The race to the PGA Tour Playoffs turns back towards home this week as the first of just three remaining qualifying tournaments take place when another stacked field heads to Minnesota for the 3M Open.
Cameron Champ enhanced his position in the FedExCup rankings a year ago when he powered his way to the title and he’ll be looking for a successful defence of the title but a number of players will be out to boost their own position with a title win.
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 three 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 added another one for the bombers a year ago. 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.
Given that we had a major tournament last week the field here is still pretty good. It isn’t what you would call top loaded but when you consider that for the next three weeks the focus will be on making the top 125 in the FedEx standings there is a lot to look forward to here. The headline act in the field is Hideki Matsuyama. The former Masters champion doesn’t have anything to worry about in terms of the playoffs and neither so the likes of Tony FInau, Sungjae Im and Cameron Tringale.
There are a host of players who have shown some good recent form who are in the field here such as Sahith Theegala, Adam Hadwin and Maverick McNealy while Davis Riley and Joohyung Kim will be looking for a first PGA Tour title, as will Adam Svensson. Chez Reavie has a title to his name which he won at the Barracuda Championship last week and he’ll be looking for another here. Brendon Todd, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and the defending champion Cameron Champ are all teeing it up too.
The two star attractions in the field are the joint favourites at 16/1 this week. Tony Finau fits the profile of a player who should go well here and he was close to justifying that two years ago when he finished third. The other two years he has been here he has flattered to deceive in the other two years. Hideki Matsuyama has only been here once and he finished in the top 10 but he’s been a bit hit or miss recently. There are also a lot of rumours that he’s being targeted by LIV Golf so he’s likely to be harassed all week which isn’t ideal.
Sungjae Im is next in the betting at 20/1 but he has gone off the boil in the last few weeks. At The Open last week he lost more than 10 shots on the field on the greens which is a terrible statistic. He finished in the top 15 in his only appearance in this tournament but only has one top 10 finish since The Masters. He has had Covid in that time so you wonder if he is fully over that because we are used to him being a dominant force whenever he tees it up.
Maverick McNealy and Sahith Theegala come next in the betting at 22/1. Theegala has been knocking at the door all year but it hasn’t opened for him yet. He has the game to go well here and four top 10s on the year is decent form but he might be getting a little short now. If form counts for anything this week then McNealy could be the one to be on. He has gone 8-16-9 in the last three weeks and is another who has been knocking on the door for a while. I’m reluctant to get on at this price until it has opened.
I’m going with the form book for my two main bets this week with the first of those coming in the shape of Cameron Davis, a player four top 10s in his last eight starts including eighth at the John Deere and then sixth at the Barracuda Championship. He was T12 here in 2020 so he ticks the course form book and the founding point of his success has been his iron play and his putting. In three of his last five starts he has been in the top 20 in strokes gained on approach and last week he finished sixth in the field on putting. Davis concluded with a 64 here last year so the way he is hitting the ball mixed in with form on the course makes him a leading contender here.
The other main bet for me this week is J.T Poston. He missed the cut at The Open last week but a pair of 73s wasn’t exactly a shocking performance and now that he is back on familiar terrain I expect a lot more from him here. Only one player beat Poston in the two events prior to last week with Schauffele edging him out in the Travelers Championship before Poston won the John Deere Classic. In recent times Poston has either made the top 10 or missed the cut and when he has made the top 10 he has been in the top seven in strokes gained from tee to green. He is putting very well at the minute and although he was only T28 here last year, that would have been much better but for a third round of 76. If he puts the four rounds together here he’ll take a lot of beating.
I’ll take a couple of outsiders this week as well with the South African player Dylan Frittelli. He had a solid run at The Open without being anything spectacular but what did catch the eye is how he was ranked fifth in the field for strokes gained putting. We know Frittelli smacks it a fair mile so if he can putt like he did last week then there is nothing to suggest that he can’t go well here. Frittelli has gained more than five strokes on the field with the putter in two of his last three starts which is encouraging and he has a top 20 finish around here which is another box ticked. He should run better than his price.
A last three event form of 10-21-31 for Michael Gligic might not be anything to write home about but the fact he has gained almost 14 shots with the putter in those three outings is certainly something to take notice of and as someone who can get it out there well beyond 300 yards he should go well this week. He isn’t just smacking the driver long he is accurate as well as 12-22-20 in driving accuracy for those three weeks would testify. Big, straight hitting off the tee and a hot putter are the requirements for success here so I see no reason why Gligic can’t run hot this week.
Back C.Davis to win 3M Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)
Back him here:
Back J.T.Poston to win 3M Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Coral (1/5 1-8)
Back D.Frittelli to win 3M Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 67.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)
Back M.Gligic to win 3M Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)