Major Championship season has come and gone and the tour is moving towards the end of the season and the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Collin Morikawa prevailed last week for his second major championship and fifth win overall. He has established himself as one of the best four or five players in the world in two seasons on tour.
This week the tour heads to Minneapolis for the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities. TPC Twin Cities is a par 71, playing around 7,430 yards. It is a resort-style course with relatively generous fairways and lots of water. This is just the third year of this tournament.
There is water in play on 15 holes and it must be avoided to stay in contention. This event has been all about how many birdies can be made for the first two times it was played. The winner will likely shoot somewhere around -20 based on the last couple of years.
As with any birdie fest, iron play and putting will be key. Based on the past leaderboards and stats, the best ball strikers for the week are usually the ones picking up top 10 finishes. Because so many birdies are necessary, those players hitting the most greens to have the most chances have the best shot.
Like we have seen at the Rocket Mortgage and John Deere recently, trying to predict the outcome of these types of events where -20 is in play is difficult. Trying to figure out who will ride a hot putter is tough but leaning on the best iron players usually gives you a good place to start.
TPC Twin cities allow the bombers to hit driver so long as they are staying out of the water but ultimately being in the fairway to get the ball on the green for birdie looks is the most important thing. Getting as many good looks for birdie is the number one thing this week.
Both long and short hitters have succeeded here but the consistent theme is putting and iron play. Michael Thompson won while losing strokes off the tee last year but the year before that, Matt Wolff won by bombing it around for the most part.
SG: Approach will be the key indicator as well as the ability to make birdies and hit it close (Opportunities gained).
3M Open Betting | Outrights
The field is pretty weak because the Open was last week and the Olympics are next weekend for golf. Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, and Patrick Reed all came back over to play this event as they are not playing the following week in the Olympics.
The middle class of players is not strong this week and the odds board is a bit strange because of that. The usual suspects in the 20-1 to 50-1 range are pretty tough to see winning. That is usually where the value lies but not this week. I’d expect to see some unusual names at the top.
Cameron Tringale +3500
Tringale is pretty due to get a win sooner or later with how he has played this year. There is no better time than in a weak field like this on a course he should like. He’s had a great season with exceptional ball striking.
He ranks 13th in SG: Approach over the last 36 rounds and is top 10 in SG: Around the Green and Putting. He has been excellent in the midwest in the past on similar bent grass greens and finished third at this tournament last year.
He was 26th at the Open last week and had a 14th at the Rocket Mortgage (a similar style course) the week before that so he is playing nicely. He has the iron play and putting that will be necessary to win, he just needs to keep it out of the water.
Emiliano Grillo +3500
Grillo certainly has the iron game to compete here and bent is his best putting surface. If he is ever going to get a win, it will be on bent grass greens like this week. Grillo has competed for wins a ton recently but his putter has let him down in the past.
He is coming off a nice finish in the Open and he really had his irons going across the pond. His game was in good shape a couple of months back and his fit here is undeniable. He finished 3rd here last year.
He tends to pop up in the birdie fest style of the tournament because his iron game gives him lots of looks. He ranks 6th in Opportunities Gained and top 15 in birdies or better gained over the last 24 rounds.
Longshots I like: Troy Merritt +000 & Scott Stallings +10000
Dustin Johnson +138
These odds are not great for a top 10 but he is in a class of his own in this field. He had a nice week at the Open and is trying to get his game back in shape before the Playoffs. This course is a great fit because he can hit the driver straight enough to avoid the water.
His ball-striking was really well last week and he is definitely one of the best in this field his irons. His putting has been really good recently, ranking 9th in the field in SG: Putting over the last 24 rounds.
He has four straight top 25’s with two top 10’s in much better fields than this so plus money feels like a steal. Plus he hasn’t got a win in a while so it feels like it is coming.
Longshot top 10: Doug Ghim +400
Hank Lebioda +200
Lebioda is as hot as anyone teeing it up this week. He has three straight top 10’s including two top 5’s. He has been amazing with the flat stick the last three weeks on similar greens to what we will see this week in Minneapolis.
He has been solid with his iron and short game and his lack of length shouldn’t be an issue at this venue. So long as the putter stays hot and he does his usual damage with the irons, he should contend here given the field.
Seven straight made cuts and two nice finishes in the last two years at this event don’t hurt either.
Keegan Bradley +175
Bradley has been one of the best iron players on tour over the last year, he just hasn’t paired up a good putting week with a good iron week to get a win yet. He consistently gains strokes on approach and off the tee. He just struggles with the putter.
Bradley fits nicely here because he will have tons of chances for birdies with his exceptional tee to green game. While his putting is inconsistent, if he putts well for just a couple rounds, he will be near the top of the leaderboard.
He is awesome with his wedges and irons and is ranked top five in opportunities gained over the last 24 rounds. He just fits really nicely, he just needs the putter to cooperate.
Longshot top 20: Sam Ryder +550
3M Open Betting | Matchup
Lanto Griffin -114 over Dylan Frittelli
Until the Open last week, Frittelli had one top 40 in eight months. He had been playing terribly for so long, it was a shock to see him show up on the first page last week. I am going to bet that it was a fluke.
Playing that bad for so long is a serious trend and one week doesn’t scare me too much. As you can imagine, he was basically bad in every conceivable category and I don’t see how this course is in any way similar to last week.
Griffin is just a nice golfer who is pretty consistent, unlike Frittelli. Lanto has made four straight cuts with three top 40’s and his form is consistent. He is gaining strokes with his irons most weeks and he is a good putter.
Lanto’s floor is just so much higher given the countless missed cuts over the last 8 months by Frittelli.
TPC Twin Cities is one of the easiest courses on tour to hit greens at and Schenk’s biggest weakness is around the green. He shouldn’t have to chip much and the rest of his game is really nice at the moment.
He has back-to-back top 15 finishes in similar types of events including a 4th at the John Deere Classic. He consistently gains off the tee and on approach. His putter is what has been really good lately.
He ranks 16th in SG: Putting and top 15 in birdies or better gained and opportunities gained. He will have lots of chances to make birdies and his putter has been cashing them in lately. Schenk is +275 for a top 20 finish.