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Werenski rallies to share 3M Open lead with Thompson

Richy Werenski birdied three of his last four holes on Saturday to close a four-stroke deficit and regain a share of the lead with Michael Thompson through three rounds of the 3M Open in Blaine, Minn.

Both shot rounds of 3-under 68 through windy conditions at TPC Twin Cities to finish where they started the day: tied for the lead. At 15-under 198, they equaled the 54-hole tournament record and lead Tony Finau — who shot 69 while also playing in the final grouping — and South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel (66) by two strokes.

Max Homa is alone in fifth at 12 under after shooting 64, and Cameron Tringale leads a group of seven players at 11 under after equaling the low round of the day with a 63.

Thompson led by four midway through the back nine, but he bogeyed 17 — his field-low second bogey all tournament — while Werenski rattled off birdies at 15, 16 and 18 to pull even.

“It’s definitely good to have a strong finish like that,” Werenski told reporters afterward. “I was hitting a lot of greens and hit a lot of fairways today. … I did a good job of just kind of hanging in there, grinding along, giving myself looks.”

Thompson nearly slipped out of the lead entirely after his drive at the par-5 18th found the water, but he found a greenside bunker from more than 270 yards out, then got up-and-down for a tap-in putt to save par.

“To finish with that par on 18 is huge,” he said afterward. “I really wanted that par, I didn’t want to compound the mistake I made on 17. I think that’s going to bode well for me tomorrow.”

The 35-year-old, seeking his second career victory, had four birdies and no bogeys when he knocked in a short putt on the 12th hole to sit at 16 under. He made three in a row earlier in the round at Nos. 5-7.

Thompson’s lone PGA victory was at the 2013 Honda Classic.

“I battled some nerves early on,” he acknowledged. “I hadn’t been in this position in a while, so kind of relearning how to be there.”

Werenski had gotten off to a strong start with two birdies in his first four holes, but he went cold with two bogeys and no birdies over his next 10 before the hot closing stretch.

The 28-year-old former “Big Break” winner is seeking his first career PGA Tour victory. He was the first-round leader after shooting 63.

“There’s still a lot of golf left. I just kind of want to keep hanging around and hopefully something happens,” Werenski said.

Schwartzel also finished strong, making two short birdie putts in the final three holes. He had put himself in contention on the front nine with a 34-foot putt to make eagle at the par-5 sixth hole.

Finau had a wild round, collecting five birdies and three bogeys, with the last birdie coming at the par-3 15th.

Homa had eight birdies and one bogey, which came on the par-3 17th, but he bounced right back with a birdie at 18.

Tringale, who started on the back nine, came out blistering with four birdies and an eagle in his first eight holes. He tacked on three more birdies after the turn before finding the native grass off the tee on his final hole at No. 9, eventually making bogey.

–Field Level Media

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