In the final round of the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic, Brian Stuard sinks a 16-foot putt to make birdie at the par-4 1st hole. Photo courtesy PGA Tour.
By Jeff Steers
Napoleon High School graduate Brian Stuard finished the Rocket Mortgage Classic Tournament on the PGA Tour with a 4-under par 68 on Sunday at Detroit Golf Club.
Stuard moved up four spots from Saturday and moved up into the top 70 in FedEx Cup Series points with the finish.
He is expected to earn approximately $238,000 with his tie for fifth-place in Detroit.
Stuard played well again on the front nine with a 4-under par 32 on the first nine holes. He birdied holes 1, 6, 7, and 9 to pull up to second place at one point.
Stuard had a bogey on 16 and finished his round with an 11-foot birdie on No. 18. The Jackson native earned his third top-10 finish and seventh top-25 finish of the season.
Stuard has now earned more than $1.2 million for the 2018-2019 PGA Tour season.
Third-round leader Nate Lashley earned a six-stroke victory with a 70 on Sunday.
Interview notes following Sunday’s round:
Q. Brian, just get some comments on a great week for you.
BRIAN STUARD: It’s hard to put into words. Pretty unbelievable. I’ve had so much great support this week, it’s been awesome to be able to play in front of everybody here in Michigan.
Q. Big ovation there on 18. What did that feel like coming up there?
BRIAN STUARD: You know, making that putt was pretty special. It’s probably something
I’ll never forget. It’s pretty cool.
Q. How’s it going to be going to the next PGA TOUR event and not have all these people around you?
BRIAN STUARD: It’s going to be quiet, I think. I don’t know, probably just back to normal. I’m used to the other way. This is not normal for me. It’s pretty cool and, you know, hopefully I can do it a couple more years.
Q. You have to be pleased — obviously had the one rough round, but you have to be pleased on the whole for the week?
BRIAN STUARD: Yeah.
Q. Or not?
BRIAN STUARD: Yeah. I mean, I’m pretty pleased. If you told me I’d shoot 17 under, I’d probably have taken it before the week started. You know, it’s been awesome and, I don’t know, pretty special.
Q. You said yesterday you thought maybe you would be four, five, six back. You’re looking at a little bit more than that coming into today. Were you surprised by that? And then what is your focus at the beginning of the day knowing that it’s probably not going to be a win but there are still things to be gained out there?
BRIAN STUARD: I mean, I wasn’t surprised by it. He played awfully well yesterday and he’s continuing that today. So, like you said, it was kind of you’re playing for second pretty much. It’s kind of, you know, you’re just trying to make as many birdies as you can and try to get up as high as you can.
Q. Brian, talk about building on this heading down the home stretch of the season.
BRIAN STUARD: Sure. You know, it’s definitely a nice confidence boost going into the FedEx Playoffs. I’m looking forward to the next couple of events and then getting started at Liberty National.
Q. When is your next event?
BRIAN STUARD: I’ll play John Deere. Taking next week off.
Q. How much are you actually going to miss this type of crowd, though, considering you haven’t experienced it before?
BRIAN STUARD: Yeah, I mean, it’s awesome. Like I said, it’s pretty special. To be able to play well on top of it means a lot.
Q. Many of the players have raved about how quickly the fans have taken to this tournament and growing the scene here locally. Do you think in a couple years this could be definitely a marquee event that a lot of players come to and also builds upon the fan support?
BRIAN STUARD: Yeah, no doubt. The golf course is great. I think you saw that when the Buick Open was in Flint, the crowds were always awesome, right? I think everybody’s excited to be back, the PGA TOUR in Michigan. It’s pretty cool.
Q. How much do players talk amongst each other about, you know, hey, I played this event, you should maybe check it out next year, this was good, this was bad?
BRIAN STUARD: I think, you know, a little bit. The guys who have played certain places and know a little bit more about it. I think I would imagine a lot of guys are going to be raving about this week because it’s just such a great golf course. Like I said, the fans have been great, so it’s pretty awesome.
Q. Is it too easy?
BRIAN STUARD: I mean, you know, the weather was pretty nice. You get a little wind, that would take the scores down a little bit. Sometimes it’s just as hard to keep making birdies as it is to keep making pars. Whoever shoots the lowest that week’s going to win, that’s kind of the way it is.