It always adds an extra element of entertainment when PGA Tour courses play more on the difficult side. The final round of The Memorial provided that viewing experience on Sunday as the average score ended up roughly five shots over par and players limped their way through a challenging 18 holes. Unfortunately, the picks from last week’s article also found it difficult to manage the course as we didn’t have one of our golfers in contention down the stretch. But some nifty Head to Head matchups and a nice Kevin Na top-10 bet salvaged the week from a betting perspective. Sometimes an elite player will pull away from the field, and newly crowned World #1, Jon Rahm, did just that walking away with the title.
This week, the tour heads to Minnesota and the players will take on TPC Twin Cities at the 3M Open.
Based on world golf rankings, the field for the 3M will be one of the weaker we have seen since golf came back in May, but this doesn’t mean there won’t be any strength at the top. It will be headlined by Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Tony Finau. It will also be the first week that we see Tommy Fleetwood on this side of the pond. Bubba Watson and Paul Casey are other notable golfers that will be competing in Minnesota.
Matthew Wolff will also make his return to the course where he captured his first PGA Tour victory in 2019 by sinking an eagle putt on the 72nd hole to beat Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa by one shot.
TPC Twin Cities is a par 71 course measuring just over 7400 yards in length. The course was designed by legendary golfer Arnold Palmer and features bent grass greens and above-average length rough. Last year was the first year that it was the host to the 3M but during the tournament the greens were soft and scoring was abundant leading to eventual winner Matt Wolff posting a final score of 21 under par.
Although there are plenty of opportunities for scoring, there are still 27 water hazards and 72 sand traps. The amount of hazards puts an even bigger importance on accuracy. One poorly judged shot can be the end of the week as most players will be racing to see how low they can go. The easiest holes on the course are the three par 5s that are all reachable in two and provide three different opportunities for eagle.
After analyzing golfers who found success last year, Strokes Gained: Approach was far more valuable than Around the Green. Five out of the top ten finishers in last year’s 3M Open actually lost strokes around the green but all of them gained quite a bit on approach, including the eventual winner, Wolff. With the rough being so penial, we will once again be putting more emphasis on accuracy than length, but both stats will be considered. Just be average with the short game, avoid the water, and it should make for a birdie fest in Minnesota.
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Par 5 Scoring
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
- Proximity from 175-200 yards
- Par 4s: 450-500 yards
I wanted to start the breakdowns this week with a caveat and say this; it is very much a possibility that Brooks Koepka laps the field and runs away with the title. He does not rank well in any key stats besides Tee to Green and other than a 7th at the RBC Heritage, he has not posted a strong finish since golf returned in May. He has also been rumored to have some injury issues that he can’t shake.
However, none of this is relevant for the four time major champion. When looking at the PGA Tour calendar, the next four weeks consist of a WGC event (World Golf Championship) and the year’s first major, the PGA Championship. Brooks plans his seasons around winning premier events. He is playing the 3M as a tune up for those larger tournaments and if the tune up goes well, he could dominate this field. I won’t bet him at +1200 but I just wanted to get that out of the way.
Now onto the picks.
Paul Casey +2500
When it comes to the important stats for this week, Paul Casey checks almost all the boxes. He is 3rd in the field in Approach, 2nd in Tee to Green, and 2nd in Par 5 scoring. With that many relevant stats lining up it is hard not to like Casey. The Brit is coming off a missed cut this past week but let’s dive further into what happened at Muirfield. He gained strokes in both Off the Tee and Approach which is a great sign coming into this event. His struggle was Around the Green where he lost a staggering four full strokes. The greens at Muirfield were incredibly challenging to hit which put a huge emphasis on the players ability to scramble. Fortunately for Casey, the players arrive at a course this week where scrambling doesn’t seem to be a big factor in finding success and hopefully won’t put a strain on his rounds.
He does struggle with the putter but if there is one surface he enjoys it’s bent grass. He loses strokes on both Poa and Bermuda but actually gains strokes slightly on courses made with bent. With a field void of much premier talent, I’ll take my chances by starting my card with the ball striking ability of Paul Casey.
Russell Henley +3300
In his past two starts, Russell Henley has finished 7th and 32nd. Both of those results came in fields that were much stronger than the 3M. His numbers absolutely back up his results. Over the past 24 rounds played, he leads this week’s field in Strokes Gained: Approach as well as Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He is also 12th in Proximity from 175 – 200 yards, which is one of the most common distances that the players will find at TPC Twin Cities.
Henley seems to have been putting in work with his ball striking. When looking at rounds played over the past couple years he is getting progressively better with his Approach and Tee to Green game.
|Average Strokes Gained Summary|
|Tournaments||SG: Total||SG: T2G||SG: APP|
When Henley is on with his irons, he gives himself plenty of chances at birdies and I am expecting that to happen this week. 33/1 seems like value to me.
Eric Van Rooyen +4000
Coming off of a 22nd place finish at Memorial, Eric Van Rooyen is in good form heading into this week. He was 2nd in the field last week in Strokes Gained: Approach and 4th in total Tee to Green. Over the past 36 rounds, he is in the top 10 of this week’s field in both Tee to Green and Par 5 Scoring. With this tournament lacking a lot of star power, most people will likely group him in with the average PGA Tour pros in the middle of the field. However, the South African is actually the 43rd ranked player in the world, and should be viewed as such.
Another fun fact regarding Van Rooyen; he attended the University of Minnesota. One of the home courses for the Gopher’s team is none other than TPC Twin Cities. Put him at a familiar track and have him in good form coming in? That’s enough for me to bet him at 40/1.
Doc Redman +5000
Leading up to The Memorial, Doc Redman had posted three straight finishes of 21st or better. He has gained on Approach in his last six events. So why the missed cut at Muirfield? He lost six strokes putting. Let’s say that again…six full strokes. It will be difficult to compete anywhere struggling that much on the greens, but as we continue with the same theme from before, we are looking for premier ball strikers this week, and Redman is just that.
|Date||Pos||Event||SG: Total||SG: T2G||SG: OTT||SG: APP||SG: P|
The Tee to Green game is solid and his Approach game is elite. These numbers tell me that if Doc Redman can just stay neutral on and around the greens, he’s got a good shot to find himself in contention come Sunday. Hopefully he can even gain some with the putter and if that’s the case, he’s got more than just a shot to be in contention. I’m in at 45/1 for Doc.
Max Homa +7000
Let’s try this again, shall we. Insert the write up about Max Homa from last week’s article here and all arguments remain the same. In fact, he actually appears to be a better play this week than he was last. I hope that’s the case as once again his putter let him down on a Friday and he stumbled his way into another missed cut by one shot. Even worse…he bogeyed holes 17 and 18 in order to do so.
But it wasn’t all bad for the Cal Berkeley alum. He once again gained over two strokes on approach and a staggering 3.5 strokes Tee to Green. He was in the top 10 on the leaderboard at the end of the first round and just could not get a putt to drop on Friday.
Homa is in the top 30 in this field for all relevant stats and has been gaining over two strokes on approach over his past 10 events.
|Average Strokes Gained Summary|
|Tournaments||SG: Total||SG: T2G||SG: OTT||SG: APP||SG: P|
If he can just get a couple putts to roll in there is no reason why Homa won’t be on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon. That’s good enough for me when it comes to placing a bet at 70/1.
A couple other numbers that stood out to me are the following:
- Lucas Glover +3300
- Harris English +3500
- Scott Stallings +8000
I’ll be waiting for any type of line movement as the week progresses before betting them but those numbers do look appealing.
This is one of those weeks where bankroll management is key. We are coming off of arguably the strongest non-major field we have seen in a long time and now have one of the weakest. I am going strictly off of stats this week. I’ll be saving some space on my card for live outrights throughout the weekend. I’ll bet these five guys listed and hope to find some live value to fill in the card from there. Let’s hope our golfers avoid the water and roll in all the birdies they can.