Niemann, Lewis share 36-hole lead at Rocket Mortgage Classic

Jul 2, 2021, 4:24 AM | Updated: 5:12 pm

DETROIT (AP) — Phil Mickelson created a buzz at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, flip-flopping on his plans to return, and Bryson DeChambeau left lingering questions about parting ways with his caddie.

On the jam-packed leaderboard, Joaquin Niemann and Tom Lewis quietly went about their business to share the top spot heading into the weekend at Detroit Golf Club.

Niemann and Lewis each shot 3-under 69 on Friday to reach 10-under 134, each completing 36 holes without a bogey. Troy Merritt (68), Chris Kirk (68) and Max Homa (65) were a shot back.

First-round leader Davis Thompson was one of eight players two strokes back. The 22-year-old Thompson had a 1-over 73, a day after matching a Detroit Golf Club record with a 63.

Two years ago, Niemann became the first player from Chile to win on the PGA Tour with a six-stroke victory at The Greenbrier. Lewis, who is from England, is shooting for his first PGA Tour victory.

“I’ve obviously won on most tours all around the world and this is obviously the hardest tour to play on and to win on, but I’m a long way away from that,” Lewis said. “If I can, then awesome. My time will come when I’m ready.”

Lewis pulled into tie with Neumann on his 13th hole Friday, making a 22-foot putt that went up and down a slope on an undulating green.

The wind picked up considerably during the second round with gusts to 25 mph that knocked hats off heads and made the relatively short and easy course more challenging.

DeChambeau voiced his frustrations with the unpredictable wind and his shaky game throughout his round.

“I hate golf,” DeChambeau said after yanking his drive into a greenside bunker at the 147-yard fifth hole.

The sixth-ranked player in the world ended up missing the cut at 1-under 143, following an opening-round 72 with a 71.

DeChambeau, who has an endorsement deal with Rocket Mortgage, declined interview requests for the second straight day. His silence left unanswered questions about why he parted ways with caddie Tim Tucker on the eve of the tournament.

The surprising split with Tucker also gave Brooks Koepka more fodder for jabs via social media, declaring Thursday as “caddie appreciation day,” on Twitter.

Nearly two weeks ago, the 2020 U.S. Open champion went from leading that same major with nine holes to tying for 26th with a collapse. Despite being a part of lackluster fields, DeChambeau tied for 19th at the Travelers Championship last week and failed to make the cut in Detroit.

Mickelson shot a 72 after opening with a 69, making the cut at 3-under 141 and changed his tune about returning to play in Motown.

On Thursday, the PGA Championship winner said he will not come back due to a report by The Detroit News that was published earlier in the week. The newspaper obtained federal court records from 2007, detailing how a Michigan-based bookie was accused of cheating Mickelson out of $500,000 about 20 years ago.

After talking with Rocket Mortgage Classic officials in the morning and getting a lot of boisterous support from fans in the afternoon, Mickelson told reporters he is willing to come back to compete at Detroit Golf Club.

“There’s a guy named Mike Sullivan that’s trying to raise 50,000 signatures,” Mickelson said. “If he gets 50,000 and all of those 50,000 agree to do one random act of kindness for another member of the community, I’m in.”

Patrick Reed, who was one of just two players in the field ranked in the top 10, also was on the cut line at 3 under after rounds of 69 and 72.

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama was withdrawn Friday after testing positive for COVID-19. The PGA Tour does not test fully vaccinated players.

At least 35 players have had to withdraw because of a positive test and Matsuyama is the fifth in the middle of a tournament since the testing program began last June. The final PGA Tour event for testing, not including the majors, will be the Barbasol Championship on July 15-18.

___

Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/LarryLage

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Turkey OKs sending troops to Qatar for World Cup security

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s parliament on Wednesday approved deploying Turkish soldiers to Qatar to help maintain security during next month’s World Cup. With a show of hands, lawmakers approved a motion to send an unspecified number of troops to the Gulf country for six months. Fikri Isik, a ruling party legislator and former Turkish […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Marathon at 2024 Paris Olympics announced; lots of uphill

PARIS (AP) — The marathon course at the 2024 Paris Olympics will include a strength-draining 438 meters of uphill racing, a punishing test of endurance that organizers proudly described Wednesday as “a challenge without precedent.” And for the first time at the Olympics, female marathoners will get the privilege of competing last, on the final […]
1 day ago
FILE - San Diego Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove, second from left, is mobbed by teammates aft...
Associated Press

No-No Joe Musgrove wants a championship for hometown Padres

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Joe Musgrove took a moment away from the mayhem of the clubhouse celebration after the San Diego Padres clinched a playoff spot to reflect on where his career has been and where he wants it to go. The big right-hander will forever be remembered as the hometown kid who threw the […]
1 day ago
Portuguese Soccer Federation President Fernando Gomes, left, President of the Spanish Royal Federat...
Associated Press

Ukraine links World Cup host bid to beating horrors of war

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Hosting World Cup matches in 2030 would be “the dream of people who survived the horrors of war,” Ukrainian soccer federation president Andriy Pavelko said Wednesday after his country launched a joint bid with Spain and Portugal. The leaders of the three soccer federations joined together at UEFA headquarters to present […]
1 day ago
Men weep as they offer prayer outside Kanjuruhan Stadium where a soccer stampede killed more than 1...
Associated Press

Indonesian leader says locked gates contributed to deaths

MALANG, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday that locked gates had contributed to the crush at the soccer stadium that left 131 dead and over 400 injured when police fired tear gas and set off a panicked run for the exits. Widodo made the statement after touring the Kanjuruhan soccer stadium […]
1 day ago
Fans reach for a foul ball by New York Yankees' Aaron Judge during the second inning in the second ...
Associated Press

Fan who caught Judge’s 62nd HR unsure what he’ll do with it

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — As he walked through a concourse in the outfield at Globe Life Field, high-fiving with fans and surrounded by a sea of cameras, it was almost as if Cory Youmans had hit a huge home run. Instead, he hit the jackpot. Youmans made the catch of a lifetime Tuesday night, snagging […]
1 day ago
Niemann, Lewis share 36-hole lead at Rocket Mortgage Classic