The writing on the wall was there nearly from the start Sunday at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine. Playing in the day’s fifth group, Jeff Sluman shot a tournament-record 28 on the front nine. It set the stage for a third consecutive day of ultra-low numbers. Sluman finished his afternoon 10 under and for more than an hour led the tournament at 16 under par. The way things were going, it was almost certain not to stick, and Tom Pernice Jr. made sure it didn’t — barely. The final-round leader did just enough. He carded a 4-under 68 to finish one shot ahead of Sluman and Corey Pavin. Sixty-nine of the 81 players finished at level par or better, 36 of which finished in the 60s. There were 1,017 birdies made during the tournament on a course that played nearly a stroke and a half below par.
Hole of the Day
No. 18, 582 yards, par 5: As always the finishing hole provided some spark. Half the field made birdie at 18 on Sunday, while seven players were able to shave two strokes with an eagle, making the hole average nearly a half-shot lower during the final round.
Quote of the Day
“I was counting down the holes … I really felt crappy.” — Minnesota native Tom Lehman, who never got anything going this week while battling illness, fatigue and jet lag after playing four consecutive Sundays, including three majors. Lehman finished the 3M Championship in a tie for 29th place at 8-under 208.
Four questions: Up and down with Fred Funk
Q: You saved your best round of the tournament [6-under 66] for Sunday, when did it turn around?
A: Actually, it all changed on the 14th hole when I put it in the water and made double bogey. That took away all momentum — and I had it going. I mean, 7 under through 13. Man. I was rocking and rolling and then chunked that 7-iron right into the water. That was the end. You just can’t do that.
Q: What sticks out about your fourth-place finish at the 2002 PGA Championship here in the Twin Cities?
A: That was one of the most memorable, if not the most memorable, weeks on Tour for me. The way the gallery adopted me, that was a lot of fun.
Q: A lot of your “Funk’s Punks” fans out there?
A: Yeah. And you know, all those Funk’s Punks really root for everybody. I see it all the time. It’s not just when I hit a good shot. They’re golf fans, you know? They just don’t care about one guy. Our guys, the Punks, they get drunk enough, they cheer no matter what. And we’re out here trying to make a living and it gets frustrating at times. They provide some good entertainment.
Q: Is getting into the U.S. Open at your home course of Congressional in 2011 up there for you on the career highlight list as well?
A: Well, yeah that was a big week but unfortunately I didn’t play very well. My leg was bad and sore and my game just wasn’t there. My game just ate me alive. But it was unbelievable to get to play in front of the home crowd. That’s a very special place for a local guy.