Phil Mickelson: Revised TPC Twin Cities course 'spectacular'

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson: Revised TPC Twin Cities course 'spectacular'

PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson: Revised TPC Twin Cities course 'spectacular'

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Phil Mickelson is an early fan of the revised TPC Twin Cities course as PGA Tour returns to Minnesota this weekend with the inaugural 3M Open in Blaine.

The bomb-dropping Lefty knows TPC Twin Cities was considered a hitter’s paradise during its run as PGA Tour Champions stop. It ranked among the three easiest Champions courses eight times in the past 10 seasons.

Mickelson played the back nine Wednesday morning and likes what he saw at TPC Twin Cities, calling the course “spectacular” and adding that it is in “phenomenal shape.”

“It’s fun to play. A lot of water but a lot of birdie opportunities and some really tough holes to play. It’s got really nice mixture,” Mickelson said. “The greens are receptive, so it should be pretty good-scoring.”

Under the guise of Tom Lehman, this Arnold Palmer track once considered an everyman’s paradise was expanded and toughened for its PGA Tour premiere.

First, let’s do the math. TPC Twin Cities is now a 7,450-yard par 71 course. It used to be a 7,000-yard par 72.

Hole No. 3 now plays as a 501-yard par 4. It used to be a par-5.

“The green is generous, so the tee shot is the key shot here. Put it in the fairway and you can score. Drive it in the rough or the bunker and it becomes much more difficult to make a par, much less a birdie,” Lehman said.

The par-5 sixth measures 594 yards, 30 yards longer than before. Big-hitters can reach the green in two, but they have to be wary of water and waste area on both shots.

The par-3, 229-yard 17th hole includes a carryover over a big body of water. “Birdies will be made here, but there can also be some train-wrecks,” Lehman added.

Lehman and company saved the biggest changes for 18.

What was once a 500-yard par-5 hole with a 100-yard wide fairway now plays at 596 yards with a 35-yard fairway buffeted by a body of water that has roughly doubled in size during the course redesign.

Mickelson said all the changes make it hard to determine how low scores could go this weekend.

“They do have a converted par-5 into a par-4. There have been a lot of holes lengthened. But because the greens are receptive, I think that’s going to allow you to attack some pins and be a little big aggressive. And make some birdies. But it’s not an easy course by any means.”

Mickelson is part of a Round 2 afternoon featured grouping with Tony Finau and Rocket City Classic winner Nate Lashley. They will begin from No. 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET Friday and from No. 10 at 8:20 a.m. Thursday.

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