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3M Open 2019: Scott Piercy Leads After Strong 1st Round

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2019

BLAINE, MINNESOTA - JULY 04:  Scott Piercy of the United States reacts after a birdie on the 18th green during the first round of the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities on July 04, 2019 in Blaine, Minnesota. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

While millions around the country celebrated the Fourth of July on Thursday, some of the biggest stars on the PGA Tour made the trip to Blaine, Minnesota, for the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities.

Scott Piercy stands alone atop the leaderboard at nine under. Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Hadwin are tied for second at seven under, with five golfers claiming a share of fourth place at six under.

An excellent back nine anchored Piercy's performance. He birdied No. 11 and then reeled off five more birdies to overtake Matsuyama and Hadwin for the lead.

Piercy was already up a shot on the pair when he headed for the 18th tee. He still opted for an aggressive approach on the par-five hole, going for the green in two shots. His second shot ended up on the fringe, which allowed him to get his final birdie and create a little more breathing room on Matsuyama and Hadwin.

Matsuyama would've had sole possession of second place were it not for a bogey on the ninth hole, his final for the day. He landed his drive on the fairway but sent his second-shot approach well to the left of the green. After getting onto the green, he two-putted before heading the clubhouse.

Matsuyama was otherwise excellent. He reached 15 greens in regulation and missed only four of the 14 fairways off the tee, per PGATour.com.

Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin

Great documents signed on this date: 1. Declaration of Independence 1a. Hideki Matsuyama’s scorecard

A late charge by Hadwin helped him surge up the leaderboard. On the back half of his round, he went from three under to seven under thanks to four straight birdies.

Hadwin's putting was his biggest strength Thursday. His 3.813 strokes gained on the green are second in the tournament, according to PGATour.com.

His lone blemish was a bogey on No. 2, which was largely a result of falling short of the fairway and hitting his drive into the water. Wrapping up the par-four in five shots was impressive given the one-stroke penalty.

Matsuyama and Hadwin teed off early in the morning, which meant they had to sit back and hope their scores would hold up.

It looked like Nick Taylor would join his fellow Canadian in second or possibly surpass him based on his strong start. Taylor had six birdies through his first seven holes and made the turn at five under.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

4⃣ birdies in 5⃣ holes. 🐦 @NTaylorGolf59 is on 🔥 to start the @3MOpen. #QuickHits https://t.co/CRcsgO713f

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

😱 @ntaylorgolf59 is in a zone. 🔥 Make it 6⃣ birdies through 7⃣ holes @3MOpen. #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/M9Bgy50CK6

His momentum didn't carry over to the back nine. He fell back to four under following a bogey on No. 12 and remained there after six straight pars to close out his round.

Sungjae Im is tied for fifth at six under, yet he might feel somewhat disappointed he failed to fully capitalize on what was an excellent start. Im had five birdies in the opening nine holes but gained only one more shot over the remainder of his round.

Im is still looking for his first career PGA Tour win. The 21-year-old has laid the groundwork to possibly get that elusive win as long as he can maintain this kind of high standard over the next three days.

Mark Baldwin is at even par and won't be a factor in Blaine. For a brief moment Thursday, though, Baldwin had something to celebrate. His approach from 103 yards out on the 15th hole rolled into the cup for an eagle.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Monday qualifier Mark Baldwin HOLES OUT for an eagle. 🦅 He's now 2-under and T27 @3MOpen. #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/avu5V2spzJ

Brooks Koepka nearly did the same thing on the seventh hole. His approach was mere inches away from an eagle.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

THAT close to a hole-out eagle. @BKoepka's second 🐦 of the day gets him to -2. #QuickHits https://t.co/rXKwV9ybsd

Koepka finished at four under, which leaves him with some work to do this weekend but within striking distance of Piercy.

Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau are poised to challenge for the title as well after each carding a five-under 66.

Jason Day didn't fare as well, going two under in the first round and is in a tie for 47th. Phil Mickelson is in even worse shape as he was unable to overcome a triple-bogey on No. 18. At three over, Mickelson will be fortunate just to make the cut.

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