Greg Vara is covering this week's Champions Tour stop, the 3M Championship, for Devil Ball Golf.
BLAINE, Minn. -- Kenny Perry didn’t have his A-game on Sunday, but he didn’t need it.
With a final-round 68 at the 3M Championship on Sunday, Perry became the first player in the 23-year history of this event to successfully defend his title.
TPC Twin Cities just suits Kenny Perry’s eye. Since making his debut at the 3M Championship in 2011, Perry has fared no worse than T-7 and, with his win this week, he’s now finished in the top three in four of his five starts here.
When asked what it is about this course that works for Perry, he said, “The fairways are wide open; my length is a huge advantage."
That advantage off the tee led to shorter irons into greens and, with it, more greens hit. Perry led the field in greens in regulation this week, hitting them at a nearly 89 percent clip.
With his affinity for this course and a long history of success at the 3M Championship, Kenny Perry’s four-stroke lead entering Sunday’s final round seemed almost insurmountable. Perry would have to leave the door open for anyone to catch him.
Kevin Sutherland admitted as much when asked if there was a sense that the field would need help from Perry.
“I think everybody felt that way”, he said, then adding, “this was Kenny’s tournament and he went out and won it."
The outcome wasn’t a forgone conclusion early on, however. Perry started with a bogey, later admitting he felt “unnerved” after needing a 15-foot putt to drop just a shot. It certainly wasn’t how Perry wanted to start. After a Saturday 61, Perry mentioned that he “felt uneasy with the lead and very uncomfortable being the one everyone was chasing."
After Perry's opening bogey, it seemed as though the stars were aligning for Sutherland, who was Perry’s nearest competitor entering the day. Sutherland’s opening birdie created a two-shot swing, cutting the lead to just two.
Sutherland rattled off three more birdies over the next four holes, scaring Perry into gear. Sutherland would get no closer all day than two strokes, and Perry cruised to a comfortable four-stroke victory.
It’s been a bit of struggle this season for Perry on the Champions Tour. He split time to enjoy a farewell junket on the PGA Tour. With that over, now, Perry is fully committed to the 50-plus circuit.