Low scores make for thrilling 3M Championship

Three days before the first golfers attacked the Tournament Players Club of Twin Cities course for the 2014 3M Championship, Champions Tour newbie Paul Goydos remarked that he didn’t see how someone could shoot more than 17-under par during the three-round tournament.

Kenny Perry won the 3M Championship with a 23-under par including a second-round 9-under 63 to tie the course record. He was one of four to match the record round score.Photo by Bill Jones

Kenny Perry won the 3M Championship with a 23-under par including a second-round 9-under 63 to tie the course record. He was one of four to match the record round score.Photo by Bill Jones

“I looked up the scores from the previous years and I didn’t see 16-20-under par so that’s very concerning,” he said before the tournament. “I’ve got to get back to the range… it’s a pretty good test of golf.”

The top five golfers reached the 20-under mark, led by Kenny Perry’s 23-under, one stroke ahead of Bernhard Langer’s 22-under.

They were two of four players to tie the course record, 9-under 63.

Perry earned his 63 during the second round and went bogey-free over the final round. He sank an eagle putt to finish his second round on a high note after a two-hour weather delay Saturday afternoon.

First-round leader Marco Dawson carded a 9-under 63 and settled for a third place finish. He won a qualifier and five-player playoff to earn one of two spots in the 3M Championship field.

Langer saved his low round for the tournament for Sunday with 10 birdies and one bogey, including six birdies on the back nine.

The reigning Charles’ Schwab Cup points leader came into the Blaine event off a 13-stroke win at the Senior Open the week before.

Perry picked up his second victory of the year and seventh win on the Champions Tour after sinking a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole Sunday afternoon to take home the winner’s share of the $1.75 million purse – $262,500.

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus, left, Arnold Palmer, middle and Gary Player, right, sign autographs before the start of the Greats of Golf Challenge at the 3M Championship at the Tournament Player’s Club of the Twin Cities in Blaine Saturday. See more coverage from the 3M Championship inside.Photo by Bill Jones

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus, left, Arnold Palmer, middle and Gary Player, right, sign autographs before the start of the Greats of Golf Challenge at the 3M Championship at the Tournament Player’s Club of the Twin Cities in Blaine Saturday. See more coverage from the 3M Championship inside.Photo by Bill Jones

The win gives Perry some additional momentum coming into the final major of the season, the PGA Championship at Valhalla in his home state of Kentucky.

The gallery was treated to several memorable shots – not just by the official competitors.

Saturday saw the 11th time the Greats of Golf bring out some of legends of the game in a best-ball format.

Arnold Palmer captained the group of Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez and Pat Bradley while Don January led David Graham, Fuzzy Zoeller and Andy North and Billy Casper headed up the team of Johnny Miller, Dave Stockton and Tony Jacklin. The final grouping of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Trevino rounded out showing of some of the most well-known golfers to ever play the game.

Age is a number

Before the tournament, Goydos said PGA Tour players were getting younger or he was getting order. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg thing but Goydos referenced a scene in the movie, “The Lords of Dogtown” about the birth of skateboarding in the 1970s. The skateboarders signed a sponsorship contract to become a professional skateboarder. “One of the kids goes, ‘You know what this means? We get to be on summer vacation for the rest of our lives.’ And that’s kind of what the PGA Tour is. So I never looked at myself as getting old but a kid playing golf.”

It wasn’t until hand and wrist injuries at 47 that he realized how close he was to 50.

“I was always a 25-year-old kid playing golf,” he said. “And all of a sudden I was 50. Age wasn’t something important to me.”

Goydos added that golf is truly a lifelong sport where players can be competitive for the better part of four decades.

He said: “I guess it’s a function of what I do. You get lost in that journey where age disappears.”

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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