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Sunday, December 04, 2022

3M lead shared by IM, pierces smoothly after first round

3M lead shared by IM, pierces smoothly after first round

Blaine, Min. ( Associated Press) — Scott Piercy shot 6-under 65 to share a 3M Open lead with Sungjae Im after a first-round wind on Thursday.

Tony Finau was two strokes behind, with Bryce Garnett, Doug Ghim, Emiliano Grillo and Tom Hoge missing three near birdie puts in their final four holes.

On an 86-degree dry day at the TPC Twin Cities in suburban Minneapolis, the course’s tendency to make a low score stalled once again.

Playing from the first tee to the second group of the day, Piercy made 151 feet of putts. He birdies in four of the first five holes in the nine holes of his back.

Piercy, 43, who led the 3M Open in 2019 by two strokes after the first round, is one of several on-the-fringe players in the field this year seeking a late-season lift in the FedEx Cup race. Piercy reached Minnesota in 138th place, with a cut for the playoffs at 125 and then two events left to qualify. In four of his last six, Pieri has failed to advance to the weekend.

On tour since 2009, Pieri has four victories in his career. Just last week, he turned his caddy, his swing coach, his driver and his putter – an uncharacteristically harsh series of decisions for him.

“Every shot counts, and it’s time to cut short,” Piercy said. “It’s not that we try not to bend all the time, but I think there’s extra buckling. It’s really good to start that way.

“The result with the putter today, I couldn’t be happier. It really made me smile, and I don’t smile much. Sometimes you have to make changes to get better.”

Im, 19th in the FedEx Cup standings and 24th in the world, Birdies on four of his last six holes, The 24-year-old from South Korea finished eighth at this year’s Masters, but 81 at the British Open last week.

Finau, the lone member of last year’s US Ryder Cup squad and ranked 17th in the world, has finished two spots in the top five this summer.

He missed a 3-foot birdie put at 15 and just a 4-foot left for a short birdie at 16. Then on the 18th, his tee and approach shot were spot on, but the 8-foot birdie putt went out and settled at 4 inches. from the cup. Making two of those three would have leveled it for the lead.

“There was enough wind to affect every shot, put and hitting, but I stabilized the ship very well,” said Finau. “I bogeyed the first hole, which isn’t the start of the day when you’re playing kind of hard, but I was able to pierce a few putts in the middle of that front nine and get going in the middle of the round.”

Hogge, who grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, about a 3 1/2-hour drive northwest, won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. He has missed a cut in each of his last six matches.

“I just feel comfortable being in the field. I think it helps a lot to grow up in this wind,” Hoge said, “just to get a sense of how much it would affect some of the shots out there. ”

Hideki Matsuyama, the highest-ranked player on the field, withdrew. He cited his worst round of the season, a bad wrist after shooting 77 to match his Saturday at the Masters on 9 April.

Entering week eight in the FedEx Cup race and world number 14, Matsuyama entered water three times Forgiveness and lakeside on the 18th hole and took a quadruple-bogie 9. Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters winner and fourth-place finisher at the US Open this summer, finished seventh in the first edition of the 3M Open in 2019.

Former tennis star Mardi Fisch, who is playing on a sponsorship discount, finished last at 81. The best underdog story among sponsor discounts was that of Jeff Overton, who is making his first debut in five years. After recovering from a life-threatening spinal cord infection Which stems from an injection to treat a herniated disc.

Overton, who has over $12 million in career earnings and played on the 2010 US Ryder Cup team, scored 77 runs.

“It was definitely emotional. Definitely teared up there a couple of times,” Overton said. “Nothing crazy, but yeah, it’s a win.”

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More Associated Press Golf coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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