Realtors in the area, take note. Kenny Perry might never leave.
The only back-to-back winner in 3M Championship history has a third trophy well within reach after a tournament-record-tying 12-under 60 in Round 2 on Saturday at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine. Perry holed a pair of eagles.
The one on 18 came after he laced “the prettiest 5-iron I could ever hit” downwind from 212 yards away that rolled mere inches from a double eagle and a 59 on the scorecard.
“That was my only thought,” said Perry, who shot a second-round 61 when he won as defending champion in 2015. “But a great way to finish, incredible round of golf.”
The 18 under through 36 holes was two better than Perry’s own record from 2014 and puts him five strokes clear of Glen Day. Perry is eight ahead of first-round leader Jerry Smith, Lee Janzen and Tom Gillis, all tied for third.
“I’m not quite washed up yet,” Perry said.
Perry is making his eighth appearance in the 3M. He finished tied for 37th in 2016 but otherwise has finished seventh or better every year.
Day, playing one group back of Perry on Saturday, playfully chided his competitor after the round, then shook his hand and could only marvel at the performance.
“I’m so far behind Kenny it’s not even funny,” Day said after his bogey-free 7-under 65.
The tournament 54-hole record is 25 under, shot by David Frost in 2010.
Perry needs to shoot 5 under to match that mark — a score he’s bettered 11 times in 23 rounds here. Mentally, Perry said, putting a score in your head a day before the next round starts can be a hindrance.
“You know your game’s good, you know it’s there,” Perry said. “It’s just a matter of trying to get some momentum on your side.”
There was plenty of that Saturday.
A nuisance rain shower fell most of the day, but the storms and downpours stayed away from the course and the second round was completed with no delays. Players in the field marked up the leaderboards with red numbers in the soft conditions. Thirty of 77 players shot rounds in the 60s, but nobody could keep up with the man at the top.
That’s because Perry rolled in birdie putts on Nos. 2-3, another at No. 5 and then holed out for eagle from 106 yards away to get to 11 under on No. 6. The 57-year-old sailed on the back nine — making a pair of 20-foot birdie putts on Nos. 16 and 17 as his lead ballooned.
Perry is nine months removed from shoulder surgery and wasn’t sure he’d see his name at the top of a leaderboard ever again. Let alone a lead like this.
“When you sit out for six months and you don’t touch a club and you’re hurt, you have a lot of time to think,” Perry said. “Are you capable of doing the stuff that you used to be able to do or are you physically handicapped?”
The answer to that one is clear. Perry reports no pain in his shoulder.
“I don’t have any limitations right now,” Perry said.
That’s good news for his bank account, but not so much for the rest of the tour.
Tom Lehman finished his last three holes Saturday birdie-birdie-eagle yet begins Sunday one of four players nine shots back of Perry at 9 under.
“It’s the Kenny Perry Express out there,” Lehman said. “He hits it so far. A high-launch, low-spin bomber. He’s not out there with the young guys, but he’s not too far behind.”