BLAINE, Minn. — Michael Thompson and Richy Werenski topped the 3M Open leaderboard going into the weekend, Tony Finau and Talor Gooch climbed within a stroke and stars Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood struggled again Friday.
In warmer and windier conditions on the quiet, spectator-free TPC Twin Cities course, the scores crept up after Werenski led the first-round pack with an 8-under-par 63. The 24-year-old former Georgia Tech player from Massachusetts followed up with a 67 as he seeks his first PGA Tour win. Thompson shot a 66 to catch him at 12-under 130.
Koepka, at the other end of the board, was on the who's who list of players to miss the cut. The four-time major champion shot a 71 to finish at 1 under, pulling wide right of the 18th hole a birdie putt attempt that would have extended his stay in Minnesota.
Fleetwood, playing in his first event since the coronavirus outbreak shut down the sport more than four months ago, posted a 72 to finish at 1 over. Paul Casey had a second consecutive 72. Dustin Johnson had already withdrawn after a back injury and a rough first round.
The exception among the best-known names was Finau, the only one of the five players in the top 30 of the current Official World Golf Ranking whose performance matched his résumé.
Finau, who made an eagle on No. 6, saved two of his four birdies for the final three holes. On the 18th, he stayed away from the water that Johnson hit three straight times on Thursday and produced a downwind approach shot out of the rough that landed on the green about five feet away from the cup. He sank the putt to finish with a 66 and share third on the leaderboard.
"When you shoot two rounds in the 60, it doesn't matter how the conditions are playing. You know you're playing good golf," Finau said. "It's been two really clean rounds for me. You can always build off that."
Gooch, another tour upstart seeking his first career victory, posted a 65 to match Finau at 131. Xinjun Zhang was alone in fifth at 10 under.
"Growing up in Oklahoma helps on these types of days, so I kept the ball low and kept it in the fairway, hit a bunch of greens," Gooch said.
Friday was a decidedly mixed day where the trio of Baylor School graduates who are PGA Tour regulars was concerned. Harris English shot a 65 and was tied for 12th and five shots out of the lead, Luke List (72) was tied for 51st as he made the 2-under cut on the number and Keith Mitchell (74) missed the weekend by three strokes.
After playing in the afternoon on Thursday, the co-leaders benefited from a short turnaround. Thompson, who played in the first group of the day with a 6:50 a.m. tee time, moved even with Werenski on the 194-yard 17th hole. The 35-year-old Thompson, who has one career PGA Tour victory, landed his tee shot on the back of the green and then made a 20-foot putt for birdie.
"The big thing is just try not to overpower the golf course, stay within myself, make good, comfortable swings," Thompson said.
The good ones just didn't get any applause.
"It's weird. Obviously I wish fans were able to come out here, but I would say I'm almost kind of used to it now. It's been a few weeks of this," Werenski said.
Matthew Wolff (68), who won the inaugural 3M Open last year, was tied for sixth with Cameron Davis (66) at 9 under in a bid to become just the second golfer to pick up his first two PGA Tour victories at the same tournament. Daniel Berger did so at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis in 2016 and 2017.