Wiebe shoots 64, leads the 3M
BLAINE, Minnesota (AP)
Adrenaline is about the only thing keeping Mark Wiebe going.
Playing well isn't hurting, either.
Wiebe followed his Senior British Open playoff victory with an 8-under 64 on Friday in the first round of the 3M Championship to take a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry and Corey Pavin.
"Good for him," Perry said. "Here he is with no sleep, running on fumes and shooting 8 under."
Four days after beating Bernhard Langer on the fifth extra hole in a Monday finish at Royal Birkdale, Wiebe had eight birdies in a bogey-free round at the TPC Twin Cities.
He birdied five of the last seven holes on the front nine, including a 35-foot putt on the fifth hole and a birdie from off the fringe on No. 7. After each of those putts, playing partners Nick Price and Jay Haas told Wiebe to "Keep riding that pony."
Wiebe, who has just three top-25 finishes in 15 tour starts this year, added birdies on Nos. 12, 14 and 16. He had only 25 times at a course where his previous low score in 10 rounds was 69.
"I felt like I was reading the greens better than I have," Wiebe said. "Maybe I need to be exhausted to play this golf course or to read the greens correctly."
Not only has Wiebe had to be mentally tough on the course, he's had a tough few days of travel. Scheduled to return to the United States after the Monday finish, Wiebe was delayed when his flight was rescheduled to Tuesday. More than two hours into that trip, the plane was forced to turn around. Wiebe finally arrived in Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon and didn't get much sleep that night. He didn't sleep well Thursday night, either.
"I'm hoping that I kind of get my zip back a little bit and don't have to rely on the adrenaline, although shooting 64 in this event after never really playing well here I have new adrenaline," he said. "I just want to get through Sunday. If I can just keep playing well through Sunday I can actually stop and take next week off."
Perry is making his first start since winning the Senior Players Championship and U.S. Senior Open in consecutive starts for his first major victories. He skipped the Senior British Open because of a family commitment.
Perry birdied the first three holes and five of the first six. He birdied three of four holes midway through his back nine to get to 8 under before three-putting the par-3 17th for a bogey.
"I got tired out there a little bit," he said. "I took two weeks off and I didn't do anything. I kind of ran out of gas the last few holes and kind of lost my focus mentally. ... I didn't grind it out."
Pavin had a bogey-free round that featured four birdies on the front nine and three on the back.
Bart Bryant, Peter Senior, Jeff Brehaut, John Riegger and Tom Pernice Jr. shot 66. Riegger eagled two of the par 5s.
Hal Sutton and Colin Montgomerie followed at 67. Montgomerie is making his fourth Champions Tour start.
Fifty-two of the 81 players broke par, with 28 players in the 60s. The winning score has been at least 15 under in each of past six years, including a record 25-under 191 by David Frost in 2010.
"This course is in fabulous shape and the greens are rolling really, really good," Bryant said. "If the greens don't firm up guys are going to shoot low scores all week."