The 3M Open ⏤ Picks & Analysis

Fantasy Golf

Tpctwin Cities1

The PGA TOUR continues its midwestern swing with a trip up to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis for the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, MN. Matthew Wolff will be defending the title he won here last year by a shot over the PGA TOUR's new distance king in Bryson Dechambeau. Tommy Fleetwood will also be making his first post-COVID appearance on the PGA TOUR and he should be considered among the favorites teeing off this week. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are also in the field and both will join Fleetwood on the list of early tournament favorites.

Unfortunately, the quality of the field drops off pretty significantly once you get beyond the big favorites. The tournament only includes ten of the top sixty players in the Official World Golf Ranking and is missing all but three of the top twenty players in the world. In fact, the sixth-highest ranked player in the field is Bernd Weisberger (#29) who is most certainly anything but a household name here in the United States.

This nevertheless could be an advantage for the savvy fantasy player. This week will test the depth of contestant's PGA TOUR knowledge and will give a sizable advantage to the participant who can sniff out a few of the lesser-known players who end up having success at the TPC Twin Cities.

The golf course itself is an interesting one as low scores are certainly to be expected but a fair amount of trouble (in the form of water hazards) exists all across the golf course. The cut was pretty low last year (-3 in comparison to last week's +3) and the winning score shot by Wolff was a 21-under par total of 263.

Group A

Group A has an unusual look to it this week as it is devoid of some of the hallmark names that we've gotten used to in the marquee grouping. Matthew Wolff, Paul Casey and Tony Finau are three guys who would be relegated to lesser groups during a normal week on the PGA TOUR. That having been said, it doesn't mean that all three should be overlooked here. Wolff obviously won at this golf course last year and played some awfully good golf at a relatively similar Detroit Golf Club just a few weeks ago at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Paul Casey's ball striking certainly warrants some consideration as well as there are few players who are as solid tee-to-green as he is. He is inside the season-long top ten for Strokes Gained: Approach and that has historically been a great indicator of coming success at TPC Twin Cities.

However, we're going to throw a little caution to the wind when it comes to a lack of form and go with Tommy Fleetwood. His iron play and accurate driving are going to make him a favorite anywhere but his ability to use those strengths to avoid the big number should be an asset here. Rumor has it that he recently returned to Shinnecock Hills (site of his Sunday 63 en route to a 2nd place finish at the U.S. Open) and shot an awfully impressive round of 64. We're going to hope he can carry a little of that positive momentum into this week's event.

Group B

The pick among these PGA TOUR journeymen strikes us as relatively obvious. Bubba Watson might be the player whose best golf is the best among this group, but his inconsistency and often balky putter leave us too hesitant to pull the trigger on him here. We're going to go with Lucas Glover who has quietly put together quite a run since the TOUR rebooted from the COVID pause. He finished in the top 25 in all four of his first events since the return and made the cut last week at the extremely difficult Memorial Tournament. He's unlikely to miss the cut and there might be even more upside as he finished T7 here last year on the heels of a Sunday round of 62. It seems to us that you may not love him the most among these six players come the end of the week, but you aren't likely to hate him.

Group C

Completely conversely from the choice in Group B, we think this might be the most difficult group to pick from this week. These six go beyond journeymen into a range of players who have been long mainstays on the PGA TOUR but are well beyond their prime and struggling on an ongoing basis to make cuts. The key to success in picking here will likely be finding the one of the two or three players in this group who make the cut and letting your opponents lose ground thanks to an untimely MC.

For this reason, we're going to go with Luke Donald. He has made two of his four cuts since the PGA TOUR has returned from the COVID pause and (hard though this may be to believe) that is two more than the combined cuts made of all five of the other players in this group during that time. It's not a lot of hope to go on, but if you are looking to make a cut here it may well be he is the only player who can do it.

Group D

This group is an interesting mix of a few has-beens (Schwartzel, Cink, Dufner) with great resumes in years past and a few players whose place in the game remains to be seen (Armour, Frittelli, English). He is not particularly well-known, but our pick among them is going to be Harris English. He very quietly has had a couple of good weeks (17th at the RBC Heritage and 13th at last week's Memorial) and has made 12 of his 14 cuts this season. He has finished in the top twenty nine of those 12 times and sits comfortably among the top-15 players in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. You really have to feel like he is extremely unlikely to miss the cut and there might even be some upside beyond that as he's seemingly rounding into form.

Group E

This group is going to be where avid fantasy players can create some separation between themselves and the more novice player. Most of these guys are not household names and very few of them are multiple-time winners on the PGA TOUR. While the pick may not be obvious, we feel extremely strongly about Henrik Norlander. He has been quietly putting together a run of great golf over the last few weeks. He may not have made the television coverage until this weekend at the Memorial Tournament, but prior to his sixth-place finish there he had made his previous three cuts and finished in the top-12 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He put up those results on the back of first-rate ballstriking numbers and his consistency into the greens will help keep his floor high.

Group F

This group of rising star players on the PGA TOUR is another tough one to choose from. Max Homa might be one of the most accomplished of the bunch, but Sepp Straka and Luke List make pretty strong cases for selection as well. Straka finished 8th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic (a very comparable event) and then 14th at the Workday Charity Open before making the cut at the punishing Memorial Tournament at the same venue the following week. Luke List finished in the top-10 last week at Muirfield Village, but he has been an awfully inconsistent player with wild 10+ shot swings from one day to the next at times.

We think that Doc Redman is a good call in this group. He has a lot of upside and has been a consistent cut maker despite the poor two rounds that sent him packing at last week's Memorial Tournament. He finished 21st at the RBC Heritage, 11th at the Travelers Championship and 21st at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in the weeks prior to that missed cut. During that stretch of 12 rounds, he posted six rounds of 67 or better and if he can clean up the slower days he may well be a contender this week.