Minnesota Golf Association

Piercy's Putter Puts Him on Top of the Leaderboard After Opening Round of 3M Open

July 4, 2019

By Nick Hunter
  BLAINE, Minn. – After carding three birdies during his opening nine Thursday, Scott Piercy rattled off six more over his final nine holes to post bogey-free 62 to grab a two-stroke lead following the opening round of the inaugural 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities.
Helped by his putter during the first round, Piercy will enter Friday’s second round with a two-stroke advantage over Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Hadwin, each carding rounds of 7-under par 64.
“I missed three greens and hit it pretty close. The putter has been working pretty well this year and it continued today,” Piercy said Thursday. “The [putt] on 16 was huge to keep the momentum going. The one on eight was a good putt, but I made those mid-range, 10 to 15-footers that really helped things go.
“I was thinking four or five under a day would be nice. You always get one or two guys that go really low. I just happened to be that guy.”
Piercy is in search of his first win since partnering with Billy Horschel to win the 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. In 20 events this season, Piercy has notched six top-10 finishes with his best coming at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where he finished second. He also placed third at the RBC Heritage three weeks prior.
Carding five birdies through 12 holes Thursday, Piercy birdied four of his final five holes, highlighted by drilling his putt from 30 feet at the 16th before rolling in one last birdie on the final hole from just inside of eight feet.
Committing to the Twin Cities’ first regular tour event in 50 years weeks ago, the four-time PGA Tour winner Piercy nearly pulled out of the event after playing seven out of the last nine weeks, skipping the last two tour stops since the U.S. Open in mid-June.
“I really wanted to play [Rocket Mortgage in Detroit] last week but I was exhausted. I needed a couple weeks off and I didn’t even touch a club until Friday. I put a few hours in Friday and Saturday to get the rust off. I’m definitely taking the next two weeks off and then be rested for the playoffs.”
Asked why he originally put two brand new events on his schedule in back-to-back weeks, Piercy said, “I’ve heard good things about the golf courses. New events, so nobody really has an advantage. Courses like this, there’s a good number of short irons—that’s sort of my strong suit. You want to play the golf courses that suit your game.”
Opening the championship on Independence Day Thursday, a couple of Minnesotans created some fireworks of their own. Lehman carded a birdie and eight consecutive pars to finish the opening round in a tie for 18th at 4-under
“Bogey-free today, I was really pleased with that,” Lehman said following his round Thursday. “There’s some very, very difficult holes out there, especially on the front nine. The front nine’s, I think, a very tough nine holes of golf when you have this wind blowing. All the hard holes are playing into the wind.
“I drove the ball extremely well, I hit every fairway today. These greens have always been receptive to shots from the fairway. That was really the key to the round is putting the ball in the fairway.”
Tim Herron, playing a hole behind Lehman Thursday, grabbed a 5-iron at the 208-yard eighth hole and knocked in his tee shot for the first ace in tournament history. Herron carded five bogeys during his front nine, but fought back to get back to 1-over before taking bogey on the final hole to shoot 73 during the opening round.
“I hit a little cut 5-iron nice and high and it kept fading in there. I can’t see past 200 yards, so I didn’t really see it go in. I think I saw it jump up, but I had no idea,” Herron said. “I’ll probably remember this more than any of them because I never won a car or anything. I think I’ve had seven out on Tour. I’ve had 11 in my lifetime.”
Tom Hoge, a two-time Minnesota Golf Association State Amateur champion, fired three birdies against a single bogey during his opening nine before carding one birdie over the final nine holes to post a 3-under par 68 and finished the first round tied for 31st. 

The North Dakotan won the 2009 championship at Mendakota Country Club and successfully defended his title a year later at Dacotah Ridge Golf Club.

Troy Merritt, a native of Spring Lake Park, Minn., played his front nine at 1-under with three birdies and a pair of bogeys before playing his final nine holes at even par. He will begin Friday’s second round in a tie for 71st at 1-under 70.
Wisconsin’s Charlie Danielson, who advanced from the first round of U.S. Open qualifying last month at Chaska Town Course, carded a pair of birdies on his front nine Thursday, but stumbled on the final nine holes, taking two bogeys at his tenth and 12th holes before carding double-bogey on his final hole of the afternoon to shoot 2-over 73.
Craig Brischke, a club professional at Tanners Brook Golf Course, posted identical nines of 41 to finish the first round of play tied for 153rd at 11-over 82.
The second round of the 2019 3M Open is slated to begin at 6:50 a.m. Friday at TPC Twin Cities.
2019 3M OPEN
7,468 YARDS, PAR 71
1. Scott Piercy, 32-30—62
T2. Hideki Matsuyama, 32-32—64
T2. Adam Hadwin, 31-33—64
T4. Brian Harman, 31-34—65
T4. Sungjae Im, 34-31—65
T4. Patton Kizzire, 31-34—65
T4. Sam Saunders, 31-34—65
T4. Arjun Atwal, 30-35—65   
T9. Cameron Tringale, 34-32—66
T9. Tony Finau, 34-32—66
T9. Sam Burns, 31-35—66
T9. Brendan Steele, 33-33—66
T9. Bryson DeChambeau, 31-35—66
T9. Ryan Armour, 32-34—66
T9. Denny McCarthy, 33-33—66
T9. Wyndham Clark, 33-33—66
T9. Dylan Frittelli, 34-32—66  
T18. TOM LEHMAN, 34-33—67
T31. TOM HOGE, 34-34—68
T71. TROY MERRITT, 35-35—70  
T119. TIM HERRON, 32-41—73
T153. CRAIG BRISCHKE, 41-41—82
For complete tournament results go to: www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

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