In a tournament like the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic with a dearth of stars, you aren’t guaranteed a leaderboard packed with compelling storylines and fun names to follow. Yet that’s exactly what we got after two rounds at the Detroit Golf Club.
Tops among the storylines heading into Round 3 is Chris Kirk, who dropped a 65 on Friday to take a co-lead with Webb Simpson. He’s had a tough 18-month run (more on that below), but we could be in for a sweet ending to this chapter of his life with a few more days like he had on Friday. He’ll be chased, too, by a bevy of big highly-ranked players and youngsters trying to climb the world rankings.
Let’s take a look at Round 2 and how it sets up for what should be another great weekend.
T1. Chris Kirk (-12) — How good is this story? From alcohol rehab this time last year to a win on the Korn Ferry Tour two weeks ago to a win on the PGA Tour? That would be insane and the story of the year so far on the PGA Tour. Kirk can keep this up, too. He’s putting it well so far, but he’s hitting it just as well. The statistical profile is sustainable, and I hope he sustains it because it’s a story worth rooting for on the weekend at Detroit Golf Club.
T1. Webb Simpson (-12) — Webb Simpson, best American player in the world. How does it sound? He’s the guy to beat after two rounds, and he hasn’t even found a hot putter yet (which is terrifying). He’s been lights out with his irons and is about to jump to the top of the 2020 PGA Tour Player of the Year race.
T3. Matthew Wolff (-11) — There are no questions about the talent level, rather his ability to sustain it at a high level for four days, four weeks or four months at a time. He said his biggest struggle this season has been in his head.
“I would say just maturity, just mentally,” said Wolff. “When I’m hitting it good … I feel like I was really caring too much about the outcome and thinking about every little factor on every single shot, don’t short-side myself, was it a little into the wind, do I just want to hit it in the middle of the green to try to eliminate bogeys. That’s really not how I play.” Hopefully we get more of how he played on Friday this weekend at the Rocket Mortgage
T3. Bryson DeChambeau, Seamus Power, Mark Hubbard, Ryan Armour, Richy Werenski (-11) — Bryson had very similar days on Thursday and Friday. He started slow on his front nine on both days and torched the back nine (31 on Thursday, 32 on Friday). His iron play has been absolutely abysmal. He’s leading the field in driving distance and somehow nearly last in proximity to the hole. The muscle mass hasn’t been going into his yardage book yet, no doubt, and it appears that distance control is the biggest issue in his game. A hot flat stick is saving him, but he needs to tighten it up from 125 yards and in if he wants to win this weekend.
T9. Kevin Kisner, Sepp Straka (-10) — Kisner will be a bear all weekend and will not be an easy out if he’s in the mix on Sunday afternoon. I don’t often view Kisner as somebody poised to win a shootout; he’s built better for Open Championships, I wouldn’t want to be next to him with the event on the line on Sunday either. He’ll need to keep a hot hand on the greens (T14 so far) if he wants to grab his fourth PGA Tour win.
T20. Viktor Hovland (-8) — He could not be putting worse or hitting it better. Third from tee to green, 97th in putting. That’s a recipe for a 65-65 weekend and the victory. Now the trouble becomes figuring out which former Oklahoma State Cowboy to back.
T55. Hideki Matsuyama (-5) — I’ve been disappointed in how Matsuyama has played this week. I thought he’d have a great week, but he’s struggled more than you would expect from tee to green. The putter is always dicey (and has not been very good on either Thursday or Friday), but I thought we’d get more out of the irons than we’ve gotten thus far. Of course, he’s also capable of going 64-64 to make things interesting late on Sunday.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, updates and highlights from the Rocket Mortgage Classic below. Check out the live scores at the top of this story or a more detailed leaderboard.
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Only thing left to determine today is whether Webb will catch Chris Kirk and overtake him for the lead going into Saturday. And … he just holed out from the bunker on No. 1 to tie it up.
Webb Simpson making a move right now. He’s -7 on the day and leading the field in strokes gained on approach shots and strokes gained from tee to green. Welcome to “Webb Simpson, best American player in the world” world.