DETROIT – The leaderboard looked different every day at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which means that we should be participating in an interesting final round on Sunday.
Last year's winner, Nate Lashley, went on and on to win the tournament, which will not be replicated this time. Indeed, Bryson DeChambeau and Matt Wallace are the only players currently in the top 10 who were in the top 10 after the first round.
Anything can happen in the final round, so here are five players to watch as we head down the stretch in Detroit:
Simpson, who won two weeks ago at RBC Heritage and retired last week after a member of his family tested positive for coronavirus, is getting his irons right and showed this in his second round on Friday when he got 17 out of 17 18 greens in regulation. The green he didn't hit, he took it out of the bunker and made a bird anyway.
He credits his solid ironwork to some work on the series he and caddy Paul Tesori did after their first round at Colonial.
"We went to the break after the round and started making an old drill, which we did all the time that Paul and I spent together, going in and out, but we started doing it again, we saw results in the second round," said Simpson. "Even though I missed the cut, I still got it much better and I think it simplified my mentality when I go to the break and when I go to the golf course than we are trying to do."
Great approach shots are crucial at the Detroit Golf Club, which we saw last year when Lashley made 22 of his 28 birds at 10 feet or less. Simpson is loose, hitting the ball well and is also the first on the tour this season in the points average of the fourth round.
Hovland, 22, has quietly moved up the leaderboard with each round. He was tied for 46th in the first round, then moved up 26 places to the T-20. A score of 67 in a row led him to the top 10 and it looks like Hovland has another good round in him.
After his round of Saturday, Hovland said he thinks he could score lower than he did.
"The first six holes were very slow. In fact, I did a good job, staying at the same level. I made a good save in 5 and 6, but I really wasn't hitting it very well," said Hovland. "But I did a good little bird at 7 and a good 8 at the same time to get excited. I did another good putt at 9 and that's where I kind of, you know, OK, play a good nine and just keep calling. So, after all, it was a pretty solid day, but it definitely could have fallen a little more. "
He didn't get much attention, but he finished the T-11 at the Travelers Championship the week before and the T-21 at RBC Heritage before that. He's progressing slowly and progressing in the game, so this could be an opportunity for him to put it all together and get a win.
Wallace did not receive the attention he received at the Travelers Championship after deciding to continue playing in the tournament. His two partners withdrew after the first round; Denny McCarthy tested positive for COVID-19 and Bud Cauley did not feel well and withdrew. So Wallace played his Friday round alone, then missed the cut.
After his first round on Thursday, Wallace felt some confidence about the direction of his game, especially on the greens.
"I think I said it was the best I was playing and I wasn't doing very well, and now you get the cue back and this game is about putting," said Wallace. "I kind of forgot that over time, but this game is about putting. Yes, he did and he managed to score."
He moved and now has three rounds in the 60's at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He's 4 shots from the lead and has the distractions behind him. This appears to be the first tournament since golf came back, that he managed to put together a full week and now has a chance to finish off with a bang.
In his third round on Saturday, DeChambeau did not miss a single fairway in his first 10 holes, averaging 324.1 yards from the tee. He said he still feels like he's in his game B and has another level he can reach, but he's playing good golf.
He has finished in the top 10 of all tournaments he has played since returning from golf and is again in a position to win. While your driving distance keeps turning, greens remain the main challenge at the Detroit Golf Club. In what can be a surprising statistic, in the first two rounds, DeChambeau was the second in strokes won, lagging behind Maverick McNealy.
After his third round, DeChambeau said he is close to getting to where he wants to be, but he knows that something is still missing.
"To get to my A-game, it will have to be much more comfortable with my driver and more repetitive with my driver," said DeChambeau. "Obviously, it's not bad, right, but I feel like there's another level. I've felt it before and I want to reach that level. And then, my iron game, I need to find out why I'm hitting the ball and losing the game. every now and then. This is something I need to clean up. "
He passed four of his last six holes on Saturday and has only one bogeyman in the last two rounds. If he manages to set up all stages of the game on Sunday, it will be difficult to win. It did not fade in this season's final round, taking fourth place in the final round's scoring average.
Wolff climbed the leaderboard on Saturday with 64 straight. He missed the cut at the Travelers Championship and the RBC Heritage, so this could be the tournament where he brings it all together and stands out.
He looked loose on Friday and Saturday and has the confidence he needs to help him slow down.
"Yes, it was a great round of golf out there today. I heard an ice cream truck circling the property and it seemed that every time I heard that, I would do a birdie or shot, so I have to give a lot of credit to that," said Wolff. "I think in the fifth hole I made that long one – more birds, more ice cream, so that was my mentality from that moment on and it would probably be the same. [Sunday]. "
He wasn't thinking about the cut on Friday, but he certainly thinks about winning on Sunday.