First look: Rocket Mortgage Classic

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First look: Rocket Mortgage Classic

The PGA TOUR returns to Detroit for the third edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club.

The tournament was one of the first in the 2020 TOUR’s Return To Golf, and Bryson DeChambeau beat Matthew Wolff by three strokes. DeChambeau returns to defend his title alongside a field of TOUR stars.

FIELD NOTES: Reigning PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson will make his tournament debut; it’s his first start in Michigan since 2002 … FedExCup Top 10 players include defending champions DeChambeau and Jason Kokrak, both two-time winners this season … Masters Champion Hideki Matsuyama will play the Rocket Mortgage Classic for the third year in a row 13 great champions will play, including Jason Day, who held the 36-hole lead at the Travelers Championship … Sponsorship exceptions include college stars Austin Eckroat and Davis Thompson, and Willie Mack III from Flint, Michigan.

FEDEXCUP: The winner will receive 500 FedExCup points.

COURSE: Detroit Golf Club (North), Par 72, 7,370 yards. Detroit GC’s North Course, designed by Donald Ross, opened more than a century ago. The club recently upgraded as it prepared for the TOUR’s arrival in 2019. It’s the flattest course on the TOUR according to ShotLink data, and while the front nine is tree-lined, the back nine is open for birdies in bunches – DeChambeau closed with three just a year ago.

STORYLINES: Matthew Wolff will be back in action in Detroit to improve his runner-up from a year ago. Wolff took two months off golf to focus on his mental health but returned to finish T15 at the US Open … PGA pro Jeff Roth, 63, will play after the Michigan PGA votes that his exemption for winning the Michigan PGA Professional Championship 2019 should apply until 2021. The exemption was lifted in 2020 due to COVID-19 protocols. Roth is a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and has won more than 70 pro tournaments … Fans are returning in 2021 after the event went without them at the height of the pandemic … Nate Lashley, who lost his parents and college girlfriend a plane crash won after being the last player on the field in 2019 … DeChambeau walked 40 pounds heavier and significantly longer from the TOUR’s COVID-19 break last year … Rickie Fowler tries to overcome a long winless drought while Will Zalatoris is aiming for his first win that would give him full PGA TOUR status.

72 HOLE RECORD: 263, Nate Lashley (2019)

18 HOLES RECORD: 63, Nate Lashley (2019, first round), JT Poston (2019, second round)

LAST TIME: DeChambeau, who had played better than anyone after the COVID break, won with a 7-under 65 with three points. Matthew Wolff made birdie on holes 12, 13 and 15 to reduce the lead to one, but DeChambeau finished birdie, birdie, birdie to leave no doubt. It was his sixth TOUR victory and his seventh top 10 place in a row. Kevin Kisner finished third in solo while Ryan Armor, Adam Hadwin, Tyrrell Hatton and Danny Willet completed the top five.

HOW TO FOLLOW (all times ET)

Television: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. (CBS).

PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday 6:45 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (featured groups), Saturday-Sunday 8:15 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (featured groups). Saturday-Sunday 3-6 p.m. (Featured Holes).

Radio: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (PGA TOUR radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).

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