Friday's golf: Adam Hadwin, Ryan Armour shoot 65s to share 3M Open lead

Associated Press

Blaine, Minn. — Adam Hadwin missed the weekend cuts in his last three tournaments, continuing a disappointing stretch as he dropped to 120th in the FedEx Cup standings.

The 33-year-old Canadian has put himself in position to get back in contention for the playoffs with a strong run at the 3M Open.

Hadwin shot a 6-under 65 on Friday for a share of the lead with Ryan Armour at 10-under 132. Armour shot 65.

“I drove it really well today,” Hadwin said. “Wasn’t in any trouble, hit a lot of good quality iron shots. Again, fat sides of the hole, I gave myself opportunities. My speed control’s been really good. It’s been as stress-free a 65 as you’re going to have.”

Adam Hadwin lines up a shot on the sixth hole during the second round of the 3M Open golf tournament in Blaine, Minn., Friday, July 23, 2021.

Hadwin and Armour were two of few players in the afternoon to go low as wind started to play a role following a hot and humid morning with heat indexes reaching 100 degrees.

Bo Hoag (66), Chez Reavie (67), Jhonatton Vegas (69) and Roger Sloan (69) were a shot back. All four played in the morning.

Second-ranked Dustin Johnson bogeyed the 18th hole after putting his tee shot in the water and missed the cut. He shot 72 to finish at even par. The cut was 2-under.

Staying in contention this weekend would be a boon to Hadwin and Armour.

Hadwin, who finished fourth in the inaugural 3M Open in 2019, was just inside the cut for the FedEx Cup playoffs. The top 125 in the standings make the playoffs. Armour started the tournament 135th.

“I think the biggest thing coming in this week, I’ve just been a little bit more committed to the process and less on the outcome,” Hadwin said. “Certainly playoffs, maintaining status, all that stuff has probably been creeping in a bit in the last little bit and I probably got away from some of the little details that make this game happen for us. So, I’ve gotten back to that these last three rounds and it’s worked out a lot better for me.”

Hadwin, famous for shooting a 59 at the CareerBuilder Challenge in 2017, had a 69 on the final day of the British Open and followed with a 67 on Thursday in Minnesota. His only PGA Tour win was the Valspar Championship in 2017.

Armour’s lone victory came in the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship. He’s coming off a fifth-place finish at last week’s Barbasol Championship. He birdied five of his final eight holes Friday.

“I’m trying,” Armour said. “We’ll worry about the points later. I don’t feel like I’ve really had as bad a year as 135 sounds. I missed five or six cuts by a shot, so you’re always kind of around that cut line and I just fell on the wrong side of it a few times. That’s what kind of gnaws at you because you feel like, man, it’s not that bad, so maybe I should be higher, but you’ve got to go out and get it done and we’re just trying our hardest right now.”

Eleven players finished their first rounds Friday after a weather delay Thursday left them unable to finish. With more inclement weather forecast overnight, the 3M Open will go with threesomes off split tees Saturday.

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Vegas was able to finish in the dark on Thursday, but it wasn’t without incident as his approach on the 18th hit the top of a hospitality tent. The ball was found and he was given relief and finished with a birdie and a tie for the lead.

One of four players at the 3M Open slated to play in next week’s Olympics, Vegas kept his strong recent form going Friday. The Venezuelan was among the leaders before a bogey finish on the ninth hole, which is playing as the toughest on the course.

Vegas has tied for 11th or better in three of his last five tournaments.

“I feel I like I’m keeping the ball in play pretty well, giving myself enough chances, making a few putts, which is always good,” Vegas said. “The wind is blowing and it’s kind of that intensity that is a little bit annoying, especially some of those shots with so much water around this place, but played solid. I can’t really complain too much.”

LPGA

Jeongeun Lee6 tied the golf majors record for the lowest round ever when she carded a 10-under-par 61 at the Evian Championship on Friday.

Her bogey-free second round equaled countrywoman Hyo Joo Kim, who shot the lowest score by a female or male in a major in the first round in 2014 also at the picturesque Evian Resort on the shore of Lake Geneva.

Lee6's 36-hole score of 127 was also the lowest total in a women’s or men’s major, beating the 128 by Brooks Koepka at the 2019 U.S. PGA Championship.

After her 10 birdies in the second round, Lee6 led at 15 under, three shots clear of Thai players Pajaree Anannarukarn — the co-overnight leader — and Ariya Jutanugarn, who carded an 8-under 63.

“I had a lot of birdie chances,” Lee6 said. “I could play easily. My putting was really, really good.”

She made four straight birdies on holes 6-9, including a chip from the greenside rough on No. 8.

“I try to keep it on the fairway and keep it on the green,” was her modest self-appraisal. "I focused on putting speed, that’s it.”

Caddie David Buhai had an easy day, because he just left her to it.

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"Every putt looked like it was going to go in. It was incredible. Not one nerve, Speed was just perfect,” he said. “I had the best seat in the house, and I just kept my mouth shut. I wasn’t getting involved because she was that focused.”

Pajaree shared the overnight lead with teenage American Yealimi Noh, who posted a 3-under 68 and was tied with Lydia Ko of New Zealand in fourth at 9 under.

Ko is a 16-time LPGA Tour winner and won the tournament in 2015 for the first of her two majors. She opened with a bogey but made seven birdies in her 6-under 65.

Ayaka Furue of Japan sat one shot behind them at 8 under, while Inbee Park — a seven-time major winner who won Evian in 2012 before it became a major — and Kim were two shots back at 7 under.

New world No. 1 Nelly Korda recovered from her 3-over 74 on Thursday to post a 4-under 67 and join defending champion Jin Young Ko at 1 under.

She won at Evian in 2019 but the event was canceled last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

PGA Tour Champions

Darren Clarke isn't getting ahead of himself after two good rounds at the Senior British Open.

The Northern Irishman shot a 3-under 67 on Friday after posting an opening 65 at Sunningdale and holds a one-shot lead after 36 holes.

Clarke won the British Open in 2011 at Royal St. George’s and could become just the fourth player to win both tournaments.

“Certainly, I would love to have this trophy sitting behind the claret jug,” said Clarke, who is at 8-under 132 in the final senior major championship of the year.

Of course, he's only halfway there.

“We’re all long enough in the tooth to know that this is only two rounds," Clarke said.

Jerry Kelly (66) was a stroke back with defending champion Bernhard Langer (67). The 63-year-old Langer, who eagled the first hole, won in 2019 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes for his fourth victory in the event. The 2020 tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kelly, who leads the Schwab Cup, has yet to post a top 10 in this three Senior British Open appearances.

Paul Broadhurst eagled the first and was 5 under on the day, two shots back overall with Ernie Els, a two-time British Open champion who carded his second 67. Broadhurst won in 2016 and was runner-up in 2019.

Like Clarke, Els also has a chance to become the fourth player to win both events. The 51-year-old South African said he's “fighting hard” to stay close to Clarke, his playing partner.

“Darren is a great frontrunner, played really well today, so got a lot of work to do," Els said.

The 52-year-old Clarke birdied the first and third but three consecutive bogeys left him 4 under before a birdie on the 9th. He only dropped one more shot and added four more birdies, including the 18th.

“If I want to get really in the mix come Sunday afternoon I think my iron play is going to have to improve a little bit,” he said.

First-round co-leader James Kingston was 4 over and seven strokes back.

European Tour

Nacho Elvira started the day sharing the lead of the Wales Open and finished with it all to himself after shooting a 4-under 67 in the second round on Friday.

Elvira bogeyed the first hole but recovered with six birdies, dropping just one further shot on the 17th and moving to 11 under overall at Celtic Manor.

Remarkably, younger brother Manuel was also at 11 under playing at the Italian Challenge on the Challenge Tour, and at one point the siblings were leading their respective events on the same score.

“It’s unbelievable,” said the older brother, who has made just two of his last 11 cuts. ”He's been playing great. It's awesome that we are both 11 under and leading, it's interesting - that must have never happened before.”

He added: “To be 100% honest, I don't really care where I end up. I'm happy with how I'm trying to turn my game around, especially my mind around. So we'll see what that brings.”

Swedish golfer Vincent Norrman was playing just his third event as a professional but he carded a 69 to sit second two shots behind at 9 under, a shot clear of Japan's Masahiro Kawamura, whose 63 was the lowest round of the day by four shots.

Scots David Drysdale and Calum Hill were at 3 under alongside England's Sam Horsfield.

Oliver Farr led the home challenge in Wales at level par.