The 3M Open is a full field that tops out around 156 players. It falls on the week after The Open Championship in England, so the field is never going to be one of the strongest — especially this year with all the COVID-19 logistics. That said, the No. 1 player in the World (Dustin Johnson) is slated to attend, as are Tony Finau and Patrick Reed. There could be a solid number of withdrawals starting this Monday, though, just given the fact a lot of players will be traveling from overseas.
Last year’s winner Michael Thompson is also in the field, as is Louis Oosthuizen, who will be looking to rebound from another disappointing final round in a major. The cut goes back to its regularly scheduled programming here with the top 65 and ties getting to play the weekend.
TPC Twin Cities—Minneapolis, Minnesota
Par 71, 7,168; Greens: Bentgrass
TPC Twin Cities was designed in 2000 by Arnold Palmer and Tom Lehmen. On top of hosting the 3M Open in 2019 and 2020, this venue also hosted a PGA TOUR Champions event between 2001-2018.
Redesigned in order to accommodate its new spot on the PGA TOUR rotation, TPC Twin Cities now plays as a Par 71 but at well under 7,200 yards. The venue was one of the easier stops on the Champions Tour, yielding either the most or second-most birdies on TOUR during the seven seasons it hosted an event (according to pgatour.com). Last year on the PGA, it yielded a 19-under par wining score and played as just the 23rd-toughest venue (out of 41) on TOUR.
TPC Twin Cities is always going to be an easy spot for the PGA pros since it’s in a flat parkland setting with very little elevation. As such, good lies are the norm here with the courses main defense being the abundance of water that is set around the track. Water comes into play on 15 of the 18 holes here, but they’re not what you’d call overly aggressive water areas since the landing spots off the tee are still very generous on most holes. Both driving distance and driving accuracy numbers here are much higher than the TOUR average, making it one of the easiest Off the Tee venues on TOUR.
While the big fairways do give bombers a chance to load up often with their best club, inaccurate shorter hitters also have an easier time here, and the venue allowed many shorter hitters to compete here last season. The 2020 winner, Michael Thompson, regularly ranks outside the top 150 in driving distance on TOUR and lost 0.5 strokes Off the Tee here in the week of his win.
TPC Twin Cities also holds three longer par 5s, which will require good drives in order to reach the greens in two shots, along with seven par 4s of 440 yards of length or more. The greens and fairways are pure bentgrass, and fast greens or wind may be the courses best defense this week. Another Arnold Palmer-designed venue, TPC Boston, looks like a solid comparison since it’s also one of the easier venues on TOUR for scoring and features some easier driving holes — including a couple of shorter par 4s. If the weather holds, expect this one to be a fun birdie-fest type of tournament where water could punish overly aggressive play late Sunday.
2021 weather: The weather this week looks perfect. The highs will be topping out in the low 90s each day, with winds currently forecast to stay below 10 mph for the entire tournament. The course has been receptive in terms of its green speeds in the first two seasons of play, but the warmer weather could make things a bit tougher this year. Faster and harder greens could give the bigger hitters a bit better chance as the higher ball flight and shorter approaches will mean attacking the greens will be easier for longer players. Regardless, don’t expect the weather to offer up any significant wave splits, but consider emphasizing big hitters if the reports from the course indicate tougher greens.
Last 5 winners
2020—Michael Thompson at 19-under (over Adam Long -17)
**other notables include Tony Finau and Emiliano Grillo T3
2019—Matthew Wolff at 21-under-par (over Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa -20)
**other notables include Adam Hadwin and Wyndham Clark T5
Winners Stats and Course Overview
Michael Thompson (2020)
2020 lead-in form (MC-T64-T46-T8-T57)
SG: OTT — -0.5
SG: APP — +7.4
SG: TTG — +5.9
SG: ATG — -1
SG: PUTT — +7.3
· This week is very much about good iron play and putting since the greens and fairways tend to be easy to hit. In 2020, the top 11 finishers all gained strokes on approach for the week, while eight of the top-10 finishers gained +3.0 strokes or more with their irons.
· While good putting is a must, players who can pepper the flag here have tended to thrive. None of the top six finishers in 2019 gained less than +3.2 strokes on their approaches, with the winner and runner-up gaining an absurd +9.5 strokes and +10.7 strokes on approach alone, respectively.
· The fact Thompson actually won with losing strokes off the tee emphasizes how poor OTT play here can be made up via great irons and putting.
· One area not to emphasize this week is definitely around the green play, which tends to be neutralized by both the easy setup (most scrambles and bunker shots are straightforward) and the easy to hit greens. Five of the top-11 finishers here from last season actually lost strokes Around the Greens for the week
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change
1. Jhonattan Vegas ($7,500; T11-T52-second): Vegas enters this week having made 12 of his last 13 cuts on TOUR. He’s recorded two runner-up finishes in that span, as well (Puerto Rico and Palmetto).
2. Luke List ($8,100; T4-T5): List has bounced back from a three-event missed cut streak to now post top-five finishes in each of his last two starts. He gained over +3.0 strokes ATG on Approach and OTT at the John Deere.
3. Maverick McNealy ($8,400;T18-T21): McNealy has finally started to flash some consistency on TOUR. He has now made four cuts in a row and finished T21 or better in three of his last four starts.
4. Sergio Garcia ($9,900; T19-T19): Garcia has quietly picked up his game of late. He has finished top 20 at the last two majors and now finished T20 or better in four straight events.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Trust Tringale in weaker field
Cameron Tringale ($9,500) has been one of the more consistent value targets in DFS this year. He has eight top-20 finishes over his last 17 PGA starts and is coming off a couple of quality starts, including a T26 last week at The Open (his best ever finish in a major). He finished T3 at this event last year and looks like a solid anchor to pair with one of the bigger names in the field. Patton Kizzire ($8,600 - see below) and Maverick McNealy ($8,400) have also both been playing well recently. Both have good birdie or better rates and set up very well for this wide-open parkland venue. Some other names lower down in salary to consider here for core/cash lineups include the likes of Camilo Villegas ($6,700), Chez Reavie ($7,400) and Beau Hossler ($7,300).
Tournaments: Champ worthy of a GPP roster here
Cameron Champ ($7,100) has had a 2021 to forget as he enters this week having missed four of his last five cuts on TOUR. The 25-year-old has already won twice on the PGA, though, and grabbed a T11 his last time out at the Deere. He could pop as a momentum play this week and should like the driver-heavy course with easy around the green structures. Sergio Garcia ($9,900) also makes for an interesting name here. He is striking it well and is capable of the kind of monster approach week needed to win here. Other potential GPP targets here include the likes of Brandon Hagy ($7,200), Patrick Rodgers ($7,600) and Tom Lewis ($7,000).
MY PICK: Patton Kizzire ($8,600)
The last time we saw Kizzire, he posted a T11 at the John Deere Classic. The two-time TOUR winner has been one of the more streaky players on TOUR since turning pro, following up two T3 finishes (Charles Schwab and Byron Nelson) in 2021 with three MC’s in a row, before bouncing back in Detroit and the Deere. While his off the tee game leaves something to be desired, his iron play can match some of the best in the game when it’s clicking. He comes into this week ranked 12th in SG: Approach stats — despite missing three of his last five cuts — and remains one of the more elite putters on TOUR. Kizzire has only lost strokes putting once now over his last 13 starts and also ranks out fifth in birdies gained over the last 50 rounds — a stat that makes him well suited for this week’s venue.
This will be Kizzire’s third time playing TPC Twin Cities, and it’s worth noting he’s made the cut here in his two prior visits, gaining +6.6 strokes putting here in 2019. His blend of solid iron play and elite putting gives him a very similar profile to last year’s winner Michael Thompson ($7,400) and makes him a perfect upside play for what should be a low-scoring week in Minnesota.
MY SLEEPER: Sean O’Hair ($6,400)
O’Hair has been trying to make his way back from injury over the last two seasons but has used up his medical exemptions — he’s one of the last alternates in the field here. Despite lacking full status, his play of late has improved. The 37-year-old is coming into Twin Cities off the back of two made cuts, including a T11 in his last start at the John Deere. Like the courses in his last two starts, TPC Twin Cities isn’t very demanding from a ball-striking perspective, and it is worth noting the uptick in Off the Tee play from O’Hair, who is still a big hitter and has gained +2.0 or more strokes OTT in each of his last two starts.
O’Hair’s putter also heated up at the John Deere, where he gained +5.2 strokes putting against the field, and he should bring some confidence into this event in that regard, as well. Of the top-10 finishers on the leaderboard here last season, eight of them gained +3.0 or more strokes putting for the week, and veteran players bringing some confidence with the flatstick into Minnesota shouldn’t be ignored. The four-time TOUR winner makes for a solid, low-owned GPP play here for me in this wide-open field.
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