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Golf: Perry defends 3M seniors title

BLAINE, Minn. -- Kenny Perry's lead was in doubt for a couple of hours on Sunday. He bogeyed the first hole, while Kevin Sutherland birdied it. All of a sudden, the four-stroke lead Perry built with his magical, tournament-record-tying 61 on Satu...

BLAINE, Minn. - Kenny Perry’s lead was in doubt for a couple of hours on Sunday.
He bogeyed the first hole, while Kevin Sutherland birdied it.
All of a sudden, the four-stroke lead Perry built with his magical, tournament-record-tying 61 on Saturday was trimmed to two with all day to play.
Perry was watching the leaderboard, and watching Sutherland birdie four of his first five holes.
“I like being the chaser,” Perry said. “You’re relaxed, you’re free, you’re going, you’re charging. But when you’ve got a four- or five-shot lead you’re playing safe, you’re playing not to mess up, and that’s a hard way to play golf. I don’t like playing like that. I just felt very uneasy today, I felt very uncomfortable.”
But Perry still looked very good over the final 17 holes. He birdied four of his next five holes to fend off Sutherland and all but lock up the title, eventually finishing up at 18 under to win the event by four strokes over Sutherland, Scott Dunlap and Bernhard Langer.
“I hung in there, I did very well,” Perry said. “Even though it was a hard day at the office, I thought I had a beautiful score, and it just tells me I can do it.”
It’s the second straight runner-up finish for Langer at TPC Twin Cities.
“That one guy Kenny Perry is just better on this course,” Langer said.
Perry is the first to ever win back-to-back 3M Championships in the event’s 23-year history.
He joins Langer and Hale Irwin as the only golfers to win the tournament multiple times.
Sunday wasn’t dominant for Perry - he carded a 68 in the final round - but it didn’t have to be. He grabbed the tournament by the horns on Saturday and was good enough in the final round to answer any early challenges, and by the end no one was within an earshot of the defending champ.
“You just can’t catch up to him,” said Marco Dawson, who finished in fourth. “When he’s on, you can’t beat him. He hits it long and he putts it good - that’s hard to beat.”
In the weeks leading up to the tournament, Perry spoke to how much he loved TPC Twin Cities, and how much he felt his length benefitted him on the course.
That was evident again this weekend, as it’s been evident since Perry started playing on the Champions Tour.
He’s never finished worse than seventh in Blaine. In five appearances at the 3M Championship, he’s finished in the top-three four times.
No matter how he’s playing coming in, Perry owns TPC Twin Cities.
“I will definitely look forward to coming back here next year,” he said.
The second-place finish was the third of the year for Sutherland, but he said this one feels a lot different than the others, in which he was in serious contention for a title.
“You don’t walk away thinking, ‘Man, I could have won that tournament,’ ” Sutherland said. “Today, this was Kenny’s tournament, and he went out and won it.”

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