Tagged in: qualify

Thompson wins 3M Open, 2nd Tour win in 7 years

American Michael Thompson obtained the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota on Sunday by two strokes to claim his second career PGA Tour triumph and his first in seven years.

The 35-year-old was solid throughout the tournament and didn’t buckle under pressure, sinking a 12-foot putt on the par-five 18th to seal the win under sunny skies at TPC Twin Cities.

“It has been a long time,” an emotional Thompson said after his round of four-under 67.

“I’m really sad my wife and kids aren’t here to celebrate this with me. I can’t wait to see them. Babe, I love you,” he stated. Thompson, who was tied for the lead coming into Sunday’s final round, produced his best shot on the par-four 16th, where his long shot from the greenside bunker landed a couple feet from the hole.

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He made the birdie putt to retake the lead and never looked back, finishing 19-under 265 for the tournament, which was played without fans in attendance to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Fellow American Adam Long finished second after carding 17-under 267 for the tournament while nine players tied for third at 16-under including Tony Finau, Max Homa and Richy Werenski.

With the victory, Thompson, who came into the tournament ranked 218 in the world, will now be qualified to compete at next month’s PGA Championship in San Francisco.

Thompson’s only other victory came at the Honda Classic in 2013. He was a runner up at the 2012 U.S. Open.

Next up for Thompson is the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis starting Thursday and then the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco the following week.

“That’s what makes this game so unbelievable is that we have to play for our job every year,” he said. “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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U.S Open scraps qualifying; now all-exempt field

The U.S. Open will not have qualifying for the first time since 1924.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which already has postponed the event at Winged Foot from June to September, has forced the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) into the decision.

“As you can imagine, this was an incredible difficult decision, as qualifying is a cornerstone of USGA championships,” stated John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of Championships for the USGA.

Open qualifying is the hallmark of golf’s second-oldest championship. The USGA often points out that typically half of the 156-man field has to go through either 36-hole qualifying or 18-hole and 36-hole qualifying.

It even invested in a marketing campaign that was rolled out in February, titled “From Many, One,” to illustrate that more than 9,000 people apply to play in the U.S. Open, eventually yielding to one winner.

The USGA did not reveal on Monday how other players would become exempt.

Among those who have yet to qualify is Phil Mickelson, a runner-up six times in the only major he has not won.

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Mickelson said in February he would not ask the USGA for an exemption, and that if he failed to qualify or become exempt, he would not play. Winged Foot is where Mickelson made double bogey on the final hole in 2006 to lose by one.

The field apparently will be smaller because of the late major date, though the USGA did not mention the field size in its April 6 announcement that the U.S. Open was moving to September 17-20 at Winged Foot, in Mamaroneck, New York.

The cancellation of Open qualifying will be keenly felt among golf fans. It’s from those final qualifying tournaments that Cinderella stories appear. In the last quarter-century, three eventual Open champions first made their way into the field via qualifying: Steve Jones in 1996, Michael Campbell in 2005 and Lucas Glover in 2009. Last year 9,125 competitors entered qualifying for the Open, with more than 35,000 entering all USGA individual competitions.

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