When Adam Hadwin teed off at the 3M Open on Friday he knew exactly what he’d have to do to catch Bryson DeChambeau.
DeChambeau dominated the second round, racking up nine birdies to finish at a career-low 62 and vault into the lead with a 14-under-par score halfway through the first-time PGA Tour event at the TPC Twin Cities. But Hadwin, from Abbotsford, B.C., arrived in the clubhouse in second place at 12-under, after five birdies in a steely performance on the back nine amid an on-and-off drizzle during the afternoon.
“I am the quintessential leaderboard watcher. I know almost at any point where everybody is at, even at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning,” said Hadwin after shooting a 66 to follow up his first-round 64. “I knew. I obviously knew that low scores were available today, but at the same time you still have to be patient. You still have to let it come.”
The 25-year-old DeChambeau, who entered the week eighth in the world rankings, hit greens in regulation on 17 of 18 holes. He sank four putts from 20-plus feet, including the No. 7 and No. 8 holes during a commanding surge on his second nine.
“You’re not going to be perfect, but I can keep driving it well just like I have been, and become more and more confident, that’s the Bryson we saw last year,” said DeChambeau, who went bogey-free over the first two days for the first time in his career.
Hadwin was one of six Canadians to make the cut.
Roger Sloan (67) of Merritt, B.C., Adam Svensson (64) of Surrey, B.C., and Corey Conners (64) of Listowel, Ont., were all tied for 11th at 8 under. Mackenzie Hughes (68) of Dundas, Ont., was tied for 23rd at 7 under, Nick Taylor (69) of Abbotsford was tied for 35th at 6 under and David Hearn (67) of Brantford, Ont., was tied for 43rd. Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., missed the cut.
“I’m in great position. Playing really well again,” said Hadwin, who finished sixth a month ago at the RBC Canadian Open in Hamilton. “Kept it in play. A couple bad shots here and there, but made a bunch of putts again today. It’s nice to play well and to get a few more there on the back side, get a little closer to Bryson and certainly within striking distance with 36 to go.”
Scott Piercy, who opened a two-stroke lead with a 62 in the first round Thursday, started on No. 10 and sputtered through the windless, muggy morning with five bogeys on his first nine to offset an eagle. Piercy still came in at 10-under. He was joined by Sam Burns, Brian Harman and Sam Saunders in a four-way tie for third place.
DeChambeau played with Keegan Bradley and Charles Howell III, who used two eagles to shoot 66 and reach the weekend at 8-under. Tony Finau joined Howell in that large group by chipping in for eagle on the 18th.
World No. 1 Brooks Koepka had another quiet day, finishing at 3-under.
The biggest name to miss the cut was Phil Mickelson, who has failed to reach the weekend in four of his last six events. After taking a triple bogey on his way to a 74 in the first round, Mickelson shot a 73 to finish 2-over.
DeChambeau entered the event tied for just 133rd on the tour in greens in regulation. His previous best round on the tour, which he joined in 2017, was a 63 he posted three times. The most recent one was at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, when he finished tied for 10th.
The first high-profile player to commit to this tournament at the Arnold Palmer-designed, 19-year-old course on a former sod farm now flanked by 4,000-square-foot houses about 20 miles north of downtown Minneapolis, DeChambeau has four top-10 finishes this season. That includes the fifth tour victory of his career at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas in November.
After finishing third in the FedEx Cup standings in 2018 , DeChambeau entered the week in 25th place on the strength of his tied-for-eighth finish at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut two weeks ago. He missed the cut in three straight starts this spring, including the PGA Championship.
The 3M Open was attractive to DeChambeau for more than just the potential boost toward a top-10 FedEx Cup finish and the momentum heading into the final major of the year at the British Open in two weeks.
The former physics major at SMU who’s fondly known on tour as the “Mad Scientist” for his exceptional interest in and knowledge of swing mechanics and other intricacies of the sport, DeChambeau eagerly paid a visit this week to 3M world headquarters in Maplewood about 25 miles from the course in Blaine. He checked out some of the innovative projects in the works by the manufacturing giant best known for Post-It notes.