PGA Tour: 3M Open Expert Outright Picks
PGA TOUR: 3M OPEN EXPERT OUTRIGHT PICKS – Over here at Clubhouse Picks, we can’t seem to find a winner as our dismal betting season winds down to a close. The 3M Open is the penultimate event of the PGA Tour regular season, with the FedEx Cup Playoffs starting in two weeks.
This field is a little stronger — at least in terms of household names — than is typical of this event. Tony Finau is always solid here, but Justin Thomas and Hideki are interesting names to pop up in the field for this tournament. Both are looking to secure enough points to make a deep run in the playoff. Or, in JT’s case, just make it to the playoff.
With winners like Matthew Wolff, Cameron Champ, and Tony Finau, it would be easy to think that TPC Twin Cities is a bombers’ paradise. I’m more inclined to believe that accuracy trumps distance at this event with 27 water hazards coming into play on 15 holes — many of them off the tee. The tops of the leaderboards, aside from the winners, tended to be steady ball striking guys.
For the purposes of handicapping. I’ve drawn from two different types of players: Bombers who can overpower this short par-71 if they can stay out of trouble, and fairway-finding machines who will give themselves plenty of looks at birdie by virtue of keeping the ball in the short stuff (and on dry land).
Both of our picks are included at the top, with one of them singled out, as usual. It follows the format of the podcast, Clubhouse Picks. If you want deeper analysis on a player that I don’t cover, be sure to give the podcast a listen or view on Spotify or YouTube.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, July 26, 2023
The Driver (Sepp Straka, Hideki Matsuyama)
These are the guys who are at the top of the leaderboard, usually at +2000 or better. They are the favorites for a reason, and though we don’t always bet them, these are our favorite bets from the top of the board.
Sepp Straka (+2200)
Jack and I are in lock-step with this pick. We both had him targeted as one of our favorite players towards the top of the odds board. He’s almost certainly coming into this tournament as the hottest player in the field. The only other player who could make a case for the distinction is PGA Tour non-winner, Cameron Young.
The man is coming off a win two weeks ago at the John Deere Classic, and followed that up with a T2 at the Open Championship. That’s some really strong golf. Straka excels in all the categories you’d look for in this tournament. He’s extremely accurate off the tee, a great approach player, and a good enough putter.
The typical concerns with Sepp are that he’s average in length off the tee, and his short game isn’t very good. Short game shouldn’t factor much here with massive green complexes that make it easy for strong iron players to find the putting surface. Likewise, this isn’t a very long course, so it’s definitely gettable for a player of his length off the tee.
The Irons (Aaron Rai, Sepp Straka)
Our reliable players. You can usually find these heroes in the 20/1-80/1 range. They’re reliable and often a good bet for top-5, top-10, or top-20 props if you’re not feeling especially frisky.
Aaron Rai (+4500)
If you need accuracy off the tee, you turn to Short Course God, Aaron Rai. He’s coming into this event in great form. Since heading north of the border for the RBC Canadian Open, he’s cashed in 3 out of 4 tournaments, and bagged two top-10 finishes.
Not every course is going to set up for Aaron Rai and his unique skillset (5th in driving accuracy, 146th in distance), but this course should be just fine. TPC Twin Cities is sort of a funky course in that the par-3s and par-5s play relatively difficult. Players are going to be forced to score well on the par-4s if they want to go low. You could do worse than a guy who is T8 in par-4 scoring average on Tour.
What we really need is for the putter to just heat up a little bit so that he can convert some of the many opportunities that should be presented if he keeps up this level of ballstriking.
The Wedges (Nicolai Hojgaard, Adam Hadwin)
We bet on these guys all the time and they never seem to actually win. Nevertheless, we’re enamored with what they bring to the table and will ride with them for as long as it takes.
Adam Hadwin (+3500)
This is a smart pick from Jack. Adam Hadwin has been doing a lot of things well since getting demolished by a security guard at the RBC Canadian Open. He finished 12th in the RBC, and then went to a playoff in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
He’s been avoiding bogeys better than almost everyone in the field lately. His putting and iron game have also been incredibly sharp.
I should also mention that in three trips to the 3M Open, he’s notched a T4 and T6. It’s clear he likes this course and it’s clear his game is in really good shape right now.
If he wins, it won’t be surprising to many avid golf viewers.
The Putter (Ryan Fox, Tom Hoge)
Bet regret. We fired off these bets in the heat of the moment, then we pondered them a little while longer. Now we’re wondering if that money would’ve been better spent on literally anything else.
Tom Hoge (+9000)
Hoge is +9000 here for a reason. It might be enticing to bet on the the best iron player in this field (5th overall in SG: Approach).
The issues for him at TPC Twin Cities will be off the tee. With water in play on so many holes, it’s going to create a lot of pressure for him to drive it accurately. He loses strokes at an alarming rate with the driver because he’s a dreaded combo of short and crooked off the tee.
His putting is typically just average, but it’s been terrible in his most recent events. He’s missed the cut in 3 out of his last 5 tournaments, with a T19 and T60 sprinkled in. In short, he has sucked lately.
It’s easy to fall in love with his iron game, but he’s not in a position to compete unless he suddenly stops hemorrhaging strokes with his driver and flatstick.
The Hybrid (Garrick Higgo, Kevin Yu)
This is our fun long shot that could make us all rich. Or not. It’s tough to hit these, but it’s a damn good time sweating them if they’re in contention. Tread lightly on these guys, but sometimes miracles happen.
Garrick Higgo (+6000)
Higgo is all over a lot of people’s betting cards in the golf social media universe. The result is that his odds have plummeted. Among the earliest books to post odds, he was as high as +10000. By the time everyone opened with odds, he was around +8000. Now he’s holding steady at +6000.
He’s a trendy pick for good reason. He’s gained strokes off the tee in every event he’s played except one since mid-April. He’s also notched a handful of solid finishes, most recently a T21 at the John Deere and T19 at the Scottish Open.
His iron game has been clicking recently and the putter has been cooperating, as well.
He’s currently playing at an elite level off the tee. If the rest of his game continues to catch up, he can go low really quickly. He’s worth a flyer at this price against this field.