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Posted July 24, 2022 in "Watts" In The Bag by Tom Brassell
By The Associated Press
BLAINE, Minn. (AP) — Tony Finau shot a 4-under 67 to win the 3M Open by three strokes Sunday, erasing a five-stroke deficit with 11 holes left as Scott Piercy tumbled out of the lead down the stretch at windy TPC Twin Cities.
Piercy followed his tournament-record 54-hole score with a wince-inducing 76 to tie for fourth, four strokes back.
Finau finished at 17-under 267. Sungjae Im (68) and Emiliano Grillo (71) tied for second place. James Hahn surged up the board with a 65 to match Piercy and Tom Hoge (70) at 13 under.
Piercy bogeyed four of six holes before a triple-bogey implosion on No. 14, allowing Finau — playing in the preceding trio — to take over for good on his way to his third career tour victory.
Finau made a 31-foot putt for birdie on the 15th green to strengthen his grip on the lead, as the 6-foot-4 Utah player calmly and confidently walked the TPC Twin Cities course in his white hat and aqua-striped polo.
The surest sign this was Finau’s day came on No. 17. His tee shot clanged off the side of the grandstand, ricocheted back onto the green and rolled into the rough — just a few feet from the water. He landed the perfect chip within a foot of the hole to make the par 3, then smiled slightly as he playfully clamped his hand on his chest as if to pretend the sequence gave him heart trouble.
On the daunting par-5 18th, Finau found the water off the tee to face one final challenge. After the penalty stroke, his recovery shots were spot on. With Piercy looking on from the fairway, Finau made a 3-footer for bogey to seal it. He pumped his fist several times, took off his cap and walked off to embrace his family.
Finau, who tied for third at the 3M Open in 2020, race. He entered the week ranked 17th in the world.
Piercy shared the first-round lead with Im on Thursday after a 65 and pulled away from the pack Friday with a 64 to take a three-shot edge into the weekend.
The 43-year-old from Las Vegas, who still makes his native city his home base, stretched his lead to four strokes after enduring the 6 1/2-hour delay Saturday to let the rain and lightning play through. His foot bothered him so much he started taking his right shoe off after each swing and walking in his sock to the the next lie.
That was nothing compared to the grind he found himself in Sunday. He was at 20-under after six holes. Less than an hour later, Piercy was in trouble. After posting only three bogeys on his first 61 holes, he went over par on seven of his last 11. That included the 7 he turned in on No. 14.
Piercy’s tee shot landed in the fairway bunker, and his sand wedge didn’t get him out of the sand. With a risky, last-ditch approach to get back on track, his next try from the bunker splashed in the water short and left of the green — instead of a safer play to the right. After the drop, Piercy hit into the rough. Then his next attempt stopped 3 inches short of the cup.
Grillo, the Argentine who tied for second at the John Deere Classic three weeks ago, also had a triple bogey that loomed large in the end, a 7 on No. 7.
Check out “Watts” in Tony Finau’s bag below.
Driver: Ping G425 LST (9 degrees @7) – Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D Limited 70 TX
3-wood: Callaway Rogue ST (14 degrees) – Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D Limited 80 TX
Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3), Ping Blueprint (4-PW) – Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 105 X (3), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120 TX (4-PW)
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 (50-12, 56-12), WedgeWorks Proto (60-T) – Shafts: Nippon N.S. Tour Only WV 125 S (50-56), Nippon N.S. Pro Wedge 125 S (60)
Putter: Ping PLD Anser 2 prototype – Grip: Garsen Golf ULTIMATE, Garsen Golf Quad Pro
Ball: Titleist Pro V1 Left Dot