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Hodges leads the 3M Open, while Thomas misses the cut to hurt his playoff hopes

Lee Hodges Lee Hodges - The Canadian Press

BLAINE, Minn. (AP) — With the FedEx Cup two weeks away, Lee Hodges can breathe easier. Justin Thomas can't.

Hodges birdied four of his last six holes for a 7-under 64 and a four-stroke lead over Tyler Duncan on Friday after almost two rounds of the 3M Open.

A nearly two-hour afternoon weather delay led to play being suspended due to darkness with six players yet to finish — none within 10 shots of the lead.

Hodges, the first-round leader and 74th in the FedEx Cup points race, was at 15-under 127. He was 3 under on the front nine and added a 33-foot birdie putt on No. 13, followed by birdies from 14 feet on No. 14 and 11 feet on No. 17.

A lengthy last-hole putt was not enough to overcome a couple bad holes as Thomas aims to make the FedEx Cup playoffs for the eighth straight season. He birdied four of his last five holes to shoot a shot an even-par 71, leaving him 2 under for the tournament and two strokes short.

Thomas, at No. 75 in the FedEx Cup standings, has missed five cuts in his last seven starts. The top 70 next week after the Wyndham Championship will advance to the playoffs. Looking to stay in strong consideration for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, Thomas has just two top-10 finishes in 14 tournaments since mid-February.

Starting on the back nine, Thomas put two balls in the water on the par-5 18th, falling to 1 under. An errant tee shot and poor chip led to another double bogey on the par-3 fourth, before a strong finishing stretch was punctuated by a 30-foot putt on No. 9.

“This is a good chance for me to learn a little bit about myself and push myself and become better,” Thomas said before the tournament. “I mean, this game, nothing’s given to you. I’ve had great chances to win the FedEx Cup the last five or six years and now I’m trying to make the playoffs. That’s just the way that this sport is. And it can happen to anybody, so you’ve just got to go out and get it.”

He wasn’t the only player to put untimely dents in possible playoff plans by missing the cut. No. 70 K.H. Lee (1 under), No. 72 Davis Thompson (2 under) and No. 90 Gary Woodland (3 over) also get the weekend off.

Duncan, who has missed six cuts in his past eight events and 17 of 27 this season, shot a 67. He has back-to-back bogey-free rounds.

Defending champion Tony Finau (66), J.T. Poston (66), Brandt Snedeker (68) and Kevin Streelman (68) are at 10-under 132.

With one top-10 in 25 starts this season, Streelman is in a rare position.

“I haven’t been in the final groups in a while on a Saturday, so looking forward to that. At my age I don’t have much to lose, so go out and have some fun this weekend,” the 44-year-old Streelman said.

Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., had a 69 and stands at 7-under overall. Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., was the only other Canadian to make the cut with a 68 on the day and 5-under total.


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