With the majors now behind us the attention of the golfing world begins to look towards the FedExCup playoffs. The penultimate qualifying event takes place this week when the 3M Open takes place in Minnesota.
Tony Finau boosted his confidence heading into the playoffs by winning here last year, a second win in succession, and he will look to defend the title successfully. With events running out to qualify for the playoffs a better field opposes him.
2022 – Tony Finau
2021 – Cameron Champ
2020 – Michael Thompson
2019 – Matthew Wolff
We are back at TPC Twin Cities this week, the course which has been used in all four runnings of this tournament now. The course is a par 71 which stretches to 7,431 yards so it is a bit of a monster where the longer hitters can have their way as is becoming the norm on the PGA Tour these days. There are some drivable holes around here which will see their eyes light up.
The first year Wolff pounded the driver around here and holed almost everything whereas Michael Thompson picked his way around the course the year after but he holed everything. Cameron Champ and Tony Finau added their names to the roll of honour for the bombers over the last two years. Whatever else you look for around here it is imperative to take a hot putter as this is sure to be a low scoring week. Length is going to be a big thing around here so keep an eye out for the longer hitters who can get it rolling with the putter.
Unlike the last two weeks where the events in America were co-sanctioned between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, it is the former only this week which means we have a more exclusive field. This isn’t a designated event so it isn’t as strong as some of the fields we have had this term but it is one which is highlighted by the defending champion Tony Finau. A lot of attention will be on Justin Thomas this week with just two tournaments until the playoffs cut off and he currently being outside the qualifying mark.
Cameron Young has been knocking on the door for a PGA Tour title and he’ll be aiming for that to come here. The Asian star pair of Sungjae Im and Hideki Matsuyama both tee it up this week while Emiliano Grillo, the Charles Schwab Challenge winner, and Sepp Straka, John Deere Classic champion, will look to add to their title successes for the season. Cam Davis, Gary Woodland, Sahith Theegala and Adam Hadwin are other appealing names in the field while Akshay Bhatia was due to attempt to follow up his Barracuda win on Sunday but withdrew earlier in the week.
We have joint favourites this week at 14/1. They are the defending champion Tony Finau and Cameron Young. Regular readers will know that I’m no fan of taking defending champions and I’m in no rush to start now with Finau not really knocking on the door to win like he was last year. Young was in the final group at The Open last week but continues to be a maiden on the PGA Tour and I can’t be backing an indifferent putter who is yet to win at this price.
Sungjae Im is the third favourite to win this title. He was the closest challenger to Finau a year ago and also has a top 15 finish around here which is probably up there with the better form of those teeing it up this week. He has three top 30 finishes in his last four events but like a couple of others at the head of the betting he doesn’t look like he is knocking on the door about to win. I would need him to be in the 20/1 range to back him here.
Hideki Matsuyama is 18/1 to win the tournament this week. He was T7 on debut here in 2019 but withdrew last year on the only other time he has teed it up here. The Japanese player was in the top 15 at The Open last week and at TPC River Highlands a few weeks ago but missed the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in between. Of the top four in the betting I would probably side with the former Masters champion but his putter puts me off too.
There are two other players less than 28/1 in this field and they both come at 25/1. They are Justin Thomas, who is under immense pressure this week as he looks to make it into the FedExCup playoffs, and Emiliano Grillo who won at Colonial just a couple of months ago and who finished in a tie for sixth last week. Grillo has finished third and second around here and looks in the sort of form to go one better this week.
I’m all over Sepp Straka this week. The Austrian is coming into form nicely at the minute and he could well be in the middle of a huge couple of months because he is surely trending his way onto the Ryder Cup team under Luke Donald in September. That is because he has already won the John Deere Classic recently and finished in a tie for second at The Open last week. Prior to that in 2023 he had recorded top 10 finishes at The Honda Classic and the USPGA Championship and on a course where setting up birdie chances is the primary aim I think Straka is a must be. It is only three weeks ago when winning the John Deere Classic that he was on for a 59 in the final round on a week where he shot 63 and 62. He led the field behind Harman last week and looks primed to go very close here on current form.
Lucas Glover is the other player I like from a main bet point of view. Nobody is better than him on the PGA Tour this season in proximity to the pin and that means he is likely to set up a lot of chances for a putter which has suddenly found some heat over the last month or so. His last three starts have yielded top six finishes and he has finished in the top seven around here in the past. He might not be as long as some of the previous winners but with the heat in Minnesota this week expected to be high the ball will fly further and the course will be firmer so playing from the short stuff should have preference. With a putter that has come alive Glover should be a real danger this week.
Kevin Yu is another who has an excellent tee to green game without necessarily being the longest in the world but I’m prepared to take a chance given that the conditions should be firm enough to bring the shorter hitters into play. Yu is third in strokes gained off the tee on the entire PGA Tour this season and sits at 11 on the strokes gained tee to green statistic so from a long game point of view this is a player who could make a serious impression this week. He is at 12 in proximity to the hole on tour this season too so he only needs a putter to warm up to be a real threat. He has three top 10s on his resume this season though, the last of which was two starts ago at the John Deere Classic where he carded rounds of 65 and 66 over the weekend. If he can find four rounds of that form here he shouldn’t be far away.
Finally I’ll take a chance on Ryan Gerard. He caught the eye at the Barbasol Championship last week where he eventually had to settle for fifth but that was a promising effort and should have given him the confidence to go ahead and have a decent week here. The other tournament that caught my eye on his season was at The Honda Classic where he finished fourth on one of the renowned toughest golf courses on the PGA circuit. It might be that this one isn’t tough enough but one of the rounds he carded there was a 63 which takes some pure ball striking to say the least. Just a few weeks ago at the John Deere he popped in a 65 so he has carried that scoring on and at a three-figure price I’ll pay to see how well he goes this week.
Back S.Straka to win 3M Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)
Back L.Glover to win 3M Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 46.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)
Back R.Gerard to win 3M Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 176.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)
Back K.Yu to win 3M Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)
Back him here:
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