BLAINE, Minn. (FOX 9) - PGA golf is back in Minnesota with local fans eating up every moment of the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota. They are tracking their favorites up and down the leaderboard, including Phil Mickelson.
Lefty teed off early and had a big gallery following him and playing partner Tony Finau all around the TPC Twin Cities course.
"It's awesome, awesome," said Eric Anderson, a golf fan. "Getting the big names out here. Phil, Brooks Koepka - it's a big deal."
Mix the best golfers in the world with Independence Day and you have a red, white and blue recipe for a fun, new summer tradition in the north metro. Both the players and fans shrugged off a little rain, enjoying every birdie out there.
"It's the Fourth of July golf tournament in Minnesota - gotta represent," said Scott Bielejeski, a golf fan. "It's not something we see all the time. We get to get close to the people we watch on TV and see them hit a bad shot once in a while - makes you feel better. It's a lot of fun."
The golfers enjoyed the holiday energy coming from the fans.
"I thought they were great," said Finau, who finished -5 in the first round. "Yeah, very cheerful. I didn't hear anything negative. They were very pro our group. It was a lot of fun in front of them. I look forward to playing and performing in front of them the rest of the week."
One of the best storylines in round one was Alexandria, Minnesota native Tom Lehman shooting a bogey-free 4-under par in front of a supportive home crowd.
The 60-year-old helped redesign the course to make it harder for the game's best. Lehman, with his youngest son caddying for him, used that insider knowledge racking up birdies on holes 1, 10, 16 and 18.
"I wonder why I don't play great every day," said Lehman. "That's the nature of golf. You feel you do a lot of things right, you don't always get a good score you want. It really comes down to two things: driving and putting well. You do that, you'll do well."