Minnesota Golf Association

Thompson Earns Second PGA Tour Win at 3M Open

July 26, 2020

By Nick Hunter
  BLAINE, Minn. – Growing up at Forty Niner Country Club in Tucson, Ariz., Michael Thompson spent hours as a young kid on the practice green and hitting balls out of the bunker, dreaming of playing on the PGA Tour.
Falling back on those memories late Sunday, Thompson hit the most important shot of the tournament on the 16th hole during the final round of the 3M Open, blasting out of a greenside bunker to inside of three feet, setting up an easy birdie to move the top of the leaderboard.
Needing a two-putt from 15 feet on the final hole to secure his first PGA Tour win in 2,702 days, Thompson claimed his second-career PGA Tour victory when his birdie putt found the bottom of the cup to finish two shots better than Adam Long.
“I love bunkers—that was the one thing I did when I was a kid after I got home from school was I would go sit in a bunker for a couple hours and just hit bunker shots,” Thompson said following his win Sunday. “I have really good feel in the bunker and good visual for how I want the shot to come off, and for that to happen on the 70th hole, you know, potentially give me a one-shot lead if I make birdie there, it was perfect timing.
“I played really solid golf. I think I only had three bogeys all week. Just really stuck to my game, played Michael Thompson golf, allowed my putter to speak volumes, I think. To hit those shots coming down the stretch, those last two holes are not easy. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect scenario to finish a tournament. To see that go in was just relieving.”
Thanks to his win Sunday, Thompson jumps 112 spots in the FedEx Cup Rankings to 39th and now heads to next week’s World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, Tenn., also earning spots in a number of events, including the PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Sentry Tournament of Champions.
“It's job security for two more years, it's benefits of the sponsors that I have and it gives me the confidence to know that I can compete on the biggest stage in the world in this game and that I can do it again,” Thompson said. “To have the opportunities to play in some of the bigger tournaments, to finish the year and put myself in a chance to make Atlanta, I've never been in a better position, I think, than right now on the PGA TOUR.
“Man, I am chomping at the bit to go prove myself again really. Next week is another opportunity on a golf course that I absolutely love. Winged Foot for the U.S. Open is my favorite golf course in the entire world. I mean, you couldn't have written a better script for where I'm at right now.”
Since his first win on the Tour in 2013 at the Honda Classic, Thompson has collected 10 top-10 finishes, he claimed a third-place finish most recently at the 2015 FedEx St. Jude Classic. Thompson finished one shot back of Webb Simpson at the 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Entering Sunday’s final round with a share of the lead with Richy Werenski, Thompson started slowly with a bogey at the third hole to fall back to 14-under for the championship before back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth holes.
Turning in 16-under, the 35-year-old former University of Alabama golfer Thompson rolled in his birdie look from 10 feet at the 10th and would then birdie two of his final three holes to earn the victory, pushing his winnings for 2020 over $1.5 million.
Entering the week as one of the favorites coming off his eighth-place finish a week ago at The Memorial Tournament, Tony Finau carded one bogey during his final nine holes, missing four consecutive birdie chances late before a birdie on the final hole to finish in a nine-way tie for third at 16-under 268.
“I had some great looks down the stretch. I didn't make the putts I needed to. Nos. 12, 14, 15, I needed to get one of those I felt like kind of coming down the stretch and I wasn't able to make one of those putts,” said Finau. “I had another look on 17, and you've got to make those putts to win the tournament and I wasn't able to do it today. But my game's in a great place with three majors right around the corner and that's pretty exciting for me.”
Since the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, nobody has collected more top-10 finishes than Finau with 30. Tommy Fleetwood is Finau’s closest competitor with 16 top-10’s during that stretch. Falling to Webb Simpson in a playoff at the Phoenix Open in February, Finau was denied his first PGA Tour victory since he won the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.
The second playing of the PGA Tour event in Minnesota, formerly a PGA Tour Champions event since 1994, didn’t exactly extend ‘Minnesota Nice’ to the five players with local ties this week. Wayzata’s Tim Herron and former University of Minnesota golfer Tom Lehman both finished 36 holes of play at 1-under 141 to miss the weekend cut by one stroke.
Spring Lake Park, Minn., native Troy Merritt, who finished in a tie for seventh at last year’s inaugural event, carded a second-round 69 Friday to miss the cut by two strokes at even par 142, while former Gopher and 2012 Minnesota Golf Association Amateur champion Erik van Rooyen missed the cut by three shots at 143.
Playing as the only amateur in the field this week, current Gopher Angus Flanagan, who earned an exemption into the championship with his victory at the Minnesota State Open two weeks ago, posted a 4-over 146 to miss the cut by six.
THE 2020 3M OPEN
7,431 YARDS, PAR 71
1. Michael Thompson, 64-66-68-67—265
2. Adam Long, 68-72-63-64—267
T3. Robby Shelton, 68-68-68-64—268
T3. Charles Howell III, 71-65-67-65—268  
T3. Emiliano Grillo, 71-68-64-65—268
T3. Alex Noren, 67-69-66-66—268
T3. Tony Finau, 65-66-69-68—268
T3. Max Homa, 65-72-64-67—268
T3. Cameron Tringale, 69-70-63-66—268
T3. Richy Werenski, 63-67-68-70—268
T3. Charl Schwartzel, 66-68-66-68—268  
For complete tournament results go to: www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

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