has been incredible.” – Kevin Kisner (66, solo third, his best result since winning the 2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play)
The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 is a season-long competition that offers a $10 million bonus for the 10 golfers who end the regular season at the Wyndham Championship inside the top 10 in FedExCup points. The player atop the standings will earn $2 million, with varying payoffs for the others through $500,000 for the 10th place finisher.
Bryson DeChambeau enters the Top 10 at No. 4 after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic, while Lanto Griffin shoots a final-round 69 for a T21 in Detroit to inch up one spot. Webb Simpson (70, T8), meanwhile, maintains the top spot in the standings.
Here’s how the standings look heading into this week’s Workday Charity Open.
THIS WEEK LAST WEEK PLAYER 1. 1.
6. 5. Patrick Reed