Stretch of 8 birdies in 11 holes puts Scott Piercy in tournament lead

Scott Piercy had one birdie in his first seven holes Thursday in Blaine, Minn. Then he went on a binge.

Piercy birdied eight of his final 11 holes en route to a 9-under-par 62 and a two-shot lead after the first round of the inaugural 3M Open.

“I was thinking 4-, 5-under a day would be nice. You always get one or two guys that kind of go really low, and I just happened to be that guy,” Piercy said.

Adam Hadwin and Hideki Matsuyama were each two shots back at the TPC Twin Cities.

Seeking his fifth career tour win and first since the 2018 Zurich Classic, Piercy birdied one of his first seven holes and eight of his final 11, including a nearly 30-foot putt on No. 16 to get to 8-under. He needed just 25 strokes on the greens.

Piercy hit 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in a round that was interrupted early by a 36-minute weather delay and showers fell briefly a couple of times during the rest of his round. Ranked 93rd on tour, averaging 28.95 putts per round, Matsuyama had 26, including making 13 of 14 from inside 10 feet and four of five from 10 to 15 feet. He did not three-putt a hole.

Starting on No. 10, Matsuyama, a five-time tour champion who last won at the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational, had four straight birdies around the turn before back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6. His lone bogey was his final hole.

Playing two groups behind Matsuyama, Hadwin was 3-under through nine holes, and birdied four straight holes among his final nine. He made all 15 putts from inside 10 feet and made two of three from between 20 and 25 feet.

LPGA Tour: One year after Yu Liu shot her lowest round on the LPGA Tour at Thornberry Creek of Oneida, she tied the Wisconsin course’s record with a 10-under 62 for a one-shot lead in the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.

Nearly half of the 140-player field shot in the 60s on the rain-softened course. Liu, a 23-year-old from China, had a one-shot lead over Jeongeun Lee and Yealimi Noh, who got into the tournament through qualifying.

European Tour: Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, 47, shot a 7-under 63 to take a one-shot lead over Zander Lombard in the opening round of the Irish Open in Lahinch.

With Rory McIlroy skipping the tournament as he prepares for the British Open at Royal Portrush in his native Northern Ireland, Harrington quickly became a crowd favorite in his national open, which he previously won in 2007.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Stretch-of-8-birdies-in-11-holes-puts-Scott-14072603.php.

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