Round 2 of the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities is officially in the books, and it’s time to survey the field to fire away at some matchups on moving day.
But before we get into matchups to bet, there are a few things I’d like to touch on as a general matter. Round 3 is a perfect time to fire away at individual matchups. You know how the course has played in Rounds 1 and 2, and Round 3 is generally where the better players separate themselves from the field.
Weather has already been a factor in Round 3 even before any golfers tee off – the PGA grouped golfers as threesomes instead of twosomes to be able to avoid inclement weather. could be a factor in Round 3 – as of writing, there are scattered thunderstorms, severe humidity, and 10-15mph winds in the forecast in Blaine, Minnesota. It seems like we haven’t had a PGA tournament play through without a weather delay in a while, and it would not surprise me if we see a delay at some point tomorrow.
Fade the hot putters
I like to look at two main things when identifying 3rd Round matchups to bet. First, I like to fade hot putters in Round 1 and 2 when they are in a matchup with a better ball-striker in Round 3. And second, I like to look at certain players whose games fit the course well prior to the tournament but may have had a slow start
Michael Thompson and Richy Werenski sit on the top of the leaderboard at -12 for the tournament, fueled by a stretch of hot putting. Thompson has earned +2.26 strokes gained on average through 2 rounds of putting. Werenski has earned +3.46 on average with the short stick, per datagolf.com (also – whenever I cite strokes gained or lost stats, they are coming from this site, which I cannot recommend more for matchup betting). Both of these golfers are a prime fade in my opinion.
For context, Tony Finau heads into Round 3 tied for 3rd, one stroke back from Thompson and Werenski at -11. Finau has lost -0.15 strokes putting, and has gained +4.00 strokes gained on average in his approach, and is averaging +5.22 strokes from tee-to-green. He’s been awesome everywhere in this tournament except for around the green and on the green. He’s been the best ball-striker in this tournament, and if he can show any improvement with his putter, he could easily win this tournament going away.
With all of this in mind, let’s look at some match-ups:
1 – Scott Stallings over Ryan Moore, Tie No Bet +100
Scott Stallings was one of my favorite golfers for the 3M Tournament, as he ranked 59th in strokes gained approach heading into what was an already thin tournament as far as top 100 golfers are concerned.
Why I like Stallings against Ryan Moore in Round 3 is more about the weather. With the projected weather forecast for tomorrow, Round 2, where winds averaged around 15mph, is moreso an indicator for Round 3, where winds averaged around 15mph. Round 1 had winds in the single digits.
Stallings shot -7 in Round 2, with +4.72 strokes gained on approach and +5.01 strokes gained from tee-to-green. Moore shot -1 in Round 2, with a +0.36 approach and +0.28 tee-to-green strokes gained. I’d expect Stallings to continue this ball-striking momentum into Round 3 with similar playing conditions. I don’t think Moore gets back to his form from Round 1, where he shot -6. Play the hot hand here in Stallings Saturday, especially since his opponent Moore had a pretty pedestrian Friday round.
2. Dylan Frittelli over Harris English, Tie No Bet +104
Harris English was another golfer I had identified as a potential play heading into the tournament, since he was playing well over the last few tournaments and his game seemed to match TPC Twin Cities. He shot -6 in Round 2 and seemed to finally found his ball-striking groove, gaining +4.24 strokes on approach and +4.01 strokes from tee-to-green.
Only problem here is that he’s matched up against Dylan Frtitelli, who shot -4 under in Round 2 behind just as proficient ball-striking, gaining +3.55 strokes on approach and +5.08 strokes from tee-to-green. Frittelli lost -1.35 strokes putting, which was the worst putting performance in Round 2 from anyone who currently sits inside the top 20 on the leaderboard.
The stories for both Frittelli and English are pretty similar – average Round 1 performances (although Frittelli had a bit better performance than English all-around) with advances in ball-striking in Round 2.
The only difference here is the putting – and Frittelli has a good chance of reverting back to the mean and beating English. I think the odds here provide good value on Frittelli, where you can get a tie-no-bet on him for plus odds.
3. Tony Finau over Richy Werenski, -175
As mentioned previously in this article, Werenski is a prime fade for me. He has been average in most strokes gained statistics: +0.22 around the green, +1.09 approach, and +0.81 off-the-tee. Werenski sits atop the leaderboard due to his +3.46 strokes gained putting, which is the best in the field by a full 1.2 strokes.
For more on Tony Finau check out our full weekend update for the 3M Open
With the PGA electing to pair Werenski with Thompson and Finau due to weather, it’s a great opportunity to eat the juice at -175 and watch Finau overtake him on moving day. Finau is the best ball-striker at the top of the leaderboard, and has had an absurd +4.00 strokes gained on approach while losing -0.15 strokes to putting.
It’s hard to keep gaining that many strokes throughout a tournament, and it is highly likely that Werenski’s putter comes down to earth. Expect Finau to beat him in Round 3. I’d take this all the way up to -200.