A celebration on July 4 that ended in the wee hours and a nightmare travel day finally caught up with Cam Davis.
Just four days after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic, his first PGA Tour title, in a five-hole playoff against Troy Merritt, the 26-year-old Aussie was dominating rain-softened TPC Deere Run in Thursday’s first round of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois. Racking up four birdies and an eagle through his first 11 holes, Davis led by two shots before his play turned a bit sour.
Which isn’t surprising since he stayed up until 2 a.m. Monday reveling in his Rocket Mortgage victory with Five Guys burgers and a shake and watching a re-run of the final round. He would have recovered from that but ran into a canceled plane the next day and was forced to drive more than 400 miles to get to the John Deere Classic. A couple of light days at the course on Tuesday and Wednesday recharged the batteries just a tad.
While others charged home – Chez Reavie and Camillo Villegas set the pace with bogey-free, 7-under-par 64s and 2016 John Deere champion Ryan Moore shot 65 – Davis made two sloppy bogeys in his last five holes to shoot 67.
“First 11 holes were pretty much just cruising around like I was last week,” Davis said. “It was a little scratchy toward the end, but the swing didn’t feel too much different, just hit the ball in a couple of rough spots.
“I’m definitely a little more fatigued than I was after the first round last week, so I’m just going to take it easy this afternoon. I’ve got a late tee time tomorrow, got plenty of time to relax, and hopefully by the time I get to tomorrow I’ll be back to 100 percent and ready to go again.”
Davis will get plenty of rest and relaxation next week. He was the first alternate for the British Open and would have gotten into golf’s oldest championship when Kevin Na withdrew but he can’t leave the country.
“I got married last year in September and decided to start the green card process to make traveling in and out of the country so much easier,” Davis said. “But unfortunately I’m not going to be able to leave the States while that’s getting processed. That means I’m not able to go next week, but I’m looking forward to seeing my family and celebrating back in Seattle and recharging a little bit because this week is already a bit of a grind to get through.
“I’m pretty tired. It’ll be nice to relax. I had no expectations for today really. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep playing well or if there was going to be a bit of a lull after all that, but I’m very happy to keep it going.”
Reavie got going with a new putter.
“I lengthened it a little bit and took a degree of loft off of it and it looked quite a bit better to me on the ground,” said Reavie. “I think it had a little too much loft before, looked a little left to me, so once it started looking better, I really putted well.
“You’re going to have to shoot low for sure. You’re going to have to make birdies. The biggest thing is just to not make bogeys. It’s easy to make bogeys out there if you hit it in the rough, and so if you don’t make bogeys you have plenty of birdie opportunities.”
Villegas has good vibes at TPC Deere Run; he cashed his first PGA Tour paycheck here in 2004, winning $8,284.
“I remember parring the ninth hole to make the cut,” he said. “There’s great people around this town. They put a great show, they put a great tournament. I love this place. I love this place.
“Anytime you play you look back and you say, ‘Man I could have made this or that,’ but you also could have made bogey here or there. You’re never going to complain about a 7-under start, so again, I didn’t make any bogeys, I gave myself chances and made some putts here and there, and a solid start.”