Matthew Wolff recently won perhaps the biggest tournament he has ever played in, the NCAA Championship, and now he’s showing that he can play on the PGA Tour in his third event on the circuit.
The 20-year-old Wolff (pictured) carded a 9-under-par 62 and is tied for the lead with eighth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa, another rookie, after three rounds of the inaugural 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities https://tpc.com/twincities in Blaine, Minn.
All three leaders are Californians.
“When I birdied 10 to get to 7-under, I was kind of thinking 59, but I kind of knew I had to stay in the moment,” said Wolff, from Agoura Hills, who played at Oklahoma State. “And my caddie, Steve Lohmeyer, he’s been really good about that. We talk about, you know, free agency and pretty much anything in between shots to kind of take my mind off of it, which really helped.
“The last couple weeks, I think I’ve been a little too strategic. I got together this week with my team and I said, ‘You know what, I’m just going to rip driver and just send it.’ That’s kind of what I’ve been doing, and it’s been working out.
“ … These guys are really good, and I know I’m really good, so it’s going to be fun.”
Wolff birdied No. 3 and five straight holes through No. 9 while shooting 6-under 29 on the front nine, and had four more birdies on the back but made his only bogey at No. 17 while posting a 54-hole score of 15-under 198.
Morikawa, 22, from La Canada Flintridge and Cal, birdied five of the first seven holes in his 64, while 36-hole leader DeChambeau, from Clovis, followed his 62 with a 70, regaining a share of the lead with a six-foot birdie putt on the final hole.
“It’s on a lot bigger stage, but our games played very well throughout the spring,” said Morikawa, the 2019 Pacific 12 Conference Golfer of the Year, who will play in the final twosome with Wolff in his fourth PGA Tour event. “We’re going to have to control our nerves, remember who we are, what brought us out here.
“ … It was pretty much stress-free. Just hit my lines, hit a lot of good shots and played to my strengths. Ball-striking has been my strength ever since I’ve been a little kid.”
Said DeChambeau, who claimed his fifth PGA Tour victory by winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in November: “I just didn’t make a couple putts that were necessary to give myself that three-, four-shot lead like I should have today.”
Wyndham Clark collected eight birdies in a 64 and is one stroke back in a tie for fourth with Adam Hadwin of Canada, who birdied the last two holes for a 69, while Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Charles Howell III and local favorite Troy Merritt all totaled 66 and are another shot down in a tie for sixth.
Joaquin Niemann, 20, of Chile shot 65 and is three behind in a tie for ninth with Dylan Frittelli (66), Roger Sloan (67) of Canada, Arjun Atwal (68) of India, Scott Brown (68) and Scott Piercy (69), who was the first round leader at 62.
Top-ranked Brooks Koepka is tied for 49th after a 67 and Jason Day of Australia totaled 69 and is tied for 68th.
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