PickGuru Golf: 3M Open

PickGuru Golf: 3M Open

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PickGuru Golf: 3M Open

The PGA Tour heads up to Minnesota for the first and only time this year, as TPC Twin Cities hosts the fourth annual 3M Open. The par-71 Arnold Palmer track tips at 7,431 yards and features three par-5s at approximately 600 yards. Three of the course's four par-3s will play beyond 200 yards as well. The course was originally home to the 3M Championship on the PGA Tour Champions from 2001-2017 and underwent a significant renovation in 2018 to lengthen several holes and expand penalty areas.

Profiling the Winner

TPC Twin Cities will be one of the longer courses players will see this year, and longer hitters have historically performed well at the event. Cameron Champ, who consistently sits near the top of the Tour in driving distance, claimed last year's title by two strokes over Louis Oosthuizen with a four-day total of 15-under par. Matthew Wolff, also one of the Tour's lengthier hitters, won the event in 2019 by one stroke over Bryson DeChambeau with a four-day total of 20-under par. As we have grown accustomed to seeing at TPC layouts, the expanded penalty areas pose a significant threat on many tee shots and approaches, so this layout will reward strong all-around ball strikers that are able to best control their misses.

The weather conditions in Minneapolis call for a mixture of sun and rain. Barring anything unexpected, the course should play relatively similar to past years and yield similar scores. Considering the time zone and travel implications of last week's Open Championship in Scotland, a number of highly-ranked names are not in the field at this year's tournament. Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama, and Sungjae Im represent a few notables in this year's field, and all three finished top-20 in this event at some point in recent years.

Category Picks

Premium Picks

Players Included: Tony Finau, Adam Hadwin, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Davis Riley

Guru Verdict: Matsuyama certainly has the right style of game for this particular layout: long and accurate. He finished 7th at this event the last time he played in Minneapolis and will be looking to improve on that result this week. The 30-year-old from Japan shot himself out of contention at St Andrews with a third-round 76, but he could be more comfortable stateside, where he has notched four top-10 finishes since the calendar flipped to 2022. Look for the former Masters champ to take advantage of a weaker field and bounce back.

Front-Runners

Players Included: Sahith Theegala, Maverick McNealy, Cam Davis, Mark Hubbard, Cameron Tringale

Guru Verdict: Theegala had a strong showing at St Andrews and continues to stack impressive finishes. He carded a four-day total of 7-under par in Scotland, which was good enough for T34. The 24-year-old is only a few weeks removed from a heartbreaking runner-up at the Travelers Championship, but if he maintains his current form, a trip to the winner's circle is only a matter of time. While much of the Tour spent the past few weeks overseas, Hubbard has quietly played very well on US soil and will look to keep the momentum going.

Good Chances

Players Included: Brendon Todd, Chez Reavie, Charles Howell III, Adam Long, Brendan Steele

Guru Verdict: Long has a strong track record at TPC Twin Cities, finishing solo second in 2020 and T25 in 2021. He has played well of late, finishing T21-T25-T13 in his last three PGA Tour starts. The 34-year-old should be able to capitalize on a longer course that fits his game and will aim to continue improving upon his recent results. Reavie is coming off an impressive victory but will be at a disadvantage as one of the shorter hitters in the field.

Challengers

Players Included: Adam Svensson, J.T. Poston, Ryan Palmer, Martin Laird, Nick Hardy

Guru Verdict: Speaking of players trending in the right direction, Svensson has some momentum and could make some noise in Minneapolis. His past six starts certainly demonstrate that the 28-year-old Canadian has found a groove, as he posted finishes of T69-T40-T45-T21-T25-6. Svensson was in contention each of the past three weeks but faltered down the stretch with three consecutive final-round 71s. Perhaps he can learn from these experiences and find his nerves down the stretch this weekend. Poston and Hardy also have been playing extremely well of late and have games that fit this layout.

Contenders

Players Included: Chris Gotterup, Rickie Fowler, Wyndham Clark, Jason Day, Dylan Frittelli

Guru Verdict: Gotterup fits the mold of past winners at TPC Twin Cities: long hitter, recent national college success, and strong finishes in early career PGA Tour events. He finished T4 a few weeks ago at the John Deere Classic, and the course layout this week shouldn't be all too dissimilar. If he can stay hot with his driver he may contend late into the weekend. Fowler has been playing better of late and will hope Minnesota is the site of an overdue win.

Outsiders

Players Included: Lanto Griffin, Matthew NeSmith, Cameron Champ, Emiliano Grillo, C.T. Pan

Guru Verdict: NeSmith missed his first cut in over three months a couple weeks ago at the Genesis Scottish Open, which means the 28-year-old has had the opportunity to rest and practice prior to this week's event. Prior to the Scottish Open, Nesmith was quietly playing some of the most consistent golf on Tour. Provided he is able to reset from his brief foray into links golf and get comfortable on the Minnesota soil, another four steady rounds should be enough to climb the leaderboard into Sunday. Although the defending champion, Champ, hasn't been playing well, he will be looking to get back on track at the very place he broke through last year.

Long Shots

Players Included: Erik van Rooyen, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, Matthias Schwab, Troy Merritt

Guru Verdict: None of the players in this group have played particularly well of late, but Merritt has the right combination of distance, accuracy, and experience to finish well in Minnesota. The 13-year Tour veteran finished T39 at this event last year and most recently finished T30 at the Genesis Scottish Open. A top-20 this week wouldn't be surprising for Merritt. At age 49, Cink still has the length to contend on a longer course like TPC Twin Cities.

Wild Cards

Players Included: Nick Taylor, Austin Smotherman, Doug Ghim, Greyson Sigg, Michael Thompson

Guru Verdict: If we only look at this season's results, Thompson doesn't really jump off the page, as he missed seven cuts in his past 15 starts. However, he won this event in 2020 and is certainly capable of putting together another quality showing. He's coming off a T9 at the Barracuda Championship, so he has a bit of momentum heading to Minneapolis. Ghim is another younger player who could make some waves in a relatively open field.   

Joe's Selections

Premium Picks: Hideki Matsuyama
Front-Runners: Sahith Theegala
Good Chances: Adam Long
Challengers: Adam Svensson
Contenders: Chris Gotterup
Outsiders: Matthew NeSmith
Long Shots: Troy Merritt
Wild Cards: Michael Thompson

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joseph Szmadzinski
Joseph Szmadzinski is a golf and soccer contributor. He played golf at Bucknell University (2013). When not at the office, he enjoys spending time on the golf course, playing tennis and watching whatever games are on.
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