BLAINE, Minn. — It seems only fitting that Bryson DeChambeau, the biggest science geek on the PGA Tour, is the 36-hole leader at the inaugural 3M Open. He carved up the TPC Twin Cities course in Blaine on Friday morning, July 5, shooting a 9-under 62, a career-low round on the PGA Tour, and enters the weekend alone atop the leader board at 14-under 128.
“Well, shoot, when I got here, I thought 15 under was going to be the number (to win it) at the end of the weekend,” said DeChambeau, who shot 66 on Thursday. “Now I’ve got to reevaluate.”
His impressive performance at the 3M Open came a few days after touring 3M’s corporate headquarters in Maplewood. He spent two and a half hours there, geeking out about nanotechnology and the structural makeup of Post-It Notes, before returning to his hotel to mentally prepare for the actual reason he was in the Twin Cities in the first place.
Perhaps inspired by what he saw on his tour of 3M, DeChambeau already has started to pull away from the rest of the field.
Asked to scientifically explain his low score over 36 holes — and some of the conversations he has with his caddie lean that way — DeChambeau chose not to reveal any trade secrets, only saying it came as a result of a lot of practice on the driving range and on the putting green.
“My main focus is driving it as well as I have,” he said. “If I can keep doing that, I know the putts are going to drop.”
To say the putts were dropping Friday for DeChambeau is an understatement. He made nearly 140 feet of putts in the round, including plenty of long ones that got the crowd buzzing.
“I made a lot of 20-footers out there today,” he said. “That’s how to go out and shoot 9 under. I’m pretty pleased with the day as a whole.”
While he talked specifically about his driver and putter, DeChambeau was just as stellar with his irons throughout the second round. He attacked pins with his approach shots, sticking many within a few feet of the flag.
“Sometimes we get to a point with the golf swing where it feels like we do anything with it and it’s still going to go straight,” DeChambeau said. “That’s what we’re all striving for out here, and today I did it better than I have in the past.”
As impressive as DeChambeau was in the second round, he actually credited Scott Piercy with putting everyone on notice by carding a 9-under 62 in the first round.
“Just kind of opened the floodgates a little bit,” DeChambeau said. “It was like, ‘OK. We can do it out here.’ And certainly me doing that today inspires me to do even better over the weekend. As long as you can keep hitting fairways and hitting greens and making putts, that’s the name of the game.”
If he can continue to do just that, DeChambeau could be on his way to his first win on the PGA Tour this year. His last win came last November at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and while his game seems to be trending in the right direction after a tough stretch a couple of months ago, DeChambeau knows it’s important that he eventually breaks through.
“I think I can win at least once a year, or more than that,” DeChambeau said. “My game is good enough to do that. It’s just about if things fit in and I get a little bit of luck here and there. That’s what everybody needs to win.”
Even though it looks like something close to 30 under might end up being the score that wins the 3M Open, DeChambeau seemed to think scores might come back down to earth a little bit over the weekend.
“You know, what I did today was kind of anomaly,” DeChambeau said. “Hopefully I can keep that anomaly going.”