63's Get Kneen & Crawford into 3M Open
July 20, 2020
BLAINE -- Sundays are the glamorous part of the PGA Tour. The winner of whatever tournament is completed that day receives a check for more than $1 million, and anyone anywhere near the top of the leaderboard gets a nice chunk of change, as well. For example, on Sunday the winner of the Memorial Invitational was Jon Rahm, and he made $1,674,000. There were three players who tied for 10th, and they made $234,825 apiece. Erik Van Rooyen, the former University of Minnesota star, was part of a 10-way tie for 22nd, and he collected $78,120.
Mondays are more like the real world. That's when qualifying just to get into that week's tournament is held, and it is brutally hard to get through it. There are no big checks to be handed out, just a lot of really good players competing for very few spots in the regular tournament. A case in point was the qualifying for this week's 3M Open that was held Monday at Victory Links Golf Course. There were 60 guys for 2 spots.
Kurt Kitayama was one of the pros trying for a spot. He shot a 7-under-par 64 -- and didn't make it!
Jake Kneen, a 24-year-old former Michigan Junior champion who played college golf at Oakland University (he was the 2018 Horizon League Golfer of the Year), shot 63 and tied Aaron Crawford for medalist honors. Kneen birdied two of the first three holes and never let up. The highlight of his round came at the 10th hole, a 388-yard par 4 that he eagled.
He was 7 under after a birdie at the par-5 12th (579 yards). But he bogeyed the long, par-4 15th (467 yards). That was his only bogey, and he bounced back by making two birdies in the last three holes.
Crawford, 25, was a regular on the Mackenzie (Canadian) Tour last year. He won the Major Series of Putting in 2018 at Legacy GC in Henderson, Nev., and has been something of a celebrity since then. Among other things, he appeared on The Golf Channel. On Monday, he made four birdies and no bogeys on each nine, beginning with birdies at the first (473 yards, par 4) and second (219 yards, par 3) holes. But he made four consecutive pars to start the back nine and needed birdies on four of the last five holes (14, 16, 17, 18) to avoid being in a playoff with Kitayama, or missing altogether.
The closest anyone with local connections came to getting into the 3M was Andrew McCain. He shot 66. A former two-time Minnesota State Open champ, he was 5 under after 10 holes but parred the last eight to finish three strokes above the required number. Thomas Campbell, a transplanted New Zealander who played for the Gophers, was another stroke back at 67.
Frankie Capan was the player in the field who has received the most attention during the last two weeks, a result of his finishing second in the Minnesota State Open 12 days ago and first in the State Amateur last week. He was 25 under par for those six rounds, but he finished with a 1-under 70 on Monday. A prodigiously long hitter, even by modern standards, Capan birdied only one of the four par-5's at Victory Links (the 560-yard 16th hole), and his chances of qualifying pretty much disappeared when the University of Florida Gulf Coast sophomore-to-be bogeyed the 10th hole and the par-3 11th (219 yards), which left him 1 over with seven holes to go.
At Victory Links Golf Course
Par 71, 6,994 yards
(61 players for 2 spots)
T1. Jake Kneen, White Lake, Mich. 63
T1. Aaron Crawford, Calgary, Alberta 63
Did not qualify
3. Kurt Kitayama, Chico, Calif. 64
4. M.J. Daffue, Kingwood, Texas 65
T5. Andrew McCain, Knoxville, Tenn. 66
T5. Lucas Herbert, Coon Rapids 66
T5. Billy Tom Sargent, Georgetown, Ky. 66
T5. Bryan Martin, Thousand Oaks, Calif. 66
T5. Nathan Maas, Las Vegas, Nev. 66
T11. Thomas Campbell, Minneapolis 67
T17. Tate Olson, Cook 68
T17. Justin Doeden, Lakeville 68
T17. Jeff Sorenson, Blaine 68
T25. Alex Beach, Rye, N.Y. 69
T25. Thomas Lonbella, Minneapolis 69
T27. Frankie Capan, North Oaks 70
T27. Hudson Carpenter, Stillwater 70
T32. Brady Holland, Elk River 71
T32. John Butler, Zimmerman 71
T32. Derek Hitchner, Minneapolis 71
T36. Jack Hiemenz, Blaine 72
T36. Tristan Nelko, Wayzata 72
T36. Henry May, Edina 72
T36. William Leaf, Winona 72
T44. John Fischer, Waconia 73
T47. Brady Arnett, Woodbury 74
T47, Connor Glynn, Waconia 74
T47. David Schultz, Fargo 74
T52. Lincoln Johnson, Chaska 75
55. Chris Swenson, Fergus Falls 76
T56. Pete Sienko, Blaine 77
T56. Nick Schmidt, Rush City 77
58. Brian Russell, Austin 79
59. Jim Sorenson, Evergreen, Colo. 83
60. Alex Uloth, Burnsville 85