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Sponsor exemption will have his mom as his caddie at the 3M Open

BLAINE, Minn. — This week is far from normal for Frankie Capan III.

The North Oaks, Minnesota, native is a Korn Ferry Tour member and sits 34th in the season-long points race. The top 30 earn PGA Tour cards at the end of the year. However, he’s not playing in the KFT’s NV5 Invitational this week.

Instead, Capan accepted a sponsor exemption and is playing in his hometown 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities, marking his first PGA Tour start as a professional.

As if playing near home wasn’t enough, his mom, Charlynn, is on the bag.

“Originally she was supposed to be just a fill-in caddie, and the more success we had, the more we realized that she should just keep staying on the bag,” Frankie said. “Obviously when we went through Q-School and only lost to nine people, it was pretty evident that she should stay on the bag for a little longer.

“I tried another kid, actually from Minnesota, and we had a couple good finishes, but found my way back to her. And then we had a nice finish in Raleigh at the Korn Ferry event there, and then the next day punched our ticket to the U.S. Open. Once we did that I figured, you know, better to just stick with her for the time being and see what we could do.”

Frankie Capan III hits his tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the 2023 Memorial Health Championship at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Illinois. (Photo: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Playing with mom on the bag is nothing new, but it’s something they’ve had to grow and learn from each other with trial and error.

Frankie said once they leave the course, they tend to leave golf there, too. Some situations may dictate otherwise, but he said there have been plenty of learning opportunities for the duo to help his game.

“Whenever you have some good dialogue and even fighting or bickering at times, your relationship can grow deeper because you start to understand how each other interact and the words you like to use,” Frankie said. “Really, just, she’s kind of understood how I like to play the game more, what shots I like to hit at certain times.”

Frankie’s first start in a Tour event came in 2016 at the Puerto Rico Open. That week, he said his goal was to make the cut and he spent too much time paying attention to the cut line instead of where the leaders were.

He missed the cut by one shot.

This week, the objective is simple.

“I would be lying if I told you my goal wasn’t to win this week,” Frankie said. “I try to hold myself to a high standard, and my dad always says if you’re not winning, you’re learning. So really no matter what happens this week, I’m — it’s going to be a special week.”

There’s also risk for Frankie in missing out on playing the Korn Ferry Tour this week, as he’s unable to earn points to help get him inside the top 30. He said he spoke with Kevin Dougherty about the decision on whether to accept the exemption and what the best move was.

Frankie said he’s not worried, however, because he knows he can have a strong finish down the stretch. He’s hoping the hometown 3M Open helps push him to the PGA Tour full-time.

“I’ve always dreamed of competing in this tournament, so when the opportunity came to life, I figured I really couldn’t pass it up,” Frankie said.



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