PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Short Jr. making nice late-season push
Solo second at 3M Championship moved him from No. 30 to No. 23 in the Schwab Cup race
August 08, 2018
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- August 08, 2018
- Wes Short Jr. has earned $513,837 in 16 events in 2018. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
While Kenny Perry was dominating the headlines and trying to figure out how to extend the northern border of Kentucky to include Blaine, Minnesota, Wes Short Jr. at the very least was keeping the leader at the 3M Championship honest.
Perry pretty much owns the TPC Twin Cities. He won the PGA TOUR Champions event there for the third time, thanks in large part to a second-round 60. Paired with his opening 66, the Bluegrass State native was a tournament record 18-under par through two rounds, and only Glen Day was within eight shots of him (Day trailed by five).
Perry figured all he had to do was get to 20 under and that would force Day to shoot 7 under to tie and anyone of the pursuers at 10 under to shoot 62.
None got close, but Short Jr., in a group at 9 under, came out firing.
“I knew that catching Kenny was going to probably be out of the question, but I thought maybe I could get to second with a good round,” Short said.
The long-hitting Texas native posted five birdies and no bogeys on the front nine, while behind him Perry stumbled a bit and was 1 over through eight. Short actually managed to get within two shots of Perry’s lead, but the nine-shot mountain was just too high to climb.
“I saw that I got within a couple, and then -- yu know, there's some good holes coming in, the wind was blowing pretty good,” Short said. “And I hit some good shots on 16 and 17 that just didn't convert. And then I hit a really good shot there on 18, and a good chip. But then I looked over and Kenny had birdied 16. So even if I had chipped in, he would have probably just had to par the last hole.”
Perry maintained his composure after bogeys on Nos. 6 and 7. A birdie on the difficult ninth calmed his nerves and freed him up to play the back nine in 3 under.
On 7, it hit the high side of the lip and spun out.” Perry said. “And it was fast. Left about a 3-footer coming back, which I pulled. So, 6 was just a -- I drove it into a spot where I had a big clump of grass behind the ball, couldn't really hit it. And I kind of pulled it, hoseled it, shut the face down, and almost went in the hazard through the fairway.
“And then I shanked the next shot with an 8-iron, but it ended up in the fairway, and wedge in, and able to two putt for bogey. Bogeys don't kill you when you have a big lead, and I knew that. I said somehow you have to settle down, make some birdies. That putt on nine was huge because that's a tough hole.”
Short bested Perry by six shots for the round with a 9-under 63 to finish at 18 under to Perry’s 21 under. It was good enough for solo second, Short’s best finish this year. It as the low round on Sunday by two shots.
And it was reminiscent of what Short has done at TPC Twin Cities almost as much as what Perry has done. No one has had the finishing kick that Short has had at the 3M Championship. In five appearances, Short’s final round scores were 62, 68, 65, 62 and 63. Three of those were the low round of the day. That’s an average score of 8-under 64.
It’s difficult to put into perspective just how impressive that is. The current leader on PGA TOUR Champions in third-round scoring sits at 68.67. In the years in which Perry has won the 3M his final-round scores were 65, 68 and 69.
A freewheeling Short, one of the longest hitters on PGA TOUR Champions, is a very dangerous Short.
“Like I said, there was probably no catching Kenny, and so just second place was within reach, I thought, but I was going to have to play a really good round,” said Short, who picked up just his third top-10 finish this season and moved from 30th to 23rd in the Schwab Cup standings. “I'm a pretty aggressive player anyway, and so today it worked out.”
Unfortunately for Perry and Short, this was the final 3M Championship for PGA TOUR Champions. The event will become a PGA TOUR stop in 2019.
“This golf course fit me to a T,” said Perry, who intends to use his exempt status as a top 50 moneywinner on the PGA TOUR to play in next year’s event. “I hate they're going to change it for next year. It's going to be so long next year. I probably won't even recognize it when I come back. But I do know the greens. I understand them. I love putting these greens. They are some of the best surfaces we putt on.
“But I will be back there hitting long irons while those kids will be hitting wedges, so that's going to be hard to beat.”