Paul Goydos drew a 7-iron and dropped his first approach shot of the day 15 yards short and right of the green in Round 2 of the 3M Championship. He made the up-and-down for par but walked to the No. 2 tee box kicking himself at the lost opportunity.
“It was ‘bazinga’ from that point,” he said.
Goydos finished Saturday with a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th — his 16th one-putt of the round — to cap a tournament-record 12-under 60. It puts Goydos at 14 under heading into Sunday’s final round, tied with Kenny Perry (65) and Gene Sauers (64) atop the leaderboard.
Perry (in the second round of 2015) and David Frost (final round of 2010) held the previous 3M record of 11-under 61. Goydos, who shot a 59 in the first round of the 2010 John Deere Classic, said a record score didn’t enter his mind Saturday.
“I wasn’t concerned that much about it,” he said. “Just trying to shoot the best score you can with the best shots you can.”
There certainly was plenty of that in Round 2, with little wind and players commenting that the greens this week are running about as pure as any player has seen in some time.
Fifty-six of 77 players finished Saturday in the 60s at TPC Twin Cities. The scoring average of 67.883 was the lowest single-round mark in PGA Tour Champions history, breaking a 12-year-old record.
Perry, a two-time champion, matched his 7-under from Friday yet gained no ground on the field.
“One day I feel like I got it, next day I don’t feel like I got it and shoot the same score,” Perry said. “I guess that’s a positive. … There’s just a lot of birdie holes out there, [and] everybody’s catching up.”
Goydos, with 10 birdies and just 20 putts, took the biggest advantage. He finished 10 strokes better than his Round 1 score and became more clutch as Saturday’s round progressed, making putts from 15, 20 and 25 feet on the back nine.
“But Kenny shot 23 under here in my first Champions Tour event” in 2014, Goydos said. “I have a long ways to go.”
Still, the timing for such a sparkling round could not have been better.
Goydos has two PGA Tour Champions top-10 finishes this season, and one of those came in the legends team event with Kevin Sutherland. Playing his own ball, Goydos finished tied for seventh at the Insperity Invitational in May but otherwise has found more struggles than successes.
Goydos hadn’t shot better than a 65 since a second-round 63 en route to winning the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship his rookie season on the Champions Tour.
Saturday, he used solid play and a bit of luck to put himself in position for a big payday.
On 15, Goydos hit his tee shot left of the fairway and behind a tree — way left.
“I didn’t know trees were on that hole,” he said.
Goydos managed to rope his second shot around the tree — “a 20-yard hook” — and made the 20-foot birdie putt to turn a probable bogey into a day-saving birdie.
“Those are the things that turn really good rounds into stupid good rounds,” he said.
With 19 players within four shots of the lead, someone will have to go bargain-basement low again to become the 3M Championship’s 25th champion.
Scott Dunlap and Steve Stricker put themselves into the trophy conversation with 9-under 63s on Saturday. Dunlap is tied with Brandt Jobe one shot back of the leaders at 13 under. Stricker and Marco Dawson are lurking at 12 under.
“To win, it’s going to take another 8, 9 under,” said Dunlap, who tied for second behind Perry in 2015. “You’re going to have to beat 20 under to win, so why not go do it?”