Weather was the only thing that could slow down Scott Piercy.
Piercy, who held at least a share of the lead after each of the first two rounds, made five straight birdies before thunderstorms halted play in the third round of the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn., when he held a four-stroke lead over Emiliano Grillo of Argentina.
However, when play resumed about 6½ hours later, Piercy finished off a 5-under-par 66 despite a foot injury and will take a five-stroke lead over Grillo heading to the final round.
Tournament officials anticipated the storms by moving up tee times several hours in the morning to no avail, as play was halted at 10:57 a.m. and did resume until 5:30 CDT, a delay of about 6½ hours.
“I’ve had my struggles and to like prove and show that I can still do it, and this is a big confidence boost,” said Piercy, who played much of the third round without a shoe on his right foot because of a blister on his right heel, and is seeking his fifth PGA Tour victory. “When you walk that weird, your body kind of adjusts, so finally putting the shoe back up on and trying to get set up over it correctly was a good thing.
“I felt like I couldn’t get into my setup like I normally do, and I felt that’s like where a couple of the loose shots came from, along with the tiredness. The last four or five holes, kind of some tired swings and a little bit of mental grind.”
Before the delay, Piercy birdied the second through seventh holes, while Grillo sank a 39-foot eagle putt on the sixth hole before play was called. Tony Finau, one of the pre-tournament favorites, birdied three straight holes through No. 8 and was eight shots down in solo third.
After the long break, Piercy added two birdies on the first three holes of the back nine and after shooting 65 and 64 in the first two rounds, and his 66 left him at 18-under 195 through 54 holes.
Grillo, who started with 67-65, rode that eagle on the sixth hole and four birdies to another 67.
“If (Piercy) brings half of his game from today to tomorrow, that’s going to be very tough,” said Grillo, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the Frys.com Open at Silverado Country Club in Napa.
Doug Ghim collected six birdies in a bogey-free 65 and is five shots back in a tie for third with Finau, who also had a bogey-free 65, while Tom Hoge birdied the last three holes for a 66 and is six down in solo fifth.
Greyson Sigg amassed five birdies on the back nine in a 64 and is seven strokes behind in a tie for sixth with Sungjae Im of South Korea, who shared the first-round lead at 65 and had five birdies on the back nine in a 67.
Andrew Putnam of Pepperdine sank a 20-foot eagle putt on the last hole for a 64 and is eight shots down in a tie for eighth with Jared Wolfe, who had a bogey-free 66, and Chesson Hadley, who holed out from 47 yards for an eagle on the sixth hole in another 66.
Michael Thompson, who won the 2019 3M Open, is tied for 31st after a 68, defending champion Cameron Champ made two late birdies in a 67 and is tied for 41st, and former world No. 1 Jason Day of Australia is tied for 69th after a second straight 72.
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