Davis wins 2nd Rocket Mortgage Classic after Bhatia 3-putts 18th hole

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DETROIT — Cam Davis was preparing for a playoff when Akshay Bhatia’s four-foot putt started left, went right, touched the edge of the cup and rolled away.

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Joy and pain.

Davis won the Rocket Mortgage Classic for the second time, closing with a 2-under 70 on Sunday that gave him a one-shot victory when Bhatia three-putted from 32 feet on the final hole.

“I wouldn’t wish what happened to Akshay on anyone,” Davis said. “But I’ve done a lot of grinding to kind of get myself out of a hole and just all of a sudden to do that, it’s pretty good.”

Davis, who won his only other PGA Tour title three years ago at Detroit Golf Club, had not finished better than 38th in six starts since he tied for 12th at the Masters in April, his best result of the season.

“I started working with a hypnotherapist a few weeks ago just to take another angle into trying to get myself sorted out,” he said. “I saw a little bit of a spark last week, but nothing to show this (was) coming.

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“This is crazy.”

The 29-year-old Australian pulled into a tie with Bhatia with a birdie on the par-5 17th hole.

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That proved to be enough when the left-handed Bhatia, who uses a long putter, watched his short par attempt on the 18th miss low and right for his first three-putt of the week.

“Just a little bit of nerves, honestly,” Bhatia said. “I’m human.”

Davis finished at 18-under 270 on a day of missed opportunities for the final pairing of Bhatia and Aaron Rai, each of whom shot an even-par 72. Davis Thompson (68) and Min Woo Lee (69) also finished one shot back.

Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., shot even par on Sunday and finished tied for 17th at 12 under. Roger Sloan of Calgary finished tied for 31st at 9 under, and Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., finished tied for 72nd at 2 under.

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Davis, who entered the tournament ranked 67th in the world, became the first two-time winner of the event since its debut on the PGA Tour schedule in 2019.

“It’s just nice to know that I can get my hands on another trophy,” he said.

The 22-year-old Bhatia was seeking his third PGA Tour title and second this year after leading or sharing the lead after each of the first three rounds. He was coming off a fifth-place finish at the Travelers Championship, where he was in the final group that was disrupted by climate protesters storming the 18th green.

“I know how to close a golf tournament. I’ve done it before,” Bhatia said. “Just today wasn’t my day.”

Cameron Young shot 73 and plummeted to sixth place with two bogeys over the last three holes.

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The pressure to win for the first time on tour may have gotten the best of Young, who has been a runner-up seven times, on the par-5 14th when his drive travelled 254 yards into the rough way left of the fairway.

With the ball in flight, Young pushed his driver into the tee box and broke the shaft. He was unable to replace it for the rest of the round.

Davis surged into a tie for the lead with three birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine.

Earlier in the afternoon, there were signs that it might not be Bhatia’s day.

Rai, who shared the second- and third-round leads with Bhatia, went ahead on the first hole after hitting his approach from 142 yards to five feet for birdie.

Bhatia fell two shots back on the par-4 third hole, where his approach settled in thick rough. He only advanced his chip nine feet, leading to bogey.

Bhatia responded with a 31-foot birdie putt on the par-5 fourth, the first of just two birdies on the day. He was 17 under through three rounds, but the missed putt will be the lasting memory of his week.

“It’s a very tough situation to be in for him and for someone to be the benefactor of that is a bit of a weird situation to be in,” Davis said. “At the same time, just so much relief because it has been a long time since I’ve come out on top.

“I’m going to make sure I start enjoying it and really appreciating it.”

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