World No. 13 Will Zalatoris finished the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic strong, shooting a 7-under 65 in the final round Sunday at Detroit Golf Club.
One of the best names in the field, Zalatoris finished tied for 20th with a 13-under 275. He improved dramatically in the final round after shooting 70, 71 and 69 the first three days.
“I just didn’t get much out of rounds the first two days,” Zalatoris said. “I drove it amazingly. (Troy Denton, PGA Pro) and I spent a lot of time working on the driver after The Open Championship. … It was nice to see everything click today.
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On Sunday, Zalatoris hit 10 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens in regulation time while birding eight against a bogey. He nearly made the par-3 No. 15 but his tee shot bounced just past the cut before rolling to the side.
He’s looked awfully close to winning a major all season, with second-place finishes at the US Open and the PGA Championship. Zalatoris really wants this win – or just a first PGA Tour victory.
“I would pay a lot of money for about an inch and a half, that’s for sure,” Zalatoris said. “We would at least have a trophy now. We’re close, we just have to keep doing what we’re doing, and the first will come.
Next week, Zalatoris will travel to Greensboro, North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship. He won’t have much time to rest before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs at the St. Jude Championship the following weekend in Memphis, Tennessee.
He’ll have to pull through though, as his performance in Detroit likely dropped him just outside the FedEx Cup top 10.
“I’m 25, so if you hear me say I’m tired, I probably need to get my head checked,” Zalatoris said. “Next week is sort of a home game in some ways, given that I’ve been to Wake Forest, and obviously that’s kind of the part of the season you’re preparing for, playing five straight away to finish the season. Like I said, I’m young, I can handle it.
Brehm back home
Mount Pleasant native Ryan Brehm shot 70 on Sunday to finish the Rocket Mortgage Classic tied for 57th at 7 under. The former Michigan State star shot 69 on Thursday, 70 on Friday and 72 on Saturday.
“Frustrated with how I ended each day,” Brehm said. “I didn’t ride well enough to really make a good finish. I did some things well. I just have to close it on the last holes. I think every day, whether it was a putt or an errant shot, I just didn’t take enough opportunities.
“But that said, we played four days, so every time you play four days, you refine things and move on to the next week, try to keep the good and work on the bad.”
Brehm, 36, previously fired 20 cents to win the Puerto Rico Open in March to retain his PGA Tour card. His other best results of the season include a tie for 14th place at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, a tie for 81st place at the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky and a tie for 31st place at the 3M Open last weekend in Minnesota.
On Sunday, Brehm birdied numbers 13-15 but followed with bogeys on numbers 16 and 18. Brehm thinks his biggest problem right now is the putt and said he will work on being more constant on the green in the future.
Additionally, Brehm said he enjoyed playing in his home country this week. When not touring, Brehm lives in Traverse City and enjoys hunting and boating in northern Michigan. He also remains an avid fan of his alma mater and has been “blown away” by the evolution of MSU’s golf facility since turning pro in 2008.
“It’s remarkable,” Brehm said. “So I really think the opportunities are there. And let’s be honest, the college game, like all college sports, there really is no limit to where they can go to practice. … (For me), I’m just happy to be back in Detroit and playing golf.
Fellow MSU golfer James Piot won the US Amateur title last year, before turning pro this year and defecting to the LIV Golf Tour.
Kim shoots cool 63
Joohyung Kim became the second player to tie the course record this weekend, shooting a 9-under 63 on Sunday. He matched star rookie British Open runner-up Cameron Young, who accomplished the feat on Friday.
“From tee to green, I felt really solid,” Kim said. “I was hitting the shots I needed and also made a lot of putts today. So definitely happy. No bogeys on the scoreboard, just birdies and an eagle, so really satisfied.
The 20-year-old birdied five of the front nine and started the back nine with an eagle on No. 10, followed by birdies on 13 and 17. The South Korea native’s seventh-place finish unless 18, is expected. to earn him a PGA Tour card for next season.
“It means everything,” Kim said. “Every day I played golf I thought about playing on the PGA Tour, it was nothing else. Today might get a little emotional tonight, but it’s definitely been a dream, it’s been a road and hopefully next season I’ll be here full time.
Contact Mason Young: MEYoung@freepress.com Follow him on Twitter: @Mason_Young_0