Nine days ago, Doc Redman was a third-tier mini-tour player hoping to Monday qualify into the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
Now, after going 19 under to finish second in the Motor City on Sunday, he seems qualified to compare Detroit Golf Club’s difficulty — or lack thereof — to TPC Twin Cities, which plays host to this week’s inaugural 3M Open and is expected to yield its share of low scores despite being strengthened from its long stint as a PGA Tour Champions venue.
“This course is probably a little bit more difficult,” said Redman, who finished second last week to Nate Lashley’s winning score of 25 under. “I think it’s just a little longer. The par 3s are long, unlike last year. There aren’t as many birdie opportunities here, but I’m not going to predict a winning score.”
The 21-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., heads into Thursday needing 33 FedEx points to turn the temporary PGA Tour status he earned last week into full status for next season. He also has the British Open coming up in two weeks, something he never imagined before taking home $788,400 in prize money Sunday.
“Talking about it this week, it’s definitely sinking in,” Redman said. “I knew I could do it. But it’s still pretty wild.”
Meant to be
Monday qualifier Mark Baldwin of Mesa, Ariz., is in the field this week only because he botched the last hole of his previous Monday qualifier at last week’s Korn Ferry Utah Championship, a mini-tour event.
With a wedge into the green from the fairway on his second shot into a par 5, he made par to miss a playoff. That gave him the week off, so he “decided to go hang with my Minnesota boys.”
Baldwin went to Notre Dame. Two former Irish teammates, including 2004 Minnesota State Amateur winner Eric Deutsch, are Minnesotans.
Now a certified public accountant, Deutsch caddied for Baldwin at Victory Links during the 3M Open’s pre-qualifier on Thursday and the qualifier on Monday. Baldwin shot 70 Thursday and 63 Monday to grab the second of four spots.
“Yeah,” he said, “if I had played the last hole in Utah like a professional golfer should play a hole, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
This is Baldwin’s second PGA Tour event as a player and Deutsch’s first as a caddie.
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was one of four judges for Tuesday’s FedEx Junior Business Challenge, a Shark Tank-style competition that pitted three aspiring groups of high school entrepreneurs at TPC Twin Cities. The winner, from Mounds View, was EcoSlurp, a business model for environmentally friendly straws. The group advances to the Tour Championship and a chance to win $75,000.
“In high school, I took a personal finance class as an elective,” Rudolph said. “I basically learned how to balance a checkbook. … That was my business knowledge at 16 years old.”
Rudolph will play in Wednesday’s pro-am. Last month, the big fella with the 11.8 index and career-best score of 78 at a club in Cincinnati shot 97 playing alongside Ernie Els in the pro-am at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village near Columbus, Ohio.
“I always say my goal is to just not hit anyone,” Rudolph said. “I’ve come close a couple times.”
Tom Lehman used this story to explain his decision to take on the young guns this week at age 60:
He once declined a second opportunity to fly in an F-16 fighter jet out of Luke Air Force base near Phoenix after vomiting the first time.
“As I look back on it, I should have said, ‘Hell, yeah, I don’t care if I get sick again,’ because you don’t get that chance every day,” said the Minnesota native, who helped design TPC Twin Cities and strengthen it in the past year. “That’s why I’m playing. You don’t get that chance every day. I’m still hitting it far enough where I think I can manage the longer holes, so why not?”