Any more birdies Saturday and the folks in the live scoring area would have run out of red-numbered magnets marking each score below par. Scores were bargain-basement low at TPC Twin Cities, which went from breezy to beautiful in 24 short hours. And the field responded. Forty-eight players shot sub-70 rounds, giving the par-72 course a scoring average of 69.1. Defending champion Kenny Perry took the biggest advantage. He shot 29 on the front nine — including the 10th hole in one in 3M Championship history — en route to a pristine 61 to lead by four shots over Kevin Sutherland and Scott Dunlap. A total of 397 birdies were made Saturday, a one-day record in the 23-year event.
Hole of the day
No. 3 • 546 yard par-5: Just about everyone got off to a good start and it’s easy to see why. The third hole played three-quarters of a shot below par, with 49 players making birdie or better.
Quote of the day
“Gol-ly. Unreal.” — Three-time 3M Championship winner Hale Irwin, when informed Perry made an ace to start his round 5 under through four holes.
The last word
Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Trevino combined to win 33 majors in their golf careers. The trio gathered Friday for a chat before teeing off in the Greats of Golf Challenge. They addressed several topics, such as the 18-hole playoff in the 1971 U.S. Open. “I lost,” Nicklaus said. “I won,” Trevino deadpanned. Here are some of their better comments:
Nicklaus: “I’ve said all along I think Tiger [Woods] will get his game back and still play very well and win a lot of tournaments. He’s still young, still strong and still has a great desire to play. That’s a good thing. … Today for Tiger to get back in position to win will be very difficult for the simple reason that we talk about Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Justin Rose — just a great number of real, real good players. And a healthy Tiger Woods playing well would add to that.”
Trevino: “These guys right here — I love ’em. When we play a little golf now we see how short we’ve gotten [off the tee]. We can hear our ball land. And Jack’s backswing is 2 foot shorter than it used to be and mine’s not even up to my belt. Now Gary, he’s a guy whose backswing is pretty good yet. We’re doing all right. We’re still here anyway.”
Player: “My first Masters I got $20,000, second Masters I got $20,000 and the third one I got $40,000. At the Legends of Golf this year, with Lee and Jack, we finish second and they hand me a check for $35,000. I’m 80 — man, only in America does that happen. … Professional golf has never been so healthy, but the game of golf has never been so unhealthy. It takes too long, it’s too expensive and the golf courses are too difficult.”