Blaine, Minn. — Without a gallery around him on the 18th green, Michael Thompson settled for a subdued victory celebration at the 3M Open with a FaceTime call home to his wife and children in Georgia.
The tears came from him and his wife as soon as they saw each other on the screen.
Thompson birdied two of the last three holes Sunday for a 4-under 67 and a two-stroke victory, finishing off his second PGA Tour win seven years after his first.
“It is a little sad that there wasn’t anybody out there to cheer on some of the great shots that I hit toward the end, but I know everybody who’s rooting for me at least was watching and screaming at their TV,” Thompson said. “This is definitely a win for everybody who supported me throughout the years. It doesn’t diminish the excitement.”
Adam Long took was second after a 64. Richy Werenski, who had the 18-hole lead and shared it with Thompson after both Friday and Saturday, shot a 70 for his worst round of the tournament and settled for a nine-way tie for third –- three strokes back.
Tony Finau finished in the third-place group, too, after a 68. Finau was the only one among the five world top-30 players in the field to reach the weekend, far outperforming fellow high-profile peers Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey.
Thompson finished at 19-under 265 at the TPC Twin Cities. He was more nervous than he anticipated, even without spectators.
“It means so much to get a win, and it gets you into so many different tournaments and solidifies your job for two more years. That’s enough pressure for anybody, let alone having fans out there,” said Thompson, who has a 3-year-old son and an infant daughter he and his wife adopted in March.
Nobody throughout the windy and muggy week in Minnesota was steadier than Thompson, who entered the week 151st in the FedEx Cup standings and rocketed up to 39th on the way to Tennessee for the World Golf Championships event. He had three bogeys in 72 holes.
He hit solidly out of the sand to set up a birdie on the 16th and take sole possession of the lead. He deftly steered around the water danger on the 18th, landing his approach on the back of the green within 15 feet. With Long in the clubhouse, having played five groups ahead, Thompson had two putts to win. He needed only one, bending backward and thrusting his arms straight up in the air after the ball dropped in the cup.
Thompson’s best previous finish in this stopped-and-restarted 2020 season was a tie for eighth at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, and he missed the cut in his last start at the Workday Charity Open in Ohio two weeks ago. For this win, he not only secured a spot in the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and next year’s Masters, but a prize of $1,188,000. That’s nearly 12% of his career earnings on the tour. The U.S. Open, rescheduled for Sept. 17-20, is at Winged Foot in New York, which Thompson called his favorite course “in the entire world.”
In stroke play over the last four seasons, Finau has finished 35 rounds inside the top three, by far the most without a win on tour over that stretch. Tommy Fleetwood (20) has the second most.
“They don’t give out second-place trophies, third-place trophies,” said Finau, who shot a 78 on the final round of the Memorial last week to finish eighth in Ohio after sharing the 36-hole lead there. “I’ve learned that the hard way with lot of them coming early in my career, but I continue to just believe and hope for the best for my future.”
Finau and Werenski were joined in third by Robby Shelton, who shot a 64 on Sunday, as well as Charles Howell III, Emiliano Grillo, Alex Noren, Max Homa, Cameron Tringale and Charl Schwartzel.
Long, who needed to birdie his second-to-last hole in the second round on Friday just to reach the weekend, missed the cut on three of his last five starts out of the pause. He shot a 63 on Saturday, the low score for the tournament that was matched five other times over the four rounds, and posted eight birdies on Sunday. His bogey on the par-3 17th stood out, leaving his first putt short, but he picked up the second available spot in the U.S. Open with his second-place finish.
Defending champion Matthew Wolff was in striking distance after his birdie on the 14th, but he followed three straight pars with a six-stroke bogey on the 18th. His tee shot was well wide of the fairway, and his fourth try from the rough did not reach the green. Wolff finished at 14 under.
“That last hole just got a funky number, but it is what it is. I feel like I played really well here, and I really like this course,” said Wolff, who made an eagle the 18th to win the inaugural event in 2019 and beat Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau by one stroke.
This time, the finish was far less dramatic, though equally satisfying for Thompson.
“It solidifies kind of my presence on the PGA Tour and proves to my peers that I’m a threat every week,” Thompson said, “and that’s what I want to be.”
Max McGreevy shot an 8-under 64 to hold off Jose de Jesus Rodríguez by a stroke in the Price Cutter Charity Championship for his first Korn Ferry Tour victory.
McGreevy played the back nine 5-under 31, making an eagle on the par-5 11th and birdies on the par-4 10th, par-3 15th and par-4 16th. The 25-year-old former Oklahoma player finished at 21-under 267 at Highland Springs Country Club. He earned $117,000 to jump from 40th to eighth in the season race for PGA Tour cards.
“It was really just a great week,” McGreevy said. “It still really hasn’t set in. I’ve never won a four-round event before. I’ve won a lot of three-round events, but to be able to put something together on the final day and finally actually do it in a four-round event means a lot to me.”
McGreevy spent last year on the PGA Tour Series – China, winning once and earning Player of the Year honors and a return to the Korn Ferry Tour.
“It took a lot for me to go over there,” McGreevy said. “I had a fun journey with it. Fourteen weeks over there made me a lot stronger as a man and as a golfer.”
Rodríguez, from Mexico, finished with a 67. Chad Ramey was third at 19 under after a 67.
China’s Ruixin Liu won the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek for her fourth career Symetra Tour victory.
The 21-year-old Liu closed with a 1-under 71 for a two-stroke victory at Battle Creek Country Club in the tour’s return after a long layoff because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It feels really great because after the long offseason,” Liu said. “It proves that everything I am doing is on the right track.”
Liu earned $26,250 to move into second place in the race for five LPGA Tour cards with $30,319. She finished at 13-under 203 after opening with consecutive 66s.
Liu will play the next two weeks in Toledo, Ohio, in the LPGA Tour’s return.
Bailey Tardy was second after a 66. Janie Jackson was third at 10 under after a 68. Jackson leads the season standings, and Tardy is third.