Best bets for the PGA 3M Open

July 25, 2023 04:43 PM

3M Open

Brian Harman, listed as high as 175-1 pre-event, took control of the British Open in Friday's second round with a 65 and held a five-stroke lead heading into the weekend. Despite starting +2 through four holes on Saturday and +2 through five holes on Sunday, Harman kept it together and never surrendered his lead to finish 13 under and six shots clear of second place.

Harman, with two career PGA Tour wins (last victory 2,258 days ago at the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship) before this weekend, has been a consistently good player but had never had a signature week like this one. After completing his major championship triumph, Harman walked into the scoring tent with his putter still in hand as he did not want to let it go considering he gained 11.57 strokes (No. 1 in the field) with it over four rounds. The 36-year-old is the oldest first-time major winner since Sergio Garcia won the Masters at 37. He now rises to No. 10 in the OWGR and will likely make his Ryder Cup debut later this fall in Rome.

Four players tied for second behind Harman: Tom Kim, Sepp Straka, Jon Rahm and Jason Day, who now has completed the runner-up Grand Slam. Emiliano Grillo and Rory McIlroy finished T-6. McIlroy's major championship drought has reached nine years. Shubhankar Sharma and Cameron Young finished T-8 and rounding out the top 10 were Max Homa, Tommy Fleetwood and Matthew Jordan, a member at Hoylake who gave his hometown crowd a lot to cheer about over the weekend.

This week, the PGA Tour heads back to the States with only two events left until the FedEx Cup Playoffs, starting with a stop in the Twin Cities for the 3M Open. Defending 3M Open champion Tony Finau (12-1) missed the cut last week at the Open, and despite his victory in Mexico this spring, has been a bit out of form and is looking to rediscover it before the Ryder Cup selection in September.

Young (16-1) has had a disappointing 2023 campaign compared with 2022 when he had seven top-3 finishes or better. However, he does come into this week with consecutive top-10s at the John Deere Classic (T-6) and the Open (T-8). Sungjae Im (16-1) was runner-up in this event last year and has five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season.

Hideki Matsuyama (18-1) finished T-13 at the Open.

Justin Thomas (25-1) missed the cut badly in his second consecutive major last weekend and was a late commitment to this event as he finds himself outside the top 70 for FedEx Cup points and is running out of time to play quality golf to avoid being on the outside looking in for the Ryder Cup.

Grillo (28-1) and Straka (30-1) have both won on the PGA Tour this season (Grillo, Charles Schwab Challenge; Straka, John Deere Classic) and both posted career-best major championship finishes at Royal Liverpool.

Ludvig Aberg (35-1) earned his tour card through 2024 finishing atop the PGA Tour U standings for college players and now is trying to make his way into the top 70 for the FedEx Cup over the next two weeks. He was fourth at the John Deere Classic three weeks ago.

A quartet of players are slotted at 40-1: Cam Davis, Gary Woodland, Keith Mitchell and Sahith Theegala.

Adam Hadwin (45-1) has finished fourth (2019) and sixth (2021) here in three career starts.

Akshay Bhatia (55-1) earned his full PGA Tour status by winning the Barracuda Championship in a playoff last weekend over Patrick Rodgers (45-1), who is tied for the all-time wins record at Stanford with Tiger Woods and Maverick McNealy but still has yet to win a PGA Tour event in 246 career starts. Bhatia was a late Monday withdrawal.

With the playoffs tightening from the traditional 125 to 70, the depth of the 3M Open field markedly improved this year compared with its first four tournaments. With the playoff bubble in mind, 27 players in this field fall between No. 55 and No. 85 in the current FedEx Cup standings.

Eleven of the OWGR Top 50 players play this weekend, including Finau, Young, Thomas, Im, Straka and Matsuyama. Eighteen players from last week’s Open Championship field made the 10-hour flight from Liverpool to Minnesota. That list also includes Theegala, J.T. Poston (55-1), Grillo and Nicolai Hojgaard (55-1), who round out the list of secondary contenders.

The Event

The 3M Open is just in its fifth year as an event on the PGA Tour. However, it does have a lengthy history from its previous incarnation as the 3M Championship, which was held annually on the PGA Tour Champions from 1993-2018. The Champions event was held on this TPC Twin Cities course from 2001-2018. Paul Goydos set the course record of 60 here in the 2017 Champions event. Title sponsor 3M is headquartered just outside the Twin Cities in Maplewood, Minn., and is only one of 30 companies to be part of the Dow Jones Industrial Averages. With $32.8 billion in total sales in 2018, 3M was easily able to part ways with the $16 million annually to be the title sponsor for this event.

The Course

TPC Twin Cities is in Blaine, which is 13 miles north of Minneapolis and 20 miles from St. Paul. The track was designed in 2000 by Arnold Palmer with consultation from Tom Lehman. Native Minnesotans Tom Lehman and Tim Herron along with Steve Wenzloff, PGA Tour vice president of Design Services, renovated the layout in 2018. TPC Twin Cities is part of the Tournament Players Club group of courses owned by the PGA Tour.

The course will be played as a par-71 of 7,431 yards, which is the 10th longest on the PGA Tour. It is a relatively easy and gettable parklands design with three shorter and drivable par-4s that longer hitters can reach. With three par-5s measuring 594 yards (6th), 593 yards (12th) and 596 yards (18th) in length, the longest holes on the course show some resistance here. The closing 18th is arguably one of the best finishing holes on the tour. The hole doglegs with water on the right throughout, which is in play on both the tee shot and approach if players want to get aggressive with a 220+ yard approach over water to reach in two. Matthew Wolff won in climactic fashion at the inaugural 2019 3M Open, responding to Bryson DeChambeau’s eagle on 18 with an eagle of his own from just off the fringe.

Both sets of par-3s and par-4s are easy from a PGA Tour scoring perspective. In total, 13 holes have a scoring average under par; the five holes on the property that do not are the four 450+ yard par-4s and the longest par-3 on the course, the 228-yard 13th.

The average round score over four years here is -0.79 under par. However, last year it played +0.44 over par with the rough bumped up to four inches, the course playing firmer and winds gusting to 20 mph each round. The rough growing out to four inches last year — added to some pre-existing smartly placed fairway bunkers — resulted in just over 50% of players being able to find the greens when missing fairways, decreasing from 55.73% in 2021 and 60.41% in 2020.

There are 27 water hazards in play over 13 holes (third most of the PGA Tour), so it resembles a bit of a Florida-type layout. While it is a relatively easy course, there is danger lurking with all of the water. Last year, it ranked second out of 40 courses in penalty strokes per round, and it has ranked inside the top six in this category each of the last four years.

In addition, there are 72 bunkers on the course. The fairways (35.5 yards average width) are constructed of Bentgrass and they will play hard and fast with plenty of rollout. In addition, the course is at around 900 feet altitude (sixth-highest elevation on tour), so the ball will fly a bit farther than normal. The rough can be a pesky four-inch Bluegrass/Fescue mix. The greens are large (6500 square feet) and average speed (12 stimpmeter) Pure Bentgrass.


In 2019, tournament founder Hollis Cavner gave an honest description of how they want the 3M Open to play, quoted as saying, “We want birdies and train wrecks, and we don’t want to be the hardest golf course on the tour.”

TPC Twin Cities is an Arnold Palmer original design, so here are some other Palmer designs played on the PGA Tour:

  • PGA West — Palmer Private: 2008-2015 Career Builder Challenge
  • Bay Hill Country Club: Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • TPC Boston: Dell Technologies Championship
  • Isleworth Golf & Country Club: 2014 Hero World Challenge
  • Albany: 2015-2018 Hero World Challenge

Non-Palmer designs that are more direct correlations to TPC Twin Cities include TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic of New Orleans), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), Detroit Golf Club (Rocket Mortgage Classic), TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals Open), TPC San Antonio (Valero Texas Open), TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship), PGA National (Honda Classic) and PGA West Stadium Course (The American Express).

​3M Open Recent History

2022: Tony Finau (-17/267); 14-1

2021: Cameron Champ (-15/269); 150-1

2020: Michael Thompson (-19/265); 125-1

​2019: Matthew Wolff (-21/263); 175-1

Statistical Analysis

Three of the four winners in this event ranked in the top four for Strokes Gained: Approach during their respective winning weeks (2019: Wolff, second; 2020: Thompson, fourth; and 2022: Finau, third). Last year, 37.5% of strokes gained at TPC Twin Cities came on approach, which is above the tour average of 34.8%. The event average rises even higher to 40.8%. TPC Twin Cities is one of the most approach-heavy courses on the PGA Tour.

Strokes Gained Approach (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Mark Hubbard 37.5
  2. Hideki Matsuyama 30.2
  3. Lucas Glover 29.5
  4. Chez Reavie 29.3
  5. Tony Finau 28.7
  6. Aaron Rai 27.3
  7. Nate Lashley 26
  8. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 24
  9. Gary Woodland 23.9
  10. Kevin Roy 23.7
  11. Ryan Palmer 22.2
  12. Sepp Straka 22.2
  13. Emiliano Grillo 21.3
  14. Eric Cole 20.5
  15. Kevin Streelman 19.6
  16. Justin Thomas 18.7
  17. Scott Piercy 17.3
  18. Ryan Moore 16.6
  19. Stephan Jaeger 15.9

Most of the approach shots will be mid to long irons, so we will examine the yardage pockets from 150-175 yards, 175-200 yards and 200+ yards.

Proximity Gained 150-175 Yards (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Aaron Rai 14.6
  2. Tom Hoge 14.1
  3. Brandon Wu 12.9
  4. Ryan Moore 12.4
  5. Emiliano Grillo 11.7
  6. Russell Knox 11.5
  7. Scott Piercy 11
  8. Sepp Straka 10.7
  9. Ben Martin 10.4
  10. Doug Ghim 9.6
  11. Carl Yuan 9.1
  12. Lucas Glover 9
  13. Alex Noren 8.3
  14. Kevin Yu 7.8
  15. Zac Blair 7.4
  16. Jim Herman 7.2
  17. Greyson Sigg 7

Proximity Gained 175-200 Yards (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Gary Woodland 21.6
  2. Chez Reavie 18.9
  3. Hideki Matsuyama 16.6
  4. Trey Mullinax 14.2
  5. Emiliano Grillo 13.8
  6. Ludvig Aberg 13.3 (27 rounds)
  7. Marty Dou 12.1
  8. Lucas Glover 11.9
  9. Will Gordon 11.4
  10. Justin Lower 11.2
  11. Justin Thomas 11
  12. Eric Cole 10.6
  13. Sam Stevens 10.3
  14. Nate Lashley 10.1
  15. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 10

Proximity Gained 200+ Yards (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Tom Hoge 24.8
  2. Augusto Nunez 24.3
  3. Kevin Tway 20.7
  4. Eric Cole 20.6
  5. Cam Davis 17.3
  6. Tony Finau 16.9
  7. Lucas Glover 15.4
  8. Hideki Matsuyama 15
  9. Nate Lashley 14.8
  10. Ryan Palmer 14.6
  11. Justin Suh 13.9
  12. Harrison Endycott 13.7
  13. Charley Hoffman 13.6
  14. Cameron Young 13.4
  15. Austin Smotherman 13.3
  16. Chez Reavie 13.1
  17. Matti Schmid 13

Note: Numbers indicate Average Feet toward the Hole Gained per Shot from the Distance.

Last year, Finau was third for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and sixth for Driving Accuracy on his way to victory. As Champ showed in 2021 (ranked eighth that week for Distance), bombers can win here; however, Michael Thompson ranked only 46th in the field for Distance when he won in 2020.

At the 2022 3M Open, 21.0% of strokes gained at TPC Twin Cities came off the tee, which is above the tour average of 15.3%.

Strokes Gained Off The Tee (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Brett Grant 29.6
  2. Garrick Higgo 29.3
  3. Kevin Yu 25.4
  4. Keith Mitchell 23.2
  5. Gary Woodland 22.9
  6. SH Kim 21.6
  7. Cameron Young 21.2
  8. Ludvig Aberg 21.1 (34 rounds)
  9. Cam Davis 21.1
  10. Trevor Cone 18.3
  11. Lucas Glover 18.1
  12. Sungjae Im 18
  13. MJ Daffue 17.6
  14. Beau Hossler 17.2
  15. Tyler Duncan 17
  16. Vincent Norrman 16.6
  17. Peter Kuest 16.3
  18. Sam Stevens 16.2
  19. Ryan Palmer 16.1

Last year, TPC Twin Cities ranked fifth out of 38 courses in missed fairway drives that result in a penalty stroke. Although the rough was grown out last year, it is not nearly as penal as finding the water.

Good Drives Gained (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Lucas Glover 38.9
  2. Matthew NeSmith 35.2
  3. Hideki Matsuyama 34.5
  4. Ryan Armour 32.2
  5. Emiliano Grillo 29.8
  6. Austin Eckroat 29.6
  7. Sepp Straka 29.1
  8. Ryan Palmer 28.3
  9. Aaron Rai 27.2
  10. Doc Redman 27.1
  11. Doug Ghim 25.6
  12. Chez Reavie 25.2
  13. Kevin Yu 22
  14. KH Lee 21.6
  15. Brice Garnett 21.2
  16. Satoshi Kodaira 20.9
  17. Lee Hodges 20.9
  18. Michael Kim 20.1
  19. Ryan Moore 19.2

Strokes Gained Off The Tee can often have a bias toward distance as it is easier to gain strokes with distance rather than accuracy.

Driving Accuracy (2022-23 PGA Tour season)

  1. Satoshi Kodaira 70.97%
  2. Ryan Moore 69.81%
  3. Aaron Rai 69.26%
  4. Ryan Armour 68.81%
  5. Lucas Glover 67.47%
  6. Zac Blair 67.34%
  7. Chez Reavie 66.33%
  8. Doug Ghim 66.08%
  9. Tyler Duncan 65.75%
  10. Andrew Landry 65.58%
  11. Sepp Straka 65.17%
  12. Adam Long 65.12%
  13. Austin Cook 65.09%
  14. David Lipsky 64.83%
  15. Jim Herman 64.63%
  16. Kelly Kraft 64.19%
  17. Adam Hadwin 64.07%
  18. Paul Haley 64.06%
  19. Joel Dahmen 63.85%
  20. Austin Eckroat 63.72%

Half of the holes at TPC Twin Cities have a 20% birdie rate or higher. While the hazards will lead to bogeys on this course, players can go on birdie runs here.

Birdie Or Better Gained (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Emiliano Grillo 27.1
  2. Nicolai Hojgaard 25.5
  3. Eric Cole 24.2
  4. Sahith Theegala 24
  5. Sepp Straka 22.8
  6. Vincent Norrman 21.1
  7. Cam Davis 20.9
  8. Cameron Young 19.9
  9. Sungjae Im 19.2
  10. Carson Young 19
  11. Scott Piercy 18.5
  12. Gary Woodland 18
  13. Mark Hubbard 17.9
  14. Will Gordon 17.9
  15. Stephan Jaeger 17.1
  16. Ludvig Aberg 15.9 (34 rounds)
  17. Harry Hall 15.9
  18. Aaron Rai 15.6
  19. Ryan Fox 15.4
  20. Dylan Wu 15.2
  21. MJ Daffue 15.1

This tournament is typically won on the par-5s, especially on the 18th with water in play both off the tee and on the approach shot.

Strokes Gained Par-5s (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Ludvig Aberg 19.7 (34 rounds)
  2. Davis Thompson 19.5
  3. Aaron Rai 19.1
  4. Vincent Norrman 18.4
  5. Dylan Wu 18.4
  6. Cam Davis 15
  7. Richy Werenski 14.4
  8. Ryan Palmer 13.5
  9. Nicolai Hojgaard 12.6
  10. Kevin Yu 12.4
  11. Tony Finau 12.2
  12. Carson Young 11.6
  13. Sungjae Im 11.6
  14. Beau Hossler 11.3
  15. Will Gordon 11.1
  16. Stephan Jaeger 11
  17. Peter Kuest 10.9 (30 rounds)
  18. Eric Cole 10.7
  19. KH Lee 10.3
  20. Harry Hall 10.3
  21. SH Kim 10.3
  22. Kevin Roy 10.2

Although TPC Twin Cities is a largely gettable course, there are bogeys lurking with all of the water hazards.

Bogey Avoidance (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Hideki Matsuyama 43.7
  2. Eric Cole 22.9
  3. Adam Hadwin 21.7
  4. Taylor Pendrith 19.2
  5. Andrew Novak 18.8
  6. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 18.3
  7. Chez Reavie 18
  8. Michael Kim 17.8
  9. Austin Eckroat 16.9
  10. J.T. Poston 16.2
  11. Lucas Glover 15.4
  12. Patrick Rodgers 14.7
  13. Doug Ghim 12.7
  14. Chad Ramey 12.6
  15. Ben Martin 12.6
  16. Emiliano Grillo 12.5
  17. Matt Kuchar 12.5
  18. J.J. Spaun 12.4
  19. Tony Finau 12.1
  20. Stephan Jaeger 11.2
  21. Chesson Hadley 11.1

Putting is fairly straightforward at TPC Twin Cities, but it is still pertinent to look at the stronger Bentgrass putters.

Strokes Gained Putting Bentgrass Greens (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Justin Lower 42
  2. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 30.3
  3. J.T. Poston 28
  4. Justin Suh 26.5
  5. Chesson Hadley 21.6
  6. Eric Cole 21.5
  7. Patrick Rodgers 19.5
  8. Alex Noren 18.8
  9. Austin Cook 16.4
  10. Adam Hadwin 16.3
  11. Sahith Theegala 15.8
  12. Sungjae Im 15.3
  13. Taylor Montgomery 14.9
  14. C.T. Pan 14.7
  15. Harry Higgs 12.9
  16. Adam Svensson 12.9
  17. Beau Hossler 12.3
  18. Tony Finau 11.9
  19. Mackenzie Hughes 11
  20. Adam Long 10.8
  21. Nate Lashley 10.6

Finally, we take all of the courses listed above in the course preview that are course correlations to TPC Twin Cities plus this week's course to see which players have played well in the past and could play well this week.

Total Strokes Gained — Comp Courses (Last 36 rounds)

  1. Adam Hadwin 1.6
  2. Sungjae Im 1.6
  3. Sepp Straka 1.4
  4. Tony Finau 1.3
  5. Alex Noren 1.3
  6. Cam Davis 1.2
  7. J.T. Poston 1.2
  8. Stephan Jaeger 1.1
  9. Eric Cole 1.1 (24 rounds)
  10. Cameron Young 1.1 (24 rounds)
  11. Hideki Matsuyama 1
  12. Gary Woodland 1
  13. Taylor Pendrith 0.9
  14. Aaron Rai 0.9
  15. Keith Mitchell 0.9
  16. J.J. Spaun 0.9
  17. Ryan Gerard 0.9 (16 rounds)
  18. Ludvig Aberg 0.9 (14 rounds)

Note: The numbers indicate Total Strokes Gained Per Round on these courses.


Gary Woodland (40-1, BetMGM)

Woodland has made 11 of his last 12 cuts coming into this week.

He ranks fifth in this field for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and ninth for Strokes Gained: Approach over the last 36 rounds, plus is first for Proximity Gained 175-200 Yards.

Aaron Rai (45-1, DraftKings)

Rai is Top 10 in this field for Strokes Gained: Approach, Good Drives Gained and Driving Accuracy.

While he has two missed cuts in his last six starts, he also has a top-5, top-10 and top-12 finish in three of those starts.

Lucas Glover (52-1, Circa Sports)

Glover comes in with three consecutive top-six finishes: fourth in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, sixth in the John Deere Classic and fifth last time out in the Barbasol Championship.

He leads this field for Good Drives Gained and is third for Strokes Gained: Approach over the last 36 rounds.

Eric Cole (55-1, BetRivers)

Cole is third in this field for Birdie Or Better Gained and second for Bogey Avoidance for the last 36 rounds.

He had a week off following a trip to Scotland two weeks ago, where he was well in contention in fifth entering the final round but succumbed to a disastrous 9-over final round that sent him tumbling down the leaderboard to 60th in tough weather conditions.

Austin Eckroat (55-1, BetMGM)

Eckroat finished 10th in the U.S. Open just four starts ago; a result that was possible thanks to an excellent tee-to-green performance, in which he ranked fourth.

His two best putting performances of the season both came on Bentgrass, ranking first at the Byron Nelson and seventh at the Travelers.

Nicolai Hojgaard (60-1, Circa Sports)

Hojgaard's recent form includes 21st at the Rocket Mortgage Classic (11th going into Sunday), sixth at the Scottish Open and 23rd last week at the Open Championship, which was his best finish in a major championship to date.

He did miss a cut in the Made in Himmerland event, which twin brother Rasmus won, in his native Denmark, so he also carries that competitive motivation.

Garrick Higgo (80-1, BetMGM)

Higgo is in the midst of his best three-event stretch since winning the 2021 Palmetto Championship in just his second PGA Tour start.

He is second in this field for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee over the last 36 rounds and was second at the halfway point of the John Deere Classic three weeks ago.

Chez Reavie (110-1, PointsBet)

Reavie is fourth for Strokes Gained Approach and seventh for Bogey Avoidance over the last 36 rounds and is top 10 for Driving Accuracy this season on the PGA Tour.

He also comes in making eight consecutive cuts, including a fourth at the Travelers last month.

Matchups (41-29-7)

Beau Hossler -110 over Patrick Rodgers (BetMGM)

Gary Woodland -120 over J.J. Spaun (BetMGM)

Ludvig Aberg -115 over Cam Davis (BetOnline)

Placement markets for the 3M Open plus any wagers on the LPGA Evian Championship and Senior British Open will be available Wednesday at 

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