The 3M Open was announced by the PGA Tour in 2018 with the new tournament slated to begin the following year. Although it was a brand new event, it was almost seen as a promotion of the 3M Championship which had been a popular PGA Tour Champions event for over 25 years.
Like the 3M Championship, the 3M Open is held at TPC Twin Cities. The course is one of the finest in 3M’s home state of Minnesota, 3M being a large multinational company. Scoring is not particularly difficult at the 7,431 yard layout but the first couple of editions showed that it is a course that has a propensity for throwing up dramatic finishes. Adding to the sense of occasion are the fans who are very loud and create a great atmosphere, no doubt aiding the drama.
|2022||TPC Twin Cities||Tony Finau|
|2021||TPC Twin Cities||Cameron Champ|
|2020||TPC Twin Cities||Michael Thompson|
|2019||TPC Twin Cities||Matthew Wolff|
2022: Tony Finau
Tony Finau has not won the number of PGA Tour titles that a player of his talent should have. All too often the affable American has folded under the pressure of trying to see out a win but the shoe was on the other foot in the 2022 3M Open. Scott Piercy was the man who could not cope with the pressure and Finau was the beneficiary as he came on strong to win the title by three shots.
The tournament switched in less time than it takes to play a football match. An incredible eight-shot swing in 90 minutes catapulted Finau into the lead and he never looked back. Yes, there was a bit of luck late on when an errant tee shot was not punished as harshly as it could have but that was the sole blip in an otherwise assured performance.
“It took everything I had to win today,” a justifiably proud Finau said after the round. “I was playing great and every time I looked up I was still four or five shots back!” Finau must have felt as though his lead was deserved when he caught a glimpse of his name at the top of the leaderboard and that belief helped him secure his third PGA Tour title.
2021: Cameron Champ
Variance is the name of the game at the top level of golf week on the PGA Tour, somebody takes their usual game up a level with something that they haven’t shown previously. That was very much the case for Cameron Champ in the 3m Open. We all know Champ as one of the biggest hitters on the PGA Tour but rarely before have we seen him putt quite as well as he did at TPC Twin Cities.
In hindsight, the signs were there that Champ was primed for a good week in Minnesota. He gained strokes on the competition with his putter for just the third time of the season last week and then clearly found something with the flat stick as he gained an average of over two strokes per round with his putting in the 3m Open. Champ also had one of his best weeks of the year in terms of his approach play while he was more cautious off the tee than usual.
Champ’s power is always going to be his main weapon but he showed at the 2021 3m Open that he is much more than just a bomb and gauge golfer. His two-stroke victory over Louis Oosthuizen – who suffered yet another high profile defeat when leading at the 54-hole stage – was Champ’s third PGA Tour title. That is impressive for a 26 year old and there should be many more wins to come.
2020: Michael Thompson
The first two editions of the 3M Open did wonders for this fledging tournament. After the drama and brilliance of Matthew Wolff’s win in 2019, Michael Thompson made a late surge of his own to get his hands on the trophy. Two birdies in his final three holes was enough for Thompson to finish on -19, two shots clear of Adam Long who also had a very good Sunday, shooting -7 for his final 18 holes to set the clubhouse lead five groups ahead of the final pairing.
In muggy, uncomfortable conditions throughout the week, it was solid approach play and dependable putting that made the difference for Thompson. Nobody who made the cut gained more strokes on the field with their putter than the 35-year-old who ended a wait of more than seven years after his victory at the Honda Classic for a second PGA Tour title.
As with any golf tournament, the elation of the winner was matched by dejection from those who couldn’t quite do enough. Defending champion, Matthew Wolff, found himself in a position to challenge on Sunday but saw his round tail off when it really mattered, while more questions will be asked about Tony Finau’s ability to handle pressure as another good chance for a win petered out with his chipping and putting principally to blame.
2019: Matthew Wolff
The American college golf system has always produced excellent golfers who have gone on to big things. In recent years though youngsters from college are requiring less and less time to acclimatise to the PGA Tour. Despite his eccentric swing, Matthew Wolff is certainly a case in point. He became a PGA Tour winner at the 3M Open just six weeks after winning the NCAA individual title with Oklahoma State in only his third start as a professional golfer.
Wolff showed an incredible ability to come up with the goods when the pressure is at its highest by holing an eagle putt from 26 feet on the final hole. He was not the only recent graduate from the college ranks to impress in Blaine, Minnesota though. His playing partner, Collin Morikawa, had also recently turned pro and had an eagle putt of his own to tie Wolff at the end of 72 holes. That came up short to hand the title to an understandably emotional Wolff.
The large crowds who crammed around the 18th green at TPC Twin Cities were treated to a fantastic show in the inaugural edition of the 3M Open. Just minutes before the drama unfolder in the final group, Bryson DeChambeau made an eagle of his own in the group ahead to become the clubhouse leader. Wolff was not to be denied though in what will surely be the first win of many.