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OU alum Brian Stuard well received at Rocket Mortgage Classic

By: Jacob Herbert | C&G Newspapers | Published July 1, 2019

 Brian Stuard hits out of a bunker June 30 at the Detroit Golf Club. The Oakland University alum finished tied for fifth in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Brian Stuard hits out of a bunker June 30 at the Detroit Golf Club. The Oakland University alum finished tied for fifth in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

DETROIT — For Jackson native Brian Stuard, the Rocket Mortgage Classic, held June 27-30 at the Detroit Golf Club, was more than just your average PGA Tour event.

Stuard, who turned pro in 2005 and attended Oakland University, spent the weekend surrounded by family, friends and a considerable amount of golf fans cheering him on at every hole.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Stuard said after his final round. “Pretty unbelievable. I’ve had so much support this week, it’s been awesome to be able to play in front of everybody in Michigan.”

Stuard’s week included 26 total birdies, 38 pars, seven bogeys and one double bogey, all good for a 17-under-par score. He finished the tournament tied for fifth.

“If you told me I’d shoot 17 under, I’d probably have taken it before the week started,” he said. “It’s been awesome and, I don’t know, pretty special.”        

Stuard climbed as high as third on the Sunday leaderboard but was unable to catch tournament champion Nate Lashlety, who finished 25-under par.

After a bogey on the par-4 16th and par on the par-5 17th, Stuard’s weekend came to a close as his birdie putt on 18 was met with audible roars from the crowd.

After retrieving his ball, Stuard took a second to soak in the moment.

“Making that putt was pretty special,” Stuard said. “It’s probably something I’ll never forget. It’s pretty cool.”

In a tournament filled with household names like Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed, Stuard was cheered for and treated like one of them.

He expects it to be different at his next event.

“It’s going to be quiet, I think. I don’t know, probably just back to normal,” he said. “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.”

Unlike Stuard, many golfers were experiencing Michigan for the first time. Tour mainstay Kevin Kisner had never spent time in Detroit other than flying into the airport. As the weekend rolled on, Kisner said the droves of fan support made the tournament much more enjoyable.

"It was awesome,” he said. “They were here on the first tee at 7:30 (a.m.) and all the way through. Anytime we see that, we know the support is there, and that's what we're playing for, to enjoy the fans and hope we can show them a little something."

The Rocket Mortgage Classic is signed on to be played in Detroit for the next three years. The hope for Stuard is that the successful first year will create a domino effect and bring more big names and success to the city in the years to come.

“I would imagine a lot of guys are going to be raving about this week, because it’s just such a great golf course, “ Stuard said. “Like I said, the fans have been great, so it’s pretty awesome.”