2022 3M Open Preview
WHAT a difference a year makes. Cameron Champ is currently in the worst slump of his fledgling PGA Tour career, having missed 10 cuts in 16 starts. But 12 months ago he was celebrating a victory at the 3M Open, the third time he had won on tour.
Champ fended off dehydration and putted superbly on his way to a 5-under 66 in the final round, winning by two strokes.
The 26-year-old American had five birdies in a bogey-free round to finish at 15-under 269 at TPC Twin Cities. Louis Oosthuizen, Jhonattan Vegas and Charl Schwartzel tied for second.
Oosthuizen shot 66, too, in a much stronger finish than the previous weekend at the Open Championship, where his 54-hole lead turned into a tie for third after a fourth-round 71.
Playing six groups ahead of Champ, Oosthuizen birdied three of the last four holes to give himself an outside chance. His approach to the 18th green almost yielded an eagle on the PGA Tour's hardest par five, but the ball lipped out. He made a short putt for birdie instead. Schwartzel, his fellow South African, posted a 68 to match Vegas in the final round.
During another 90-degree day, Champ was far from his physical best. He felt some dizziness along the back nine, putting his hands on his knees at one point as he hung his head to try to regain some composure. He had plenty of it on the last hole, after his safe strategy with the tee shot to stay away from the lake landed way left in a trampled, sandy area directly behind a clump of trees.
Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. His approach was a beauty that landed perfectly and rolled back toward the pin. He sank the easy par putt and had enough energy to pump his arms in celebration of his first top-10 finish of the year. Champ had the best putting performance of the entire field with 8.48 strokes gained.
The tournament boasts a pretty strong field this year, led by 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who will be flying from St Andrews.
In his only appearance at the 3M Open, Matsuyama finished T7 in 2019 - the tournament’s inaugural year. The eight-time PGA Tour champion became the first Japanese player to win one of golf’s major championships when he won the 2021 Masters Tournament.
He has also won two World Golf Championships titles and ended last year with a victory at the Zozo Championship and kicked off this year by winning the Sony Open in Hawaii. He has continued his fine form throughout the year with six top-10 finishes, including a fourth place finish at the U.S. Open.
Matsuyama will be joined by former World No. 1 Jason Day, J.T. Poston, who won the John Deere Classic, and former Open champion Stewart Cink, who is enjoying a purple patch as he prepares for the Champions Tour. Former major champions Danny Willett and Lucas Glover are also teeing it up, along with the big-hitting Tony Finau and four-time DP World Tour winner Matt Wallace.
It was won in 2019 by Matthew Wolff, in 2020 by Michael Thompson and last year by Cameron Champ.
TPC Twin Cities is a par 72 measuring 7,164 yards. It was designed by Arnold Palmer and Tom Lehman and opened in 2000. The course record is 60, set by Paul Goydos in 2017. The fairways are pretty wide but the course features a lot of sand and trees.
Hideki Matsuyama has won twice this season and made a decent defence of his Masters title, finishing in a tie for 14th place. He also finished fourth at the US Open and third at the AT&T Byron Nelson, so he is a man in form. Tony Finau has missed several cuts in 2022 but there have also been some highly encouraging performances, including runner-up finishes at both the Mexico Open and Canadian Open. Finau hits the ball a mile and this is a course that should be made for him.
Hideki Matsuyama. Former Masters champion in the field
Tony Finau. Popular American hoping to claim another win
Sungjae Im. Just adores tournament play
Five to Follow:
Hideki Matsuyama. It's time for Hideki to shine again
Tony Finau. The big man could be the player to beat
Sungjae Im. A machine.
Jason Day. It’s all about his fitness
Matt Wallace. Due a decent week
Five Outsiders to Watch:
Michael Thompson. Looking for inspiration as a former champion
Lucas Glover. Terrific iron player
Brandt Snedeker. Looking to recapture past glories
Danny Willett. A streaky player who can win anywhere
Stewart Cink. Quite capable of winning again
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