Week 14 Approach Shots: 3M Championship

July 09, 2009
PGA TOUR staff

Prior to 2008, the widest margin of victory at the 3M Championship was three strokes when, in 2002, World Golf Hall of Fame member Hale Irwin beat Hubert Green in the second 3M Championship held at TPC Twin Cities.

Quick facts
WHAT: 14th of 26 official Charles Schwab Cup events
WHEN: July 10-12
WHERE: Blaine, Minn.
COURSE: TPC Twin Cities
WHAT'S AT STAKE: $1.75 million ($262,500 to the winner)
KEY LINKS: Tee Times | Scores | Power Rankings | Tournament site

Last year, R.W. Eaks demolished that margin of victory when he rolled to a six-stroke win, despite trailing by three strokes following the opening round. Eaks came back with a 9-under 63 in the second round to take a three-stroke lead into Sunday and just kept going. By the time he was done, Eaks was 23-under and had secured his fourth Champions Tour title.

This season, Eaks has continued to battle knee issues. His top finish in 2009 is an eighth-place showing at The Cap Cana Championship. He is 51st on the money list and 46th in the Charles Schwab Cup points race.

RECORD-BREAKING WIN: Eaks' winning score of 23-under-par 193 last year shattered the old tournament record (19-under 197 by Ed Dougherty at Bunker Hills). The previous-best three-round total at the TPC Twin Cities was 18-under 198 by D.A. Weibring in 2007. Prior to his win last year, Eaks had never finished in the top 10 at the 3M Championship. His best performance in four previous appearances at the TPC Twin Cites was a tie for 11th in 2002. His previous-best, 54-hole total at this event was 7-under-par 209. His six-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer and Gary Hallberg was also the largest winning margin in tournament history, surpassing Hale Irwin's three-stroke win in 2002. Eaks' final-round 65 also matched the tournament record for lowest finish by a winner. In the inaugural event in 1993, Chi Chi Rodriguez shot 65 in the final round at Bunker Hills en route to victory.

BATTLING BACK: Three months since undergoing double-bypass surgery on April 4, 2003 champion Wayne Levi will make only his seventh start of the 2009 season and just his second since his surgery. Levi tied for 33rd at the recent Dick's Sporting Goods Open in New York. Levi had been experiencing an uncomfortable sensation in his chest for nearly a month, and after a visit to his physician he was told he had suffered a heart attack and it was recommended he undergo bypass surgery.

FUNK'S FIRST: While this will be Fred Funk's first visit to the Minneapolis area as a member of the Champions Tour, he has some good memories of his last visit when he played in the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Funk, who became a local fan favorite at the event, shared the first- and second-round leads in the tournament before eventually tying for fourth.

Weather forecast for the 3M Championship
Partly cloudy
Temp: 81 high/60 low
Partly cloudy
Temp: 76 high/55 low
Temp: 81 high/58 low
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3M Championship snippets
First timers: There have been six first-time winners in 3M Championship history -- Vicente Fernandez (1996), Leonard Thompson (1998), Ed Dougherty (2000), Bruce Lietzke (2001), Wayne Levi (2003) and David Edwards (2006).
Second-round leaders: In the previous 16 3M Championship, players leading or co-leading after Saturday's round have won 10 times, including eight of the last 12 years in Minnesota. The exceptions came in 2006 (Curtis Strange), 2003 and 2004 (Tom Purtzer) and 2001 (Hale Irwin and Jose Maria Canizares).
Leader Langer: Ohio State's Joey Sindelar won the 1981 Big Ten Conference title at the University of Minnesota's Les Bolstad Golf Course, beating Minnesota's Tom Lehman by one stroke for the crown. Sindelar is playing this week.

NEW CLASS: Several players will tee it up for the first time at the TPC Twin Cities in the 2009 3M Championship. They are Fred Funk, Nick Price, Mark Wiebe, Mark O'Meara, Hal Sutton, Olin Browne, Larry Mize, Blaine McCallister, Robert Thompson and John Morse.