Rocket Mortgage Classic defending champion Cam Davis played his best round of this year's event Saturday, shooting a 7-under 65 at Detroit Golf Club.
At the time, Davis moved into a tie for fourth place with a 10-under 206, though he fell down the leaderboard as the afternoon continued with players pouring in birdies. He hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation during Round 3 and finished two strokes off the course record, which he could've tied with two birdies in the final four holes.
His approach from the rough on No. 17 helped him notch one birdie and gave him a chance for the record on No. 18. However, he overshot the green on the final hole and couldn't get up-and-down, finishing with his only bogey on the day. Still, he climbed more than 50 spots to reach a tie for 16th going into the final round.
"Today was really solid," Davis said. "It was a nice bounce-back from yesterday where I felt like for at least the first few holes, I feel like I completely lost my swing. I had no idea where it went. On the back, got some good stuff going yesterday afternoon and then brought it into today and made some putts with it today as well. A little sour end there with a wedge, but 17 really good solid holes."
Tyler Duncan and Taylor Moore also shot 65, with Duncan getting to 11 under par and a tie for 12th and Moore reaching 13-under, good for a tie for seventh.For the late golfers, Tony Finau, Cameron Young and Stephan Jaeger also filed 65s on Saturday.
Davis was grouped with Finau, last week's 3M Open winner and the world No. 16, and 2019 Rocket champion Nate Lashley in the opening rounds. Adding evidence of the Rocket Mortgage Classic's improved field, Finau provided an immediate challenge to Davis' repeat hopes.
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Finau recorded an 8-under 64 Thursday for a strong start and stood tall on a blustery Friday afternoon, tallying six birdies for a 6-under 66. The wind bothered Davis, as he shot a 1-over 73 and carded three bogeys, including a double on the par-4 2nd.
"They both have a lot of game and were playing really well," Davis said of Finau and Lashley. "It was just a windy afternoon yesterday following the really calm morning of Thursday, which it felt like (Saturday) morning, to be honest. It felt like it was perfect scoring conditions. And playing with someone like Tony, who's playing really well and making the most of his opportunities, it kind of showed you what you could do around here.
"But his golf in the wind yesterday afternoon was really solid. I was trying to make some putts to catch the cut line and he was making putts to go for the lead, and it seemed like he had a bit more freedom than Nate and I did, which probably helped him keep moving forward while we were struggling to get anything to go in."
Davis found himself on the back nine Friday, though, birdieing Nos. 10, 11 and 16. He carried the momentum to moving day, birdieing five holes on the front nine and three on the back.
"Just more of a relaxing round," Davis said. "You're playing in the morning, the greens are smoother, there's no wind, you pick your number. If you hit it solid, you know where it's going to go rather than being left up to the wind above the trees that you can't really feel. Today was just a little bit more relaxed on the greens. I wasn't trying to make a putt to hopefully make the cut on the number, it was just trying and make some progress and have a good round. Yeah, it just worked a lot better than it did yesterday."
In the home stretch, Davis wasn't pleased with his second shot on the par-5 No. 17, which flew 182 yards into the left rough, 75 yards out from the hole. Then his near-perfect shot out of the rough landed three yards from the hole and provided an easy birdie putt.
Davis was unaware of the impending record 63, which British Open runner-up Cameron Young tied Friday, as he played No. 18, but he missed putts of 50 and six feet to bogey.
"I'll try not to look at 18 as too much of a hinderance to my progress," Davis said, "because today was a really solid day."
Among other notables with morning tee times, 3-time PGA Tour winner Cameron Champ recorded six birdies for a 5-under 67. He hit 14 greens and also bogeyed No. 18, right before Davis. Champ sits at 5-under 208 for the tournament.
World No. 20 Max Homa appeared to be making a run early Saturday after narrowly missing the cut Friday. He birdied four holes and eagled one on the front nine. before bogeying No. 14 and playing even par on the rest of the back nine. His 5-under 67 leaves him with a 9-under 207.
World No. 46 Keegan Bradley continues to improve by round, producing a 4-under 68 Saturday, and he's at 7-under 209. Lashley is tied with struggling world No. 13 Will Zalatoris, arguably the tournament's biggest name, at 6-under 210 after both shot 3-under in Round 3.
Contact Mason Young: MEYoung@freepress.com Follow him on Twitter: @Mason_Young_0
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Rocket Mortgage Classic 2022: Cam Davis goes low in Round 3