Scott Piercy played 61 really fine holes of golf at the TPC Twin Cities but what transpired over the final 11 Sunday afternoon was a complete, unmitigated disaster that opened the door for Tony Finau to collect his third Tour victory at the 3M Championship.
Piercy was the 54-hole leader at 18-under and survived a crazy third round on Saturday that included a six-and-a-half hour rain delay. His final round started well enough — birdies at the second and sixth holes got him to 20-under par and seemingly in total control of the championship.
Finau, the highest-ranked player in the field (No. 17) was five behind Piercy. “Really, everything I had. I played great, but every time I looked up, it seemed like I was four or five shots back, really, all day,” he said. “I really got things going in the middle of our back nine, and once I took control of the golf tournament, it was a whole different mindset.”
Finau took control because Piercy lost control. He bogeyed the 11th then at the par three 13th, blocked his tee shot that went long into knee-high fescue. The result was another bogey but the beginning of the end for Piercy came at the par four 14th. His tee shot found a fairway bunker right and his ball plugged. He failed to get his second out of the bunker. His third found the water left of the green. He left his fifth on the fringe, short then two-putted for a triple-bogey seven that dropped him back to 14-under and in a tailspin from which he didn’t recover.
Finau shot into the lead with three straight birdies starting at the 14th. They took him to 18-under and comfortably in the lead at 18-under. But Tony flirted with danger at the par three 17th where his tee shot sailed long and hit the stands, bounding onto the green then headed for the water. His ball pulled up just short of the yellow hazard line — a stroke of luck. “I tried to seal the deal, but (there were) a couple squirrelly swings coming in,” Finau joked. “I called bank (shot) on 17 and it worked out.”
Finau bogeyed the 18th after his tee shot found the water but it didn’t matter. He was that fair ahead and tapped in for a closing bogey and 67 that put him three clear of Sungjae Im and Emiliano Grillo.
Piercy’s 76 dropped him all the way back to 13-under but the T4 gave him a big boost, helping him jump from 138 up to 112 in the FedEx Cup standings.