Halfway hut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic: Bryson DeChambeau crashes out

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes at Detroit Golf Club where Joaquin Niemann and Tom Lewis top the standings on 10-under.

Best Bet

Russell Knox each-way (1/4, 4 places) at 30/1 with Planetsportbet

Let's cut to the chase: this has been a miserable week for Bryson DeChambeau.

The American arrived at Detroit Golf Club as the defending champion and with plenty of fond memories to delve into having shot 23-under to win by three last year.

He departs after just two days and searching for a new caddie after splitting with looper Tim Tucker on the eve of the tournament.

What do we know about that parting of the ways? Precisely nothing.

After an opening 72, he turned down interview requests. It was the same story after he followed it with a 71 to miss the cut by two.

The only thing we heard from DeChambeau was constant chuntering during a miserable 36 holes in which he clearly wasn't happy with his game. The wind got his ire too.

After blowing victory in the US Open with a back-nine 44 after taking the lead with 10 holes to play, DeChambeau needs to get his head together pretty quickly with the Open Championship less than two weeks away.

Oh, getting a new caddie would also be a good idea.

Let's just hope no-one has told him about Royal St George's famed unpredictable bounces. Bryson has previous when it comes to getting frustrated at Opens.

At least some good has come from all this: Sam Harrop has written a new ditty about it.

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While DeChambeau bombed out, England's Tom Lewis and Chile's Joaquin Niemman both shot second-round 69s in challenging winds to progress to 10-under and share the lead.

It's a bunched leaderboard though and three shots cover the first 20 players. Troy Merritt, Chris Kirk and Max Homa are the nearest challengers on 9-under.

Plenty still have a great chance of winning but that doesn't include Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama who was forced to withdraw before his second round after testing positive for Covid.

Here are the best stats, quotes and social from Detroit Golf Club after 36 holes.

Click here for the leaderboard

Stats and facts

The two-joint-leaders - Niemann and Lewis - are yet to record a bogey this week.

The inaugural winner of the event, Nate Lashley, had a one-shot lead at halfway in 2019. DeChambeau was one stroke back in third before coming through to win last year.

This is Niemann's third 36-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. He finished tied sixth when tied after 36 holes at the 2018 Memorial Tournament but converted in the Military Tribute at The Greenbrier when again tied at the top at halfway in 2019.

Nieman (65-69) ranks 2nd in Strokes Gained: Putting (5.737) but just 33rd SG: Tee To Green (2.015). He's missed nine greens so far but got up and down every time.

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This is Lewis's first 36-hole lead on the PGA TOUR. He's been in front at halfway just once on the European Tour, eventually finishing third at the 2013 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship after following rounds of 64-65 with 73-64.

Lewis is ranked 7th for SG: Putting (3.397) and 15th Tee To Green (4.356). He also boasts 100% Scrambling figures although he's missed just six greens so far.

DeChambeau ranked 2nd for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee but was 146th for SG: Approach (-3.595), 99th Tee To Green (-0.695) and 91st SG: Putting (-0.553).

Quotes

Here's what some of the leading players said after Friday's play:

Joaquin Niemann on his performance so far

"I played great obviously. I gave myself a lot of chances at the start and I didn't make birdie on the second or the third hole, but I know I'm playing good so just give myself a chance for the weekend is always nice.

"Right now everything is pretty good. My putter, like I said yesterday, hasn't been on for the last three weeks and right now it's been pretty good. I think that's the best part of my game right now."

Tom Lewis on weekend expectations

"There's mixed feelings; confident, nervous. I'm going to make mistakes on the weekend, I know that, and it's just a matter of if I can hole putts at the right time to make important pars and obviously make as many birdies as possible. So I'm just going to try and enjoy myself as much as I can whatever happens this weekend."

Max Homa after finishing with four straight birdies in a 65

"I've played really, really well this week. I've hit a ton of greens, a ton of good shots. The whole group couldn't really get a putt to go in the last couple days and finally made two in a row there on 15 and 16. Just been solid. A lot of putts today looked like they were going in, so finally having two go felt nice.

"Just been pretty much everything's been pretty on for the most part. The hole just needs to get a little bigger."

Troy Merritt on his 68

"Continued to hit the driver well today. I mean, when it's this soft out here, there's pretty much one club you hit off of every tee box, don't even have to think about it. I think we were 12 fairways yesterday, 14 today, so if we can continue that throughout the weekend and get the ball on the green, the way we're rolling it, I mean, it would be nice to make a few more putts this weekend and see if we can't keep competing."

Chris Kirk on playing well in the wind (68)

"I would say I have a pretty good track record in the wind. I struggle hitting the ball like really, really high. Bringing the ball down flight-wise has always been pretty comfortable for me."

Russell Knox on shooting 65 in the gusty conditions

"I need the wind, I think, to bring out the creativity in my game. It was windy, but I was in control of my ball today, which is something which I've been lacking, I guess, maybe over the course of the season.

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"So it was really nice and comforting today to be in control of it and fortunately I was able to capitalise and shoot a good score."

Social

Brown's hole-in-one, Niemann's short-game masterclass, Max making a move, more Mickelson magic and Rickie makes it look easy

Great Scott!

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Niemann keeps scrambling

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Max homing in

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Mickelson does it his way

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Easy for Rickie

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READ MORE: Irish Open: Can Rory McIlroy win from eight shots back at halfway

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