Mike Goodes turned in a bogey-free scorecard Friday at TPC Twin Cities, hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation, all 14 fairways and needed just 29 putts.
Kenny Perry still found a way to upstage what was an impressive afternoon.
That’s the kind of golf players and fans alike were treated to, another birdie-fest in Blaine with talk of records falling and predictions of how-low-can-scores-go on the weekend.
Perry matched Goodes’ 7-under 65 in Round 1 of the 3M Championship, doing so in style with six consecutive birdies to open his day. Five of those birdies came on putts of at least 10 feet.
“I just throated those first six putts, right in the middle at perfect speed,” said Perry, the 3M winner in 2014 and 2015. “The greens are faster than I remember, and I love quick greens.”
Perry’s birdie streak, the first time in his career he’s opened a round with six in a row, is one off the record to start a round here set in 2013 by Jeff Sluman. Perry made another birdie at No. 9 to turn in 7-under 29 — again one off a record.
Perry made seven consecutive pars on the back nine and then dropped a shot with a bogey on the par-3 17th.
He two-putted for birdie on the last hole.
That hot start was enough to make him co-leader on a sun-speckled day that saw 45 scores below par from the 78-player field.
Scott Verplank, Marco Dawson and Gene Sauers all finished a shot back at 6 under. So did 2011 winner Jay Haas, who closed his round with one of five eagles at the par-5 18th hole.
“If you’re afraid to make birdies, you’re probably not going to do very good,” said Verplank, who lipped out on the eighth hole for a streak of six birdies of his own.
Defending champion Joe Durant is among five players at 5 under. Twenty-three players will start Saturday within three shots of the lead.
Even players who didn’t make as many birdies found a way into the mix.
Fan favorite Tom Lehman, playing with Perry, four-putted from 30 feet for double bogey on No. 4. After a pep talk with his daughter, carrying a maroon and gold Gophers golf bag as his caddie, Lehman birdied the next four in a row and added another on 17 to finish with a 68.
“One a course like this, somewhere along the way you have to get hot,” Lehman said. “You can’t afford too many mistakes because there just aren’t enough birdies to make up for it with the scores that are out there. One bogey can feel like a slap in the face.”
For Perry, his day was more like a goose down pillow.
“When Rocco [Mediate] and Tom’s eyes are rolling up in their heads you know something’s going on,” Perry said.
While more than satisfied with a 7-under score to start, Perry admitted the birdie streak got him thinking about possibly going super-low, perhaps even a PGA Tour Champions record 58.
“I started trying too hard instead of letting it happen like it did on the front nine,” Perry said. “It’s funny how mentally the game will get in the way.”
That didn’t happen for Goodes, and rarely has in the 3M Championship. Friday’s 65 was his 10th consecutive round in the 60s in Blaine.
“This course is easier, obviously, and the scores show it,” said Goodes, who has finished in the top 10 three straight years at TPC Twin Cities. “But I felt good coming in, felt good the last few weeks. It just hasn’t shown 100 percent. We’ll see what happens the next couple days.”
The wind is expected to shift from the northwest to the southwest for Saturday’s round, and Perry was asked if that meant he would birdie six in a row on the back nine.
“I like the way you’re thinking,” he said. “I would be all for it.”