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07/04/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/04/2020 18:15

Matthew Wolff finds sweet separation at Rocket Mortgage Classic

DETROIT - Matthew Wolff made things too complicated after his maiden PGA TOUR victory at the 3M Open last year. He put every facet of his game under a microscope - and got worse.

No more wins, not even any top-10 finishes, just aggravation.

Changing course, Wolff resolved to keep it simple. He's obviously sticking to that, because by his own admission he shot a second straight 64 at Detroit Golf Club not because he'd optimized his spin rate or anticipated the nitrogen levels of the grass. No, no. Not even close.

'I heard an ice cream truck circling the property,' said Wolff, 21, who will carry a three-shot lead over Ryan Armour (67) and Bryson DeChambeau (67) into the final round. 'Seemed like every time I heard that, I made birdie or made a putt, so I've got to give a lot of credit to that.'

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If that seems like a wacky explanation, then maybe it's because Wolff, he of the wacky swing trigger, had a decidedly wacky round: five pars, nine birdies, an eagle, and three bogeys.

Add it all up and he'll be aiming for win No. 2 almost exactly one year to the day after his first. Ice cream? The only guy who's made more of the Fourth of July weekend is Joey Chestnut.

'Felt like the putter was really good today,' Wolff said. 'Wasn't really thinking about much over the putt, lining it up, feeling confident in the line and stroking it really nice.'

Not thinking about much other than ice cream, that is. (He's a vanilla guy.) He didn't even let a missed five-footer at the second hole get to him. He made over 117 feet of putts - second for the week in Strokes Gained: Putting - including a 13 1/2 footer for eagle at the par-5 14th.

Now comes the hard part: Keeping his carefree outlook even with the trophy on the line Sunday.

It might have been an intriguing study in contrasts had Wolff been paired with DeChambeau on Sunday. Each crushes the ball, each is a classic iconoclast, but they are mondo different between the ears. One guy, DeChambeau, squirts his golf balls with mist to study how they react in the rain. The other guy, Wolff, lets his thoughts drift with the seductive trills of the Mr. Softee truck.

Anyway, it's a mood point because Wolff will play the final round with Armour, whom he calls 'a super good guy.' More than twice Wolff's age, Armour has the same number of career PGA TOUR wins, one, but he may not go away quietly. After missing a three-foot putt to double-bogey the 17th hole, Armour drained a 21 1/2 foot birdie on 18 to get back to 16 under.