Again, one dud round takes 'disappointed' Brian Stuard out of mix at Rocket Mortgage Classic

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Brian Stuard called it "night and day" — the difference between his experience at the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic, when hundreds of friends and family members cheered him to a top-five finish, and 2020, when he had another solid showing but with no fans.

Stuard rebounded from a rough Saturday with a 4-under 68 on Sunday to finish at 12 under.

Brian Stuard finished this year's Rocket Mortgage Classic at 12 under par.

The Oakland alum and Jackson native should secure a top-25 or top-30 finish, after taking a tie for 20th last week at the Travelers Championship.

Stuard was done with his Sunday round more than a half-hour before the leaders teed off, because of a 1-over 73 during Saturday's third round that took him out of contention.

"Today just kind of didn't really mean much after yesterday," Stuard said. "Yesterday got me."

Stuard, still searching for that second PGA Tour victory, was squarely in the mix halfway through this week, at 9 under through the first two rounds.


But the Saturday stumble took him right out of the mix. He shot the 73; he could've used a 63 on a course that gives up birdies in bunches.

Just like last year, when Stuard finished 17 under, one bad round cost him a shot at the title.

This year, a double-bogey at the par-4 10th derailed his Saturday round. Interestingly, his scores for the week on 10 were as follows: eagle-2 on Thursday, par-4 on Friday, double-bogey-6 on Saturday and birdie-3 on Sunday. He began his tournament on the 10th hole, and holed out from 164 yards with an 8 iron to start 2 under through one hole.

Stuard's putter heated up on the back nine Sunday, making a 23-footer for par at No. 12, followed by a 26-footer for birdie on No. 13. He made an 11-footer for birdie at No. 15 and a 13-footer for par on No. 16. Stuard missed a 5-footer from above the tough 18th hole to finish with a bogey.

But uncharacteristically, Stuard's driver was errant all week. He's among the shorter hitters on the PGA Tour, but also among the most accurate. Not this week, and that cost him more than anything.

Brian Stuard watches his shot on the 11th tee during the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic.

He's made the cut in all four tournaments since the PGA Tour's restart, and next will travel to Dublin, Ohio, for the upcoming Workday Charity Open — and he'll do so by RV, which he just purchased. He'll also play the following tournament, the Memorial, also at Muirfield Village, when fans finally will be allowed to return.

"I felt like my game was kind of rounding into form after last week, and I thought I had a chance to be up there," Stuard said. "It just didn't happen.

"It was obviously great to play in Michigan again, but you know, I'm pretty disappointed."

Stuard was one of three Michigan natives in the field this week. Fellow PGA Tour player Ryan Brehm (Traverse City/Michigan State) missed the cut, as did Donnie Trosper (Canton/Michigan State).

Twitter: @tonypaul1984