BLAINE, Minn. (AP) — Local favorite Tom Lehman shot an 8-under 64 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead in the Champions Tour’s windy 3M Championship.
Lehman had two birdies and an eagle in an early three-hole stretch, added a birdie on the par-4 ninth and closed with three more birdies at TPC Twin Cities, the course he helped Arnold Palmer design.
The 56-year-old Lehman is from Alexandria and played at the University of Minnesota. He won the last of his eight Champions Tour titles last year in the Encompass Championship. The 64 was Lehman’s lowest score since November 2012.
Scott Dunlap had seven straight birdies in his 67. Grant Waite and P.H. Horgan III also shot 67.
Marco Dawson, the Senior British Open winner last week, was another stroke back at 68 along with Bernhard Langer, Scott Hoch, Kirk Triplett and Jeff Sluman.
This is the ninth straight year the 3M Championship’s first-round leader has shot at least 7 under. The winning score has been at least 15 under in each of the past eight years, including three winning totals of better than 20 under.
Starting on the back nine, Dunlap began bogey-birdie and remained at even par until a birdie on the par-3 17th hole. After a birdie at No. 18, Dunlap birdied five straight holes on the front side. He bogeyed two of the final four holes.
The tour record for consecutive birdies is eight, accomplished four times.
The wind got stronger as the nearly cloud-free day went along, occasionally gusting upwards of 25 mph.
Waite said there were times when he played two, and sometimes, three clubs more or less than he normally would depending if he was hitting into or with the wind. Lehman said there were a lot of times where it was best not to be aggressive and to simply aim at a safe spot.