Birdies and train wrecks. That what 3M Open tournament director Hollis Cavner has advertised for months leading up to the opening round of the PGA Tour event at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.
How'd the opening round on the Fourth of July turn out?
Loads of birdies, few train wrecks – unless your name is Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson was one under through eight holes before the train left the tracks on the Par 5 18th (he started on the back nine). Lefty's tee shot in the water for a penalty, and then took an aggressive line on his third shot and found the water again. Ultimately, he left 18 with a triple bogey 8.
He again found water on No. 2 and No. 9 and left the day with a 3 over 74, 12 shots off the lead after Scott Piercy fired a 9 under 62.
“Oh, my goodness. You know, I had seven penalty strokes. You can’t do that and compete,” Mickelson said. “It’s frustrating because I felt like I was playing well, making some good swings.”
Minnesota native Tim Herron (+2) also struggled and at one point in his round he was over, while fellow Minnesotan, Tom Lehman, is in much better standing entering the second round after firing a 4 under 67. He had four birdies and 14 pars in his bogey-free round.
- Hideki Matsuyama (-7)
- Bryson DeChambeau (-5)
- Tony Finau (-5)
- Brooks Koepka (-4)
- Lucas Glover (-4)
- Charles Howell III (-3)
- Patrick Reed (-2)
- Jason Day (-2)
- Nate Lashley (-2)
- Jason Dufner (-1)
- Keegan Bradley (-1)
Overall, 31 golfers finished 4 under or better and combined for a total of 32 bogies and zero double or triple bogies.
Of the 155 golfers in the field, just 44 failed to shoot even par or better, and stunningly, only 14 of them had a worse round than Mickelson.
TPC Twin Cities features a ton of water, wide rolling fairways, large greens with big slopes and elevation changes, but so long as players keep it out of the water they'll likely continue to carve it up with low rounds unless the wind picks up, but there's very little win in the forecast through the weekend.
It's looking more and more likely that it'll take 20-25 under par to win the tournament, and it wouldn't be a total shock if at least one golfer doesn't have to wait for Minnesota winter to taste 30 below (par).
Regardless, it's an exciting course and birdies are fun. And there's no doubt that watching Mickelson hit from the fescue outside a million-dollar home in Blaine is worth the price of admission.
The weather might complicate things for Friday's second round as another hot and humid day with rain chances awaits.