LAINE, Minn. — Cameron Champ fended off dehydration and crisply putted his way to a 5-under 66 on Sunday, winning the 3M Open by two strokes for his third career victory.
The 26-year-old Champ had five birdies in a bogey-free round to finish at 15-under 269 at TPC Twin Cities. Louis Oosthuizen, Jhonattan Vegas and Charl Schwartzel tied for second.
Oosthuizen shot 66, too, in a much stronger finish than the previous weekend at the British Open, where his 54-hole lead turned into a tie for third after a fourth-round 71.
Playing six pairs ahead of Champ, Oosthuizen birdied three of the last four holes to give himself an outside chance. His approach to the 18th green almost yielded an eagle on the PGA Tour’s hardest par-5 hole, but the ball lipped out. He made a 2 1/2 foot putt for birdie instead. Schwartzel, his fellow South African, posted a 68 to match Vegas in the final round.
During another 90-degree day, Champ was far from his physical best. He felt some dizziness along the back nine, putting his hands on his knees at one point as he hung his head to try to regain some composure. He had plenty of it on the last hole, after his safe strategy with the tee shot to stay away from the lake landed way left in a trampled, sandy area directly behind a clump of trees.
Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. His approach was a beauty that landed perfectly and rolled back toward the pin. He sank the easy par putt and had enough energy to pump his arms in celebration of his first top-10 finish of the year. Champ had the best putting performance of the entire field, with an average of 8.48 strokes gained.
The Texas A&M product won the Sanderson Farms Championship in 2019, the year he turned pro, and the Safeway Open in 2020. He missed the cut in his last two majors this season and hadn’t had a top-10 finish since tying for eighth in October in the Zozo Championship in California.
Champ entered the week in 142nd place in the FedEx Cup standings, getting a big bump with three events to go before the playoffs.
Cameron Tringale, a one-stroke leader after the third round, took a triple bogey on the par-3 13th hole right after consecutive birdies had brought him back into contention. He shot 74 and finished six strokes behind Champ.
BLAINE, Minn. — The third round of the 3M Open was filled with shots into the rough and the water around the 18th green, and sometimes both.
Cameron Tringale stayed out of trouble that so many others didn’t Saturday — and took the lead into the final round.
Tringale made a short par putt on the treacherous par-5 18th hole for a 5-under 66 and a one-stroke advantage over Gary Woodland and Maverick McNealy.
“I drove it pretty well and gave myself some looks that I capitalized on,” said Tringale, who is winless on the PGA Tour. “I really just saved my tail quite a few times with the putter,”
Tringale, who tied for third last year at the TPC Twin Cities, eagled the par-5 12th and had three birdies in a bogey-free round. The 33-year-old topped the crowded leaderboard at 12-under 201. In an interview with reporters afterward, he quickly recalled that he birdied the 18th in the final round of the 2020 edition of the 3M Open, without fans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Woodland overcame a double bogey on No. 1 with birdies on five of his next six holes in a 67. McNealy had a bogey-free 68.
“There’s going to be birdies tomorrow. You’re still going to have to go low. You’re just going to have to play a good round in the wind,” Woodland said.
Pat Perez shot a 66 to join an eight-way tie for fourth, two shots off the lead. Four players were three strokes back. Louis Oosthuizen, the highest-ranked player remaining at No. 9 in the world and in the FedEx Cup standings, was in a six-way tie for 16th place at only four shots behind.
During yet another unseasonable day of 90-plus-degree heat, the scores crept up throughout the afternoon with the thermometer as drier and breezier air affected the play.
Keith Mitchell had a record-tying seven straight birdies to start his round on his way to a 29 on the back nine. The front nine? He posted a 37 for a 66 that left him four strokes behind Tringale. Rickie Fowler birdied six of his first 10 holes, before a triple bogey on the unrelenting 18th left him with a 70 and a tie for 29th in a six-stroke deficit.
The mini-lake in front of the 18th hole sure swallowed up a lot of balls. It’s currently ranked as the hardest par 5 on the PGA Tour.
Tringale safely hit his first two shots along the edges of the fairway before landing his third attempt at the cusp of the green. His 52-foot shot put himself in perfect position for par.
“It’s picking the right spots to be aggressive,” Tringale said.
Fowler, on the other hand, splashed his third shot well short of the green. After the penalty stroke, he landed in the rough. After escaping that, he left a 20-foot putt short. He took his highest score to finish a round in his tour career.
Mitchell matched Juan Sebastián Muñoz (2020), Brandt Snedeker (2007) and Joe Durant (2005) with seven birdies in a row to begin the round.
The 29-year-old Mitchell, whose only career PGA Tour victory came in the Honda Classic in 2019, had his streak stopped when a putt lipped out on the 17th green. Then the hot air grew drier and breezier, forcing a more conservative approach. The momentum shift, he said, was palpable. His tee shot on box No. 1 after the turn landed into the native grass area.
BLAINE, Minn. — Adam Hadwin missed the weekend cuts in his last three tournaments, continuing a disappointing stretch as he dropped to 120th in the FedEx Cup standings.
The 33-year-old Canadian has put himself in position to get back in contention for the playoffs with a strong run at the 3M Open.
Hadwin shot a 6-under 65 on Friday for a share of the lead with Ryan Armour at 10-under 132. Armour shot 65.
“I drove it really well today,” Hadwin said. “Wasn’t in any trouble, hit a lot of good quality iron shots. Again, fat sides of the hole, I gave myself opportunities. My speed control’s been really good. It’s been as stress-free a 65 as you’re going to have.”
Hadwin and Armour were two of few players in the afternoon to go low as wind started to play a role following a hot and humid morning with heat indexes reaching 100 degrees.
Bo Hoag (66), Chez Reavie (67), Jhonatton Vegas (69) and Roger Sloan (69) were a shot back. All four played in the morning.
Second-ranked Dustin Johnson bogeyed the 18th hole after putting his tee shot in the water and missed the cut. He shot 72 to finish at even par. The cut was 2-under.
Staying in contention this weekend would be a boon to Hadwin and Armour.
Hadwin, who finished fourth in the inaugural 3M Open in 2019, was just inside the cut for the FedEx Cup playoffs. The top 125 in the standings make the playoffs. Armour started the tournament 135th.
“I think the biggest thing coming in this week, I’ve just been a little bit more committed to the process and less on the outcome,” Hadwin said. “Certainly playoffs, maintaining status, all that stuff has probably been creeping in a bit in the last little bit and I probably got away from some of the little details that make this game happen for us. So, I’ve gotten back to that these last three rounds and it’s worked out a lot better for me.”
Hadwin, famous for shooting a 59 at the CareerBuilder Challenge in 2017, had a 69 on the final day of the British Open and followed with a 67 on Thursday in Minnesota. His only PGA Tour win was the Valspar Championship in 2017.
Armour’s lone victory came in the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship. He’s coming off a fifth-place finish at last week’s Barbasol Championship. He birdied five of his final eight holes Friday.
“I’m trying,” Armour said. “We’ll worry about the points later. I don’t feel like I’ve really had as bad a year as 135 sounds. I missed five or six cuts by a shot, so you’re always kind of around that cut line and I just fell on the wrong side of it a few times. That’s what kind of gnaws at you because you feel like, man, it’s not that bad, so maybe I should be higher, but you’ve got to go out and get it done and we’re just trying our hardest right now.”
Eleven players finished their first rounds Friday after a weather delay Thursday left them unable to finish. With more inclement weather forecast overnight, the 3M Open will go with threesomes off split tees Saturday.
Vegas was able to finish in the dark on Thursday, but it wasn’t without incident as his approach on the 18th hit the top of a hospitality tent. The ball was found and he was given relief and finished with a birdie and a tie for the lead.
One of four players at the 3M Open slated to play in next week’s Olympics, Vegas kept his strong recent form going Friday. The Venezuelan was among the leaders before a bogey finish on the ninth hole, which is playing as the toughest on the course.
Vegas has tied for 11th or better in three of his last five tournaments.
“I feel I like I’m keeping the ball in play pretty well, giving myself enough chances, making a few putts, which is always good,” Vegas said. “The wind is blowing and it’s kind of that intensity that is a little bit annoying, especially some of those shots with so much water around this place, but played solid. I can’t really complain too much.”
BLAINE, Minn. — Rickie Fowler’s improved driving helped him shoot a 5-under 65 on Sunday in the final round of the Open Championship.
Looking for a late push in the FedEx Cup standings, Fowler carried over the strong play Thursday with a 7-under 64 in the first round of the 3M Open.
Fowler set the opening-round pace with a bogey-free round later equaled by Jhonatton Vegas and Troy Merritt, who attended Spring Lake Park High School, about six miles south of the TPC Twin Cities.
Fowler, who has never missed the FedEx Cup playoffs in 11 seasons, started the tournament ranked 124th in the standings, with the top 125 making the playoffs. There are two weeks remaining after the 3M Open to qualify for the playoffs.
“I know where I’m at, what we need to do and stuff like that,” Fowler said. “Really just focusing on things we’ve been working on, playing more consistent good golf. More days like today and things will be fine. Kind of keep things, like I said, simple and small, focus on the day-to-day and this week, and go from there. Everything will work out.”
Vegas capped an eventful opening round in the dark when his approach on the par-5 18th landed on top of a hospitality tent. His ball was eventually found and he was given free relief. He birdied the hole to tie for the lead.
“You can barely see the flag,” Vegas said. “We had a number, which we messed up the number trying to play fast. I knew it was going to be long. … It was a little bit of a nightmare right at the end.”
Scott Stallings was trying to equal the course record of 62 before he double-bogeyed the 18th following more than a two-hour delay due to lightning in the area. Stallings was a stroke back at 65 with Adam Schenk and Roger Sloan. Sloan had two holes to play when play was suspended due to darkness with 11 players still on the course.
After his disappointing finish last weekend in the Open, Louis Oosthuizen shot 68. Dustin Johnson, who withdrew with a back injury after an opening 78 in the 3M Open last year, opened with a 70.
Johnson was playing with Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade’s vice president of tour operations, as his caddie after Johnson’s brother, Austin, his usual caddie, tested positive for COVID-19.
Johnson said his brother has already been cleared for his next tournament, the FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, Tennessee, from Aug. 5-8.
“Keith’s worked for me quite a few times; Presidents Cup, U.S. Open, a few events here and there,” said Johnson, who tested positive for COVID-19 in November. “Yeah, we did just fine. Maybe hit the wrong club on a couple holes, but other than that, that was my fault though, I guess.”
Fowler, who’s looking for his first win since the 2019 Phoenix Open, didn’t have any mistakes. Starting on the back nine, the 32-year-old from California made three straight birdies on his turn from the 18th to the second hole.
He gained some confidence following his final round last weekend at Royal St. George’s. Fowler was one of 30 players to take a charter straight to Minnesota from the Open.
“That was something that was kind of holding me back from making birdies, moving forward last week,” Fowler said about his driving. “So today, I mean, going off of what we did Sunday last week, just needed to tighten a few things up. This golf course is fairly generous off the tee. There’s a few lakes, ponds that you just need to avoid. Other than that, it’s go, attack for the most part.”
Fowler and Merritt were in the morning wave that started in hazy and humid conditions and then had to wait through a delay of 2 hours, 24 minutes. Stallings was alone in the lead when play resumed, but his second shot on the 18th found the water, and his follow-up overshot the green.
“It stings now because it was five minutes ago,” Stallings said. “But at the end of the day I’m going to go out there. Put myself in great position after the first round and go out there and try and continue to do that the rest of the week.”
Merritt, who’s missed the cut in his last two starts, could be the sentimental favorite back in Minnesota. He finished with eight birdies, including his final two holes to equal Fowler.
“I’ve seen this golf course now for about 20 years,” Merritt said. “Came to watch the seniors play when I was in high school and got to play it once or twice. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s great for the players, it’s great for the fans, you can make a lot of birdies, the scoring’s usually really low. So, if you like shootouts, this is the golf course for you and you’re going to get another one this week.”