Rocket Mortgage Classic: Doc Redman in need of magic in final round

Doc Redman nearly won last year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic as an exemption from an early-week qualifier. And if it hadn’t been for champion Nate Lashley, he would’ve left the Detroit Golf Club victorious.
The 22-year-old shot 19-under-par 269 (68-67-67-67) but fell six strokes short. This time around, Redman doesn’t want to miss out on securing his first PGA Tour title.
In order to do so, he has work to do.
[ Meet Mark Douglas, Detroit Golf Club’s third Black president in 121 years ]
After finishing Saturday’s round with a 2-under-par 70, Redman is 11 under and tied for 19th place at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The leader, Matthew Wolff, is at 19 under and ahead of Ryan Armour and Bryson DeChambeau by three strokes entering Sunday’s finale.
“Guys play well early,” said Redman, who was tied for the lead after the first round at 7 under. “The greens are a little smoother and you just go out and play. I think it got a little windy this afternoon, too.”
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
Because of Redman’s successes from a year ago, he didn’t try to change his approach. From the moment he walked into the clubhouse, he reminisced about “good vibes, good feelings” connected to 2019, albeit without any spectators this time.
He has heard his opponents discuss their enjoyment of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, a course that provides plenty of birdies, a packed leaderboard and lots of fun down the stretch.
“Just trying to recreate it, I guess,” he said. “Every week’s different. Unfortunately, it’s tough to play two good years in a row, but I think this week so far has been good; not my best, but it’s always fun coming here.”
Redman’s trip to Detroit last year helped cement him as a threat among his peers on the Tour. In 18 events this season, he has five finishes in the top 25: Military Tribute at The Greenbrier (tied for 24th), Houston Open (tied for 13th), The RSM Classic (tied for 23rd), RBC Heritage (tied for 21st) and Travelers Championship (tied for 11th).
On Saturday, he hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation. He moved to 2 under for the round on the par-5 No. 17. A 305-yard drive set him up for a 272-yard second shot to the left rough. He pitched on the green and sank a 7-foot putt for birdie.
[ Scott Stallings’ incredible lifestyle change prolonged PGA Tour career — and maybe his life ]
He had a chance to move to 3 under (12 under total) on No. 18, but missed a 22-foot putt by 9 inches, leaving him with par.
“You’ve got to hit the fairway,” said Redman, regarding what he has implementing this year from his previous experience. “And then the greens are back to front, they get kind of firm, especially when the weekend comes, so you’ve got to play your spots.
“When you drive it well, I think there’s tons of opportunities as people are seeing, but the rough’s up a little this year, so you’ve got to hit the fairway.”
[ An extinct 1970s Ford inspired Maverick McNealy’s namesake. Here’s the backstory ]
The former Clemson standout bogeyed Nos. 3 and 11 with birdies on Nos. 2, 10, 13 and 17.
Redman isn’t going to stress out about winning the tournament, but if he’s able to string together a few early birdies and golfers at the top stumble, there’s always a chance he finds a little magic to avenge last year’s result.
“I have all the confidence in the world that I can do it,” Redman said. “It’s just a matter of if it happens or not, and I’m not going to press that.”