BLAINE, Minn. -- Scott Piercy was lucky if he had more than 25 people following him at any given time Thursday afternoon, July 4, during the opening round of the 3M Open. He faded to the back while most of the attention was on the big names directly in front of him.
There was superstar Brooks Koepka playing alongside Ryder Cup hero Patrick Reed, which drew the biggest crowds of the day, and Bryson DeChambeau not far behind, drawing a pretty good crowd of his own.
That left only a handful of stragglers following Piercy around the TPC Twin Cities course in Blaine.
“I had a few people,” Piercy said with a smile. “I give them kudos.”
Those who stuck with Piercy had the privilege of watching poetry in motion. He got super hot midway through his round, making six birdies on the back nine, and finishing by himself atop the leader board with a 9-under 62 in the opening round of the inaugural PGA Tour event. Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Hadwin finished tied for second place at 7 under.
Asked what was working so well for him, Piercy talked at length about how his putting was the biggest difference-maker.
“Just made those midrange putts,” Piercy said. “Those 10-footers and 15-footers. Just made a few of those and it really helped things go.”
That has been his calling card for most of the year. Piercy’s putter helped him start fast at the U.S. Open a couple of weeks ago, and he looked like he might be a contender in the major until his mojo wore off over the weekend.
In response, Piercy took last weekend off, bowing out of the Rocket Mortgage Classic as a way to better prepare himself for this week in the Twin Cities.
“I really wanted to play last week,” Piercy said. “It’s just I had played seven of nine weeks, and I was exhausted. I needed a couple of weeks off. I didn’t even touch a club until Friday. Then I put in a few hours to kind of get the rust off.”
There were no signs of rust in the opening round as Piercy made par on No. 1 before a weather delay threatened to mess with his psyche.
“That was really weird,” Piercy said. “I was on No. 2 (when they called it), and I walked into the clubhouse and grabbed a bowl of soup.”
Unbeknown to Piercy, the weather delay would last only about 20 minutes, as the storm ended up missing the course.
“All of a sudden my caddie called me and was like, ‘I’m in a cart going to the ball,’ ” Piercy said. “I’m like, ‘What?’ I just wolfed down some soup and jumped back on a cart and off we went.”
It seems unlikely Piercy will be able to keep up his pace through the weekend. He actually surprised himself with how well he played Thursday.
“I was thinking 5 under would be nice,” Piercy said. “You always get one guy or two guys that go really low. I just happened to be that guy today.”