DAY 1 RECAP
If any Champions Tour players are still jet-lagged after last week’s Senior British Open, the effects did not surface Friday in Round 1 of the 3M Championship. A total of 35 players shot rounds in the 60s on a TPC Twin Cities course in Blaine that averaged more than a stroke below par. Marco Dawson turned in the most impressive card, a bogey-free, 9-under 63 only four days after flying in from Wales and three days after claiming the final open qualifying spot. He has a one-stroke advantage over Bernhard Langer, Vijay Singh, Jeff Maggert and Rocco Mediate, Dawson’s former college teammate at Florida Southern. Perhaps the most impressive score of the day, however, was 69-year-old Hale Irwin’s 4-under 68, the fifth time in his career he’s bettered his age. Langer’s 64 was his 30th round in the 60s on the Champions Tour this season.
HOLE OF THE DAY
No. 4, 177 yards, par 3
On a day prime to go low, at least the players had some challenge. There were only four birdies made at No. 4, the only hole on the course without double-digit birdies on Friday.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m a senior.”
— Vijay Singh, giving a blank-stare answer when asked what prompted him to enter the 3M Championship. Singh was eligible for the PGA Tour’s Barracuda Championship this week and will play in the PGA Championship next week.
UP AND DOWN WITH ROCCO MEDIATE
The 51-year-old is back at the 3M Championship, one shot off the lead in what he calls a “home” tournament now that he’s living part time in Minnesota.
Q Why stay in Minnesota?
A Two words — a woman [laughs]. But I love it here. The summers here are fantastic. I stayed a little long into the winter last year, the worst winter probably in the history of the state. We’ll continue to go back and forth [to Florida].
Q Do you like having to go so low at tournaments like this?
A Every week it’s low, and I love the feeling of the sprint. Regular tour? It’s a marathon. On this one, if you don’t get off to a good start, you probably don’t have a chance to win. If you shoot 1 or 2 under [in Round 1], you’re done as far as winning.
Q Did seeing [playing partner] Kenny Perry hole out on No. 10 give you a kick-start, too?
A Man, Kenny and Nick [Price] are two of the best guys there are. With Kenny, we’re dead tied on 18 and he’s just acting normal. It doesn’t even look like he’s trying. Just bang, there you go. And Nick is playing much better than he thinks he is. He hit a lot of good shots. Looked like the old Nick.
Q The only problem with being near the lead is you’ll miss the Greats of Golf on Saturday teeing off behind you.
A Well, I’ll be hearing it. It will be fun. I’m looking forward to seeing Mr. Palmer again, that’s for sure. I’ve been fortunate enough to be his friend since I was 19. He expects greatness and I always look at him like, I’m not you. He’s tough, but in a good way. He’s helped me with a lot of stuff over the years, and he’s just awesome.