TPC Twin Cities’ par-5 finishing hole anything but a snoozer
July 23, 2021
By Jeff Babineau , PGATOUR.COM
- July 23, 2021
- The picturesque par-5 18th hole at TPC Twin Cities 3M Open. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
Dustin Johnson stepped to the 18th tee at TPC Twin Cities needing birdie to make the cut at the 3M Open late Friday afternoon. When he overcooked a cut with the driver and drowned his tee shot into the water that runs down the right side of the hole, so, too, went his chances to play this weekend.
Ranked No. 2 in the world behind Spain’s Jon Rahm, Johnson was the highest-ranked player in this week’s 3M field, and he had not missed a cut since May’s PGA Championship. He made bogey-6 and shot 1-over 72, finishing two rounds at level par, outside the cutline.
“Yeah, just didn't hit enough fairways on the back nine,” Johnson said afterward. “You know, tried to hang in there. The wind was blowing pretty hard. It played pretty tough.”
But Johnson was far from alone in finding a difficult challenge awaiting at the finishing hole at TPC Twin Cities. Though his errant drive was the 24th tee shot to find the water, there many other ways to make a mess of the hole.
Roger Sloan came to the 18th at 10 under par and alone in the lead early Friday afternoon, but his approach shot from 268 yards fell shy, tumbling into water fronting the green. He would make 6 and shoot 69. Chez Reavie, who got to 18 sharing the lead, made bogey after pulling his tee shot into a grassy native area down the left side, struggling to advance his second shot down the fairway. It was his lone blemish on the card as well.
Usually, a closing par-5 hole represents an opportunity for the best players on the planet to don a bib and feast with eagles and birdies. Friday, the hole was just plain tricky. The 590-yard 18th had been the third easiest hole in the opening round; Friday, it was a real nuisance. It ranked 11th in difficulty.
“I think the wind was just quartering a little bit, more cross when I hit,” Sloan said of his second shot on the hole. “I didn't hit it great, but I thought it should still cover (and reach the green) … I don't know, maybe just the wind isn't where guys think it is. It's a tough tee shot, too, so you've got to get the ball in play. It's a great hole. What a great finishing hole – going to be a lot of drama on the weekend there.”
Sloan, who will begin Saturday one shot behind leaders Adam Hadwin and Ryan Armour (both shot 65), tied with three others at 9-under 133, could use a quality weekend. He stands 147th in FedExCup points and needs to climb inside the top 125 in order to qualify for the Playoffs that start Aug. 19 with THE NORTHERN TRUST at Liberty National in New Jersey.
He had reached the 18th tee having not made a single bogey through his first 35 holes of the 3M. While Sloan was disappointed with settling for bogey to finish, he actually took a small measure of relief from it, as well.
“I didn't really think about it until my caddie and I were walking off the green,” Sloan said. “He just said, ‘Well, we don't have to worry about going bogey-free anymore,’ and it kind of loosens you up a little bit. So yeah, maybe donating a shot back there at the last could help us play a little bit more freely on the weekend.”
Alas, Armour, who put together one of the day’s strongest rounds, matching the 65 that Hadwin already has posted, got to the 18th hole early Friday evening one shot out of the lead, played it as a three-shotter, and rolled in an 18-foot putt for birdie to tie for the tournament’s midway lead. Good to know at least one man at 3M walked off that final green with a smile.