2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic leaderboard: Tony Finau trying to go back-to-back, tied for lead after Round 3

Moving Day at the Rocket Mortgage Classic lived up to the hype as the Round 2 leaders extended their dominance at Detroit Golf Club. Tony Finau and Taylor Pendrith shot a best ball 60 on Saturday to set up a Sunday showdown between two of the longest players in the world.

They won’t be the only two in contention over the final 18 holes though as a handful of big names and guys who are having terrific 2021-22 seasons positioned themselves nicely to make a run at this tournament title on Sunday after taking it deep on Saturday in Round 3. That group includes last year’s PGA Tour Player of the Year, Patrick Cantlay, and the near Champion Golf of the Year, Cameron Young.

Let’s take a look at how Saturday set up what should be a fabulous finale at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

The leaders

1. Taylor Pendrith, Tony Finau (-21): There were just 11 rounds of 65 or 66 on Saturday, and two of them came from the two guys who were leading the tournament coming into Saturday. Pendrith birdied the last to shoot 66, and Finau had a look at shooting 64 (which he missed) just after him. Now those two take a four-stroke lead on the rest of the field and have a 92% of producing this year’s winner, according to Data Golf.

Pendrith has been awesome all week and ranks No. 3 from tee to green and No. 1 in putting. He’s been incredible with his iron play — not normally a strong suit — and ranks No. 5 in the field in driving distance (which normally is a strong suit). His last win (and his only two wins) came in 2019 on PGA Tour Canada so he’ll feel some things he’s unaccustomed to feeling on Sunday next to Finau as both strive to win the second to last PGA Tour event of the regular season.

Finau, on the other hand, is looking for his second victory in a row after taking the 3M Open last week. He had a putt for the round of the day on the 18th on Saturday that narrowly missed, but he was in complete control throughout the day. Finau was second in the field off the tee and third from tee to green on Saturday and only needed one putt of any substantial length for par. Everything else was a run at birdie or better.

It was a day that reminded me of how easy Finau’s best often looks. Obviously there are better players and much more prolific winners, but when he’s loping out in front, it certainly feels like he’s got the simplest, most attainable top gear in the world. That’s definitely been true of the fields he’s played in over the last two weeks (he’s gained nearly 32 strokes in his last seven rounds), and if he reaches it again Sunday he will have won as many events in the last eight days as he did in his first eight years as a pro.

Other contenders

3. Cameron Young (-17)

4. Stephan Jaeger (-16)

5. Patrick Cantlay (-15)

6. Scott Stallings (-14)

Nobody deserves anything in golf, but if they did when Cameron Young would deserve to win very soon. Since Jan. 1, he ranks No. 14 in the world in total strokes gained and is one of just three in that top 14 without a worldwide win (Shane Lowry and Will Zalatoris are the other two). He made one of the great 2s on a 72nd hole in major championship history two weeks ago at The Old Course to tie Cam Smith’s lead before Smith made a birdie to beat him by one, and he has four (!!) top-three finishes in his last seven events. He will likely need something similar to his Saturday 65 (or better) to have a chance, but as he’s shown so far in 2022, he’s certainly capable of doing exactly that in the final round.

Speaking of the best players

I was curious about the run Finau has been on over the last few months, which really started April 28 at the Mexico Open where he finished T2 behind Jon Rahm. Since the start of that tournament, Finau ranks No. 4 in the world in strokes gained, just behind Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Given his start to the season (Finau ranked No. 71 from January 1 to April 27), this resurgence has been a revelation and makes Finau one of the handful of favorites to win the FedEx Cup no matter what happens on Sunday at Detroit Golf Club.

2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic updated odds and picks

  • Tony Finau: 5/7
  • Taylor Pendrith: 3/2
  • Cameron Young: 11-1
  • Patrick Cantlay: 35-1

These are the only golfers with better than 70-1 odds going into Sunday. I’ll take Finau to get his second win of the season and his third in the last 12 months, but I wouldn’t bet it at these odds. Pendrith or Young have much better value, although both rank well behind Finau in Round 4 scoring average on the PGA Tour this season. Finau is No. 3 in that category while Young is No. 66 and Pendrith is No. 129.

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