It took a late birdie to pull it off, but Michael Thompson secured his second PGA Tour win on Sunday afternoon.
Thompson, who started the day tied atop the field at TPC Twin Cities outside of Minneapolis, used a birdie on No. 16 to push ahead late and win the 3M Open — his first win on Tour since 2013.
“It’s been a long time,” he said on CBS after the win, holding back tears. “I’m really sad that my wife and kids aren’t here to celebrate with me. I can’t wait to see them. I don’t know what to say, this is so exciting.
“I just played such good golf today, and stayed within myself, believed in myself. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
"I just played such good golf today... stayed within myself, believed in myself. I couldn't have asked for anything more."— GOLFonCBS (@GOLFonCBS) July 26, 2020
Michael Thompson catches up with @Amanda_Balionis after his win at the @3MOpen.
📺 | CBS pic.twitter.com/ZnPH2bNnha
Thompson’s clutch bunker birdie
Thompson offset an early bogey with back-to-back birdies on his front nine and made a birdie on No. 10 to remain tied with Adam Long at 17 under. It wasn’t until No. 16, however, that Thompson finally made his move.
The 35-year-old nearly drove the green on the short par 4, but landed in a greenside bunker instead. He then expertly pitched it out, landing his ball just feet from the cup, and finished the putt to make birdie — officially regaining the lead.
Thompson saved par on No. 17, and then sunk a deep birdie putt on No. 18 to secure the two-shot win. He finished the day with a 4-under 67.
Long came in second at 17 under. The 32-year-old, who posted an 8-under 63 on Saturday, jumped 12 spots on the leaderboard in the final round thanks to a 7-under 64. He got off to a quick start, too, making four birdies in five holes on the front side before closing his round with two birdies in his final three holes. He finished well ahead of Thompson, however, giving him plenty of time to make a move.
Nine players tied for third at 16 under, including Charles Howell III, Tony Finau, Max Homa and Richy Werenski, who was tied with Thompson to start the day.
Thompson’s huge FedExCup jump
Thompson only has one other top-10 finish this season, coming in T8 at the RBC Heritage last month. He missed the cut at the Workday Charity Open two weeks ago, and finished outside of the top 45 in his other two appearances on Tour since play resumed after the COVID-19 hiatus. He missed the cut in seven of his 11 appearances earlier this season, too.
The win on Sunday will not only launch Thompson up the Official World Golf Rankings — he started the week at No. 218 in the world — but also in the FedExCup standings, something that will be critical in his playoff push. He started the week at No. 151 in the standings, outside of the cut for The Northern Trust, and will now sit at No. 39 — marking a 112-spot jump. Thompson has also secured exempt status on Tour for the next two years and spots in both next week’s World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the PGA Championship.
“That’s what makes this game so unbelievable is that we have to play for our job every year,” he said on CBS. “To know that I have security for two more years and to get into all those tournaments … it’s just a huge bonus. I’ll have to get my mind right for sweating next week, but oh man, it’s just so exciting.”
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