BLAINE, Minn. — Up until about 1:30 p.m. local time on Sunday, the most interesting thing to happen to Scott Piercy this week was on Saturday, when a new pair of shoes gave him blisters and he resorted to taking off one sneaker and walking in his sock between shots.
Besides that, all he was doing was making a ton of birdies and starting to run away with the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities, making the final round all but an anticlimactic slog.
But that didn’t last.
Piercy made five bogeys or worse in a seven-hole span — including a disastrous triple bogey — to lose his lead and eventually the tournament. Tony Finau took advantage, shot 67 and finished 17 under to win by three. Piercy shot 76 — tied for the fourth-worst score of the day — and tied for fourth, four back of Finau.
Piercy, who set a 54-hole tournament scoring record (18 under) through 54 holes, was two under after seven on Sunday. Even after he bogeyed 8 and 9, he still made the turn with a four-shot lead.
But he couldn’t stop the bleeding. He looked shaky and went bogey-birdie-bogey on Nos. 11-13, but a triple on the par-4 14th derailed his tournament.
Piercy was leading by two when he stepped to the 14th tee box, but his ball plugged in the bank of a fairway bunker. Before he even reached it, Finau rolled in a birdie putt on the 14th green the cut the lead to one. And when Piercy did reach his ball, that’s when the trouble really started.
He couldn’t advance it out of the sand, and from 163 yards he took an aggressive line and tried to clear the water guarding the green. He didn’t make it and took a drop. His fifth shot spun off the front of the green, and he nearly chipped in for double, but the ball was about a rotation short of dropping. He tapped in for a triple-bogey 7 and fell into a tie for third, two behind Finau.
It was only a few minutes later when Finau increased his lead, draining a 32-footer for birdie on 15. Piercy added two more bogeys and a birdie over his last four; he shot 41 on the back.
Afterward, Piercy congratulated Finau near the clubhouse. They’ve known each other for over 15 years playing competitive golf against each other.
“I think I’m about as good an example as any of how tough it is to seal the deal,” Finau said. “Anytime you win one it’s awesome to get the respect of the guys that you’re playing against and I was really happy to see Scott. He was genuinely happy for me, which I think makes our game so great.”