Im, Piercy fire 65s to share lead at PGA 3M Open

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

South Korea's Im Sung-jae and American Scott Piercy each fired six-under-par 65s to share the lead after Thursday's opening round of the US PGA Tour's 3M Open.

Both battled tricky winds at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota, but seized a two-stroke edge over Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and Americans Tom Hoge, Doug Ghim, Brice Garnett and Tony Finau.

"I felt like I struck the ball well all day," Piercy said. "With the winds being cross and swirly, I felt like I hit good solid shots into conservative parts of the green."

Back-nine starter Im sank a putt from just inside 18 feet for par at 18 to spark a hot closing-nine run.

"It was a good score," Im said through a translator. "The momentum at 18th hole made a good rhythm for me, a good tempo, and I had a good score on the back nine."

Im, the 2020 Masters runner-up, seeks his third PGA title after the 2020 Honda Classic and 2021 Shriners Children's Open.

Im, 24, birdied the 10th and 12th holes but missed the green at the par-3 13th and took his lone bogey, answering with an eight-foot birdie putt at 16 and his long effort at 18.

He birdied four of his last six holes, including birdie putts of 15 feet at the par-3 fourth, 23 feet at the seventh and 26 feet at the ninth.

Piercy, a 2016 US Open runner-up, chases his fifth PGA title, but his first solo crown since the 2015 Barbasol Championship.

Piercy dropped a wedge shot six feet from the cup to set up an opening birdie, then sank a 31-foot birdie putt at the third and a six-footer at the par-5 sixth before his lone bogey at the ninth.

He responded with birdies on four of the next five holes, making putts from 26 feet at 10, 20 feet at 11 and 31 feet at 13 before landing his approach inches from the cup for another at 14.

Piercy, 43, is down to his last three events to try and move into the top 125 on the PGA season points list and reach next month's playoffs.

"You know where you're at," Piercy said. "Every shot counts and it's time to buckle down. To start off this way is really nice."

Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion, withdrew after a 77 that included a quadruple bogey nine at the 18th hole, plunking three balls in the water on his ninth hole of the round.

His reason for departure was listed as a sore wrist.

Also shooting 77 was American Jeff Overton, making his first PGA start in more than five years due to lingering injuries.

Mardy Fish, a six-time winner on the ATP Tour who took a silver medal in men's singles at the 2004 Athens Olympics, made his PGA debut on a sponsor's exemption, struggling to an 81 to share 153rd.

The 40-year-old American, who retired from tennis in 2015, won his last ATP title 11 years ago in Atlanta.

Fish, a celebrity golf event winner, was the first ATP player to compete in a PGA tournament and follows in the footsteps of such athletes as NBA star Stephen Curry and former NFL quarterback Tony Romo.

js/rcw