BLAINE, Minn. — Michael Thompson hasn't experienced the anxiety and thrill of playing the last round of a golf tournament in the final group for several years.
This time, pitted against Richy Werenski in the PGA Tour's 3M Open, he'll do so without the murmuring, clapping and roaring sounds of spectators. For Thompson, that'll do just fine.
"It kind of allows me to keep my emotions even keel. That's kind of the way I play golf. That's what I like to do on the golf course," Thompson said. "I don't talk very much, and sometimes if I get too riled up or faced with a hard shot in front of a lot of people, I get a little nervous.
"I'm not going to lie about that. It's just who I am. I think no fans, it's going to allow me to be more composed," said the 35-year-old former University of Alabama player whose lone PGA Tour win came at the 2013 Honda Classic.
Werenski, a 28-year-old Georgia Tech graduate in search of his breakthrough on golf's top circuit, birdied three of the last four holes Saturday to erase a four-stroke deficit and catch Thompson. After sharing the 36-hole lead, Thompson and Werenski traveled vastly different paths to each shoot a 3-under 68.
They walked together to the clubhouse even again, tied at 15-under 198 at TPC Twin Cities.
"There's still a lot of golf left," Werenski said. "I just kind of want to keep hanging around, and hopefully something happens."
South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, shot a 66 and was tied for third with Tony Finau (69) at 13 under, a stroke ahead of Max Homa (64), who shot 19 spots up the leaderboard.
The seven-man logjam in sixth and four shots out of the lead included former Baylor School and University of Georgia golfer Harris English, who followed his opening 70 and Friday's 65 with a 67 that was unlikely because of the way his round started. English was 1 over through his first 11 holes Saturday — a stretch when it took three birdies to cut into the damage — but scorched the final seven with five more birdies.
Luke List, who played for the Red Raiders before going on to Vanderbilt, shot a 67 and was tied for 40th at 6 under.
NEWCASTLE, England — Renato Paratore made his first bogeys of the week on the way to a closing 2-under 69 at the British Masters, but the 23-year-old Italian golfer still secured the second European Tour victory of his career, doing so at 18-under 266 and with three strokes to spare.
Paratore's first dropped shot of the tournament came on his 63rd hole — at No. 9 in his final round — to end his bid to become the first player to win a European Tour event without a bogey since Swedish star Jesper Parnevik did so at the 1995 Scandinavian Masters.
Paratore also bogeyed the 11th hole but recovered the consistency he had previously shown at Close House Golf Club to play the last seven holes in 1 under and earn his first title since the Nordea Masters in June 2017.
Denmark's Rasmus Højgaard closed with a 70 as the European Tour made its full return after a four-month suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic, doing so with regular COVID-19 testing of players and caddies and without spectators at the course.
South Africa's Justin Harding (72) was third at 14 under, with a trio Englishmen another stroke back to share fourth: Robert Rock (69), Andy Sullivan (67) and Dale Whitnell (71).