2019 3M Open Preview, Betting Odds, and Prediction
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
Once again the PGA heads into uncharted territory with the changes made to this year's schedule with the second inaugural event in a row. And, once again a relatively light field has a predictable name, Brooks Koepka this week, at the top of the favorites list. Koepka comes in as the outright favorite at +650 with Hideki Matsuyama trailing him at +1000.
There are plenty of other top-ranked players in 156 player field but it’s an amazingly similar to last week’s Classic where Nate Lashley, a relatively unknown player who started last weekend at the final moment as an alternate. The former player turned REALTOR, lost both parents and a sibling a few years back and stepped away from the game. It’s safe to say he’s back as last weeks TOUR win locks him in for several years and tee times at the Masters.
Here are the top-six players to win the 3M Open outright according to Intertops complete with odds and rank on the current Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) list. You’ll note that the 3M Open has four of top-25 ranked players in the top-five favorites list.
No Stats to Compare from TPC Twin Cities
The Fourth of July week is now the date for the inaugural playing of the 3M Open. The event takes place at TPC Twin Cities which is located North of Minneapolis in Blaine, Minnesota. If the course sounds familiar it’s because it’s an Arnold Palmer designed a facility that hosted the PGA Champions Tour, formerly Senior PGA, event since the mid-1990s.
But, it’s the first time a regularly scheduled PGA Tour event has taken place there. With no historical data to cover it probably a good idea to look at what happened last week along with a bit of information about the course.
As mentioned above, Nate Lashley, went from alternate to the top of the leader board and dominated the field by six strokes earning his first win. While the chance of an alternate repeating that feat at the second inaugural event in a row is slim, the door is once again open for a PGA journeyman to capture a win.
Much of the top-25 ranked OWGR players are taking a break but there are plenty of top-15 through top-30 names lurking. Luke List and Charles Howell III come to mind. And, famed players that have hit a slight drought could come storming back. Think Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, or Tony Finau.
Now factor in the course. TPC Twin Cities has been expanded to add distance for the pro tour but the greens and landing areas are very playable. After all, it’s been polished for the PGA Champions Tour which is not known for beating players down. The one obvious factor that may come into play is water as more than half of the holes feature water hazards. Courses such as TPC Sawgrass and Nine Bridges could offer some insight as far as similar layout and play.
Predicting the 3M Open
It’s an open book! Excuse the 3M Open pun. But it’s true. This is a new course on the schedule with only a few practice rounds available to see how golfers approach the opening round on Thursday. Any data collected at the beginning of the week would probably be useful when making picks so be ready to do some homework on the PGA website.
Koepka is the obvious favorite but he seemed a bit inaccurate the last few rounds. If he settles in with his driver and long irons he will be hard to beat. His key to success is ball placement after finding the landing area. The yardage has lengthened, but Koepka can overcome that quick with a solid opening two days. If he gets out front it will be hard to track him down.
Patrick Reed has seen an uptick in play and last week in Detroit at the Classic he finished T5 after banging around the links hovering around 70 each day. It was not the most picturesque play Reed has offered up as a pro but it does show that he’s continuing to work on his game and will eventually break his winless streak. Reed’s key to success is keeping emotions in check if errant shots find water.
Finally, it’s hard to pass over the effort and amazing week Nate Lashley had last week. Maybe stepping away from the game helped more than anyone realized. Actually, people have noticed! Oddsmakers at Intertops have him in the running at +6000 with a group of serious players and if you put numbers in front of the names that places him inside the top-25 players favored to win out of a field of 156.
He’s also jumped up the OWGR list following his impressive win. Entering the 2019 season he was ranked No. 477 in the world. Last week he started Thursday play ranked No. 353 and this week he’s ranked as the No. 101 best player in the world.