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Michael Thompson's 3M Open win hits home

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Michael Thompson's 3M Open win hits home

    Written by Helen Ross @helen_pgatour

    Michael Thompson shoots 67 to win at 3M Open

    BLAINE, Minn. – No words really needed to be said.

    And it was a good thing, too, because when Michael Thompson FaceTimed his wife Rachel, the woman he calls his “rock,” after he won the 3M Open on Sunday afternoon, they both dissolved into tears.

    The road to his second PGA TOUR victory has been a long one for the 35-year-old. And for the better part of the 2,702 days that have passed since he won the 2013 Honda Classic, Thompson lived on the fringes of the PGA TOUR, in a seemingly constant battle to keep to his card.

    All that changed on Sunday, though, when Thompson made a 15-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole for an emphatic two-stroke victory.

    RELATED:Final leaderboard | What’s in Thompson’s bag?

    He now has job security through the 2022-23 season and a ton of confidence to go with it. He’s a lock for a deep run into the FedExCup Playoffs, too – maybe even to the finale at East Lake in Atlanta -- after moving from 151st to 39th.

    And there are other perks, too.

    Take this week’s World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational where he’ll make just his fourth WGC start on a course he says he “absolutely loves.” And for the first time since 2013, he nabbed a spot in the U.S. Open – which is being played on his favorite course in the world at Winged Foot.

    So, is it any surprise that Thompson and Rachel, a doctor of physical therapy whom he met when both were students at Tulane, were so emotional?

    “She knows the work that I've put in, the early mornings going to the gym, the time I've spent with Justin Parsons, my swing coach, practice, being away from the kids,” Thompson said. “This is what we do all that work for and so it's just so exciting that I now get to celebrate that with them. What a week.”

    Actually, you could say, what a year for the Thompsons.

    The week after THE PLAYERS Championship was canceled, the couple and their son Jace – who was “bouncing off the walls like every three-year-old does and excited to see me on the TV,” Thompson said on Sunday – went to Kansas to adopt their second child, a daughter who they named Laurel Marie.

    Thompson and his wife were in the delivery room, as they had been when Jace was born. The new dad even got to cut the umbilical cord. They spent the next 27 days in Kansas waiting on the paperwork to be completed as the pandemic shutdown prompted legal delays.

    “But it was really a joy for me to be able to stay home those first three months of her life and really get to care for her and learn her little nuances and see her smile,” he said. “It definitely puts perspective in your mind when you have kids because golf is very important and it's what I love to do, but our kids are what we live for.

    “I'm very, very thankful that I had that time with her.”

    Thompson never stopped working on his game, though, and the payoff came this week in Minnesota, about 1,400 miles away from their Sea Island home. He was patient and poised, making just three bogeys all week, playing what he called some steady “Michael Thompson golf.”

    A brilliant shot to 3 feet from the left greenside bunker at the driveable 16th hole gave Thompson the lead he would not relinquish on Sunday afternoon. And then he played the par-5 18th – where everyone’s last gasp at eagle kept coming up short – conservatively and padded his lead.

    “You can only dream of making a putt on the last hole to win a tournament,” said Thompson, who led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting at +7.275. “Definitely nice to know that I had a one-shot cushion, so I only had to two-putt, but had such a good read, it was an uphill right-to-left, exactly what any right-handed golfer wants.

    “And I've been putting good all day today, so I just said -- I said to myself before I hit it, ‘Best putt of the day here, best putt of the day,’ and sure enough I hit it absolutely perfect and it went right in the middle.

    Thompson has wanted to play the PGA TOUR since he was a 7-year-old kid who used to spend hours hitting bunker shots at Forty Niner Country Club in Tucson where he grew up. And even with the seven years between victories, “you couldn’t have written a better script for where I’m at right now,” he said.

    “This win validates the first win,” Thompson said. “It solidifies kind of my presence on the PGA TOUR and proves to my peers that I'm a threat every week and that's what I want to be.”

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