the republic logo

Defending champion Kenny Perry has ace, shoots 61 to take 4-shot lead in 3M Championship

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

BLAINE, Minnesota — Thoughts of a 59 crept into 's mind early in his record-tying round Saturday in the Champions Tour's 3M Championship.

The defending champion didn't get that low, but had a hole-in-one and matched the tournament record with an 11-under 61 to take a four-stroke lead into the final round.

Perry has a 14-under 130 total at the TPC Twin Cities. His last 61 came at the Travelers Championship in June 2009 in the last of his 14 PGA Tour victories.

"I thought I needed a low round to get back in the tournament," said Perry, who began the day five behind Minnesota native .

and are tied for second. Sutherland had a 65, and Dunlap shot 67.

Lehman followed his opening 64 with a 71 to drop into a tie for fourth at 9 under with and . Langer and Dawson each shot 67. Langer won the event in 2009 and 2012 and has two second-place finishes in his previous six appearances. Dawson won the Senior British Open last week in England.

Perry played the first eight holes in 7 under, making an ace on the 188-yard fourth hole, had two birdies on the back nine and closed with an 18-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th.

"To start out 5 under through four, I had an idea it might be a special day," Perry said. "I started thinking, 'You know what, what is it like to shoot a 59?'"

Perry, who once shot 59 on a par-70 municipal course in a mini-tour event in Nashville, needed just 23 putts.

"That was kind of the story of the day. I had great touch and feel," he said.

Perry made a 15-foot birdie putt on final hole to beat Langer by a stroke last year, finishing at 23 under. Since the 3M Championship began in 1993, no player has repeated as champion.

"If I can putt like I did today I'm going to like my chances," Perry said.

Seeking his first win in 24 career Champions Tour starts, Sutherland birdied the first five holes and shot a front-nine 30, but had just one birdie on the back nine when he couldn't make key putts, including a three-putt on No. 18.

"I'm a little disappointed at the end of the day," said Sutherland, who shot the tour's first 59 last August at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open. "You know that Kenny is kind of running away from you, so you know you have to make some coming in to close the gap a little bit. I wasn't able to do that."

Lehman birdied three straight holes early in his round to maintain a three-stroke lead at 11-under, but he tweaked his back on a bunker shot while bogeying the short par-4 seventh and had a double bogey on the par-3 eighth. He recorded par on nine straight holes, until a birdie on the final hole.

"It's hard to get any kind of rhythm, hard to hit the ball solid," Lehman said. "I had a hard time bending over to putt."

The wind that wreaked havoc Friday was absent Saturday, allowing players to be bold and aim for the pins. Saturday's average score was 69.11; Friday it was 71.99. The wind is expected to increase just a bit for Sunday's final round.

Larry Nelson shot a 66, bettering his age by one stroke.

PHOTO: Tom Lehman tees off on the 8th hole during the second round of the Champions Tour 3M Championships golf tournament on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at TPC Twins Cities in Blaine, Minn. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton King)
Tom Lehman tees off on the 8th hole during the second round of the Champions Tour 3M Championships golf tournament on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at TPC Twins Cities in Blaine, Minn. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton King)

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Scott Dunlap tees off on the 8th hole during the second round of the Champions Tour 3M Championships golf tournament on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at TPC Twins Cities in Blaine, Minn.  (AP Photo/Andy Clayton King)
Click to view (7 Photos)
We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2015 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.