Certainly, there had to be a piece of Adam Long that was envious when Michael Thompson buried a birdie putt to capture a two-stroke victory at the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities.
But considering where he was on Friday afternoon, the former Duke star will be happy to take home a huge check and a second-place finish.
In the last nine years, only one player has made the cut on the number and gone on to victory — Brandt Snedeker at the 2016 Farmers. Long nearly turned the same trick, barely qualifying for the weekend after posting scores of 68 and 72 in the opening two rounds.
But after the relief of making the cut set in, Long sure got comfortable. Moving Day included a scorching 31 on the back nine for a 63. He followed on Sunday with another impressive showing, this time posting a 31 on the front before easing home with a 64.
He finished two strokes behind Thompson, all alone in second place.
While Long insisted that he’d been hitting the ball well through the first two rounds, he admitted on Sunday he didn’t expect to be in the runner-up circle.
“I didn’t think I was going to have a chance to win certainly, but I knew my game’s been pretty good lately. I’ve been playing some good golf, better than I’ve been able to show for it, but I was pretty thankful to have the opportunity, proud that I was able to finish it off on Friday to at least survive and I wanted to just kind of show up and give it everything I’ve got,” he said. “You can make a lot of birdies out here if you’re swinging it nice, you’re going to give yourself a lot of chances.”
Long, who won the 2019 Desert Classic by edging out Phil Mickelson, said he worked with coach Josh Gregory like he always does, and didn’t do much to alter his routine.
The difference, he said, was a boost of confidence by making it to Saturday.
“I think most of it’s probably mental, where Friday you’re on the cut line all of a sudden after making those few bogeys and I’m thinking it’s a lot harder — you’re grinding it out,” he said. “Obviously, Friday was really tough with the wind and everything, too, it was a really tough day, versus this weekend I had nothing to lose, I’m in 50th place starting on Saturday morning. So tried to cruise up and here we are.”
With another high finish — he had opened the 2019-20 season with top-25 finishes in five of his first eight starts — Long likes his position as he heads towards the FedEx Cup playoffs.
“I mean, I’ve been playing nice,” he said. “To see some results kind of gives you the confidence that you’re doing the right things and you’re on the right track and I look forward to finishing off the rest of the season.”