Hale Irwin turned back the clock, and bested his age, at the 3M Championship

Greg Vara
Hale Irwin turned back the clock, and bested his age, at the 3M Championship

It’s one of the magical numbers in the game of golf and although this magical number varies depending on the golfer, it’s still quite significant and only the best in the world can even dream of pulling it off, yet for Hale Irwin, shooting his age at the 3M Championship has become old hat.

It started with in inauspicious 68 on Friday. His score was lost among all the leaders who posted 63s and 64s, but this score had added significance because it was posted by 69-year-old Hale Irwin. You know Hale, the guy who destroyed this tour in the late-90s when he was in his 50s.

Fast forward nearly 20 years later and he’s still at it. Granted, his pace has slowed considerably over the past decade, but every once in a while we get a glimpse of the player he once was.

So what makes this round so special? Well, nothing in particular, Hale’s done this before, heck, a lot of guys out here are capable of it, it’s just that doing it once is pretty cool, but doing it twice in one week, well that’s absurd.

No one would have given Irwin any grief if after his 68 on Friday he came back with something in the 70s on Saturday, but that wasn’t even a thought after he opened up with a 30 on the front-side during the second round on Saturday.

Just like his game over the past decade though, his pace slowed on the back-nine and he never threatened that other magical number in golf, 59, but he still ended up -6 under on the day for a total of 66, once again shooting a score lower than his age, to be specific, three better than his age and two better than his previous round.

While this is certainly a great story, the reality is that with a gaggle of “young bucks” in front of him, Irwin likely won’t have enough in the tank to pull off something truly miraculous on Sunday and win this week.

Unless he can shoot better than someone else’s age tomorrow, perhaps Tom Watson’s.