Whom you should bet on and roster for the inaugural 3M Open in Minnesota.
The PGA Tour will head north for July 4, and for the second consecutive week, it’s for a brand new event. This week it’s the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities, as the PGA Tour returns to Minnesota for the first time in 50 years.
The field will feature some of the biggest names on Tour, including world No. 1 Brooks Koepka. After a week off, the reigning PGA Champion is looking to get back on track in non-major events after finishing T-50 and T-57 at the RBC Canadian Open and the Travelers.
Along with Koepka, Phil Mickelson will tee it up as he tries to bounce back from two missed cuts in his last three events. Mickelson is without at top 50 in his last five Tour starts and has just one top 20 finish since winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.
In all, nine of the top 50 players in the world rankings will peg it at TPC Twin Cities, which is an Arnold Palmer design. The golf course underwent a renovation in 2018 under the watchful eye of Minnesotan and major champion Tom Lehman, and has hosted a PGA Tour Champions event since 1991.
With three driveable par 4s, birdies will come fast and furious this week, so setting up those birdie attempts with accurate approach shots will be imperative.
Strokes gained approach, birdie average and par 4 scoring will be critical stats.
Nuts and bolts
Course: TPC Twin Cities (7,468 yards, par 71)
Defending champion: New event
Weather: Temperatures in the high 70’s to low 80’s. Chance of Thunderstorms Thursday through Saturday.
Patrick Reed (30/1, $10,700)
It’s been a rough season for Reed, who began the year in good form but has failed to find his game since March. He picked up his first top-20 finish in three months last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which seems to be proof that he’s turned a corner. Reed hit nearly 80% of his greens in regulation in Detroit and has now reeled off scores of 70 or better in seven of his last eight rounds. He can pile up birdies in bunches and they’ll be available this week at the ultra friendly TPC Twin Cities, with the winning score expected to be somewhere around 20 under.
Joaquin Niemann (35/1, $10,200)
The 20-year-old from Chile has experienced the ups and downs of life on tour, but has quickly developed into one of the top prospects in the game. Niemann heads to Minnesota red hot after back-to-back T-5 finishes at the Travelers and Rocket Mortgage. He’s now reeled of eight consecutive sub-70 rounds and hit 75% of the fairways and 83% of greens in regulation at Detroit Golf Club, ranking third in overall ball striking.
Rory Sabbatini (45/1, $10,000)
The other Rory has turned into the value man this season. Sabbatini has made 13 straight cuts on Tour and has reeled off five top 10s over his last eight starts, including a T3 at last week’s Rocket Mortgage. He’s 29th in scoring average, 33rd in birdie average and fifth in total birdies. He’ll keep it rolling this week in Minnesota.
Scott Piercy (55/1, $9,600)
Piercy can go low with the best of them, which he showed with rounds of 62 at Mayakoba and 63 at the Byron Nelson earlier this year. With birdie opportunities expected to be served on a platter this week, I like a guy who knows how to bury them. Piercy currently ranks 26th in scoring average and 10th in Par 4 scoring average. He’s cooled a bit since his T2 at the Nelson but is rested and should find plenty of birdie chances as he ranks 16th in greens in regulation this season.
Cameron Tringale (150/1, $8,900)
One of the better ball strikers on Tour that no one knows about, Tringale has been popping up on leaderboards for weeks now. His T5 at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic was his fifth top-25 finish over his last seven starts. Thirteen of his last 15 rounds have been in the 60s and he currently ranks 20th in greens in regulation and 31st in strokes gained aproach. At 150 to 1…take a flyer.
Phil Mickelson (55/1, $10,100)
As the missed cuts continue to mount, the question lingers…Have we seen the last of Lefty as we knew him? I’m not ready to go there yet, but his recent play has been in steep decline. Over his last 20 stroke-play rounds, Phil has been in the 60s just four times. His calves may look great, but his ball striking has been brutal, ranking 114th in greens in regulation and 95th in strokes gained approach. And while he continues to “hit bombs,” they’re going all over the map—he ranks 196th in driving accuracy.