The only thing bigger than the crowds Saturday at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine was what the size of the golf cup must have looked like to the 81 players in the 3M Championship field. Sixty-one players shot par or better. Thirty-eight had rounds in the 60s. But they’re all chasing Tom Pernice Jr., who put together a 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead over another player to card 65, Tom Kite. After shooting just 1 under on Friday, Kirk Triplett shot the round of the day with an 8-under 64 to get into a four-way tie for sixth place, up 32 places. A 3M Championship rookie, Pernice on Sunday could be the sixth player in tournament history to win on his first try. To do it, he’ll not only have to fend off Kite, a World Golf Hall of Famer, but 11 other players who are within five shots of the lead.
HOLE OF THE DAY
No. 7 , 318 yards, par 4: Players found the seventh teebox moved up for the second round and responded with crowd-pleasing results. Many reached the green off the tee. Forty-nine of 81 players carded a birdie or better.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I was very illiterate on the greens; let’s call it that.” – Rocco Mediate, who had no bogeys but finished 3 under with 30 putts.
FOUR QUESTIONS: UP AND DOWN WITH KIRK TRIPLETT
Q: Biggest difference between a 1 under in Round 1 and an 8 under in Round 2?
A: A lot fewer putts. And when I got in trouble, I made pars. I just kind of kept the momentum going when I needed to and made a couple long putts on the back nine when I wasn’t hitting it as well. Some good breaks, like on 18 when I got caught between clubs and the ball got caught up in that wind. It just didn’t go. But I still made a [par] 5.
Q: Do you remember who you beat in the ’03 Reno-Tahoe Open?
A: Lumpy? Yeah. Sure. Tim [Herron] and I have been friends for a long time, and I think then we were both living in Scottsdale about five minutes away from each other. I’ve got twins and he’s got twins; our wives are friends. It’s too bad he’s hurt right now. I played out at his club — Wayzata Country Club — just the other day. It was nice. Really nice to be up here.
Q: Any reason for your signature bucket hat?
A: Protects the sun from my ears. I started doing that a long time ago, back in the late 1980s and been doing it ever since.
Q: Is that you in the Captain America suit on your Twitter account (@realcaptainkirk)?
A: No! OK, here’s the deal — I’m at the TPC Scottsdale and these guys just showed up. Four of them in superhero costumes. I took that guy’s picture just because. I mean, out of the blue these guys were just there at the TPC. There was another guy in a yellow leotard and a flowing cape. I guess they do it every year.