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A hazy sky and thick air at TPC Twin Cites greeted players for Thursday's opening round of the 3M Open. Those off in the morning wave mostly took advantage of soft conditions from a brief pre-round rain shower. But as noon approached conditions worsened.
Lightning near the course in Blaine associated with scattered incoming thunderstorms halted play at 11:28 a.m.
Play resumed at 1:52 p.m.
Prior to the weather horns sounding, birdies and eagles were on the morning menu with Scott Stallings on top of them all.
Stallings, three-time PGA Tour winner, made three birdies in a row on holes 5-7 then rolled in four more on Nos. 10-13 and led the field at 8-under through 17 holes. That was good for a one-shot lead over Rickie Fowler, who has a bogey-free round going through 15 holes.
Tom Lewis and Luke List are tied for third two shots back. Those at 4 under include Spring Lake Park graduate Troy Merritt. Playing here fresh off his first appearance at the British Open last week, Merritt on Thursday made a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th hole just before play was stopped.
Not all players are finding Thursday to be inviting. Tony Finau, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson are all at 1-over, tied for 58th place of the 77 players on the course. After starting his day on No. 10, Watson finished out his front nine by plunking an approach shot into the water on No. 18. After a drop, he was safely on the green then made a ticklish 56-foot par putt to highlight his round.
PGA Tour Live reported on its broadcast that Johnson, the world's No. 2-ranked player, is without caddie Austin Johnson, his brother, because of a positive COVID-19 test.
Also Thursday, Sangmoon Bae withdrew after completing eight holes in 3-over-par.
The afternoon wave was scheduled to tee off starting at noon but will be significantly delayed.
This is a developing story. Come back to startribune.com for more on the 3M Open later Thursday and all weekend.