DraftKings PGA: 3M Open

DraftKings PGA: 3M Open

This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.

3M OPEN

Purse: $6.6M
Winner's Share: $1.188M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Blaine, Minn.
Course: TPC Twin Cities
Yardage: 7,431
Par: 71
2020 winner: Michael Thompson

Tournament Preview

It's the entire state of Minnesota, not just TPC Twin Cities, that is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes – though this week's PGA Tour stop is no slouch in the water department. There are a whopping 27 water hazards on the course, more than we can ever recall seeing on any other track, which come into play on 15 of the 18 holes. But don't let that info throw you off the, um, course: The 3M is still a pretty fair birdie-fest (with some caveats, as we'll explain in a bit).

Back for it's third go-round, the tournament debuted in 2019 with a thrilling, down-to-the-wire, three-way duel – yes, threes/3s come up a lot this week – with Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau. Wolff, you may recall, was out of college for about 14 minutes when he putted from off the green for a winning eagle on the 72nd hole to stun the other two guys by one stroke. It actually was Wolff's third pro event and he won with a score of 21-under. He and DeChambeau were among FOUR golfers to shoot 62s that week. Last year, there were significantly fewer fireworks as Michael Thompson fairwayed-and-putted his way to a 19-under total and a two-stroke win over Adam Long. There were no 62s, but Long had one of the SIX 63s on the week.

This year, the field is about what you'd expect the week after a major that was an ocean and six time zones away. Still, there are some names. Perhaps that's because the Tour is dark next week for the Olympics. The following week brings the WGC-FedEx (and the oppo-field Barracuda), which leads into the Wyndham and, boom, before you know it, the playoffs are upon us.

Dustin Johnson and snake-bit-again Louis Oosthuizen co-headline the maxed-out 156-man field. Also on hand from the top-25 in the world rankings are Patrick Reed and Tony Finau, plus top-50 guys Wolff, Stewart Cink, young Scotsman Robert MacIntyre and young Australian Lucas Herbert. Others of note are Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Cam Davis, former Minnesota Golden Gopher Erik van Rooyen and Wisconsinite Steve Stricker. Thompson is also back to defend. England's Angus Flanagan, who just left the University of Minnesota and now is on the Forme Tour (Canada) is in on a sponsor's invite, as he was last year when he missed the cut.

The PGA Tour returned to Minnesota in 2019 after a half-century absence. But there had been a lot of big-time golf there in the interim, including the Ryder Cup only five years ago at Hazeltine, which has also played host to U.S. Opens, PGA Championships, the 2019 Women's PGA Championship and nearly two decades' worth of a regular Champions Tour stop, among other majors and big events. But as for the PGA Tour, there had been nothing since the Minnesota Golf Classic in 1969. As you'll recall, Frank Beard came away with the title, ending the tournament's nearly four-decade run dating to 1930.

TPC Twin Cities opened in 2000, an Arnold Palmer design with an assist from Minnesotan Tom Lehman, who further assisted with a renovation three years ago in an effort to toughen the track for the regular Tour golfers. Lehman, now 63, received a sponsor's invite the first two years but is not in the field this time around.

The course is very long, nearly 7,500 yards as a par-71. That's much longer than it was for the Champions event, where they simply tore up the track. The winning score was often in the neighborhood of 20-under, with the 25-under record set by David Frost in 2010. And remember, those numbers were for only 54 holes, so they were some of the biggest birdie-fests you'll ever see. "We set it up as easy as you can set it up for the Champions Tour," 3M tournament founder Hollis Cavner was quoted as saying two years ago. "We wanted low scores, we wanted fireworks, and we got them. The course is much harder now. Five or six strokes harder."

The track had little defense in the first two 3M Opens against the PGA Tour pros other than its length, which, as we all know, is no real defense for today's modern bombers. There is all that water, but without significant wind it's not a huge deterrent. There are some super long holes: All three par-5s are close to 600 yards, there are two par-4s more than 500 and three of the par-3s are at least 200. That said, Wolff hits it long and Thompson hits it short and they both won.

The fairways are very wide – more than 30 yards at the 300-, 325-, and 350-yard checkpoints. That lets the golfers fire at the bigger-than-average, 6,500-square-foot bentgrass greens that will run about 12 on the Stimpmeter. Last year, TPC Twin Cities saw the sixth-most birdies on Tour last year. But, interestingly, there were also a lot of blowups. There were 124 double bogeys and 38 of the dreaded "other," tied for the second most on Tour. The biggest trouble spot on the course was the par-4, 502-yard ninth, one of the hardest holes on Tour and which accounted for nearly one-third of those "others." Two other long par-4s on the front are also formidable – the 468-yard second and the 501-yard third. All in all, the track ranked middle of the pack on the difficulty meter last year, 23rd hardest out of 41 courses.

Weather-wise, it will be steamy. Highs will be well into the 90s all four days. It has been very dry in the area for months and there's not much chance of rain this week. Winds are forecast to be light to moderate.

Key Stats to Winning at TPC Twin Cities

The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key Stats" follow in importance.

• Strokes Gained: Approach/Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee/Greens in Regulation
• Strokes Gained: Putting
• Birdie Average/Birdie-or-Better Percentage

Past Champions

2020 - Michael Thompson
2019 - Matthew Wolff

Champion's Profile

Wolff hits it very far and Thompson doesn't. Both were near the top of the field in both greens in regulation and Strokes Gained: Approach. Thompson led the field in putting but Wolff was far back. So there is clearly more than one way to win this tournament. Wolff shot 62-65 on the weekend despite ranking 39th in SG: Putting for the week, which amplifies how good his iron play was. The over/under on the winning score on golfodds.com is 263.5, which is 20.5 under par.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS

Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap

Tier 1 Values

Dustin Johnson - $11,300 (Winning odds at DraftKings Sportsbook: +700) 
Johnson came in last year as the top guy on the DraftKings board, was clearly the favorite and ... he withdrew with a back injury after shooting 7-over on Thursday, killing many lineups in the process. (he went on to record three wins and three runners-up in his next 10 starts.) This year, Johnson arrives perfectly healthy but but not as his best, golf-wise. He has been showing some signs lately – 19th at the U.S. Open, a backdoor top-10 at the Open on Sunday – and this course is absolutely perfect for his game. He's ranked 18th in birdie average, which is low for him but elite for this field.

Louis Oosthuizen - $10,900 (+1100)  
First of all, it is honorable that he's even kept his commitment, teeing it up just days after a third major heartbreak in two months. If his head is clear, the top putter on the PGA Tour this year by far playing on a wide-open birdie-fest track is a green-light special.

Patrick Reed - $10,300 (+1600)  
Surrounded by guys who can't putt, Tony Finau just above him at $10,700 and Sergio Garcia just below at $9,990, Reed gets the nod despite some obvious concerns. He has been far from his bet of late, and missed the cut at Royal St. George's. But Reed is fighting for an automatic Ryder Cup berth – the chances of being a controversial captain's pick don't appear great. He's also ranked eighth in putting, 26th in birdie average and 16th in total eagles. He tied for 23rd here in 2019 but skipped last year.

Matthew Wolff - $9,700 (+3000)  
Wolff followed up winning the inaugural 3M Open with a tie for 12th as the defending champion. Still, this pick does not come without substantial risk (heck, they all do, right?) Since looking so impressive in his T15 at the U.S. Open after a 10-week break, he's missed the cut at the Travelers, tied for 58th at the Rocket Mortgage and skipped the Open. If nothing else, he'll be fresher, physically, than all the other top guys who played Royal St. George's.

Tier 2 Values

Cam Davis - $9,200 (+4000)  
Davis hits it very far and makes a lot of birdies. So he should rack up plenty of DK points. After winning the Rocket Mortgage, Davis limped home with a tie for 55th at, of all places, the John Deere. The tournament after your maiden win is always a tough go, and just making the cut was encouraging. Davis is ranked 21st on Tour in birdie average and fourth in total eagles. He tied for 12th here last year.

Robert MacIntyre - $9,000 (+2800)  
The 24-year-old was a late and surprising entry after his top-10 at the Open qualified him for the 3M. The fact that he accepted was a bit of a surprise. But MacIntyre is on the cusp of Special Temporary Membership, so he decided to go for it. He comes stateside for big tournaments but rarely for the run-of-the-mill events such as the 3M. No matter, he should be able to lock up the STM this week.

Patton Kizzire - $8,600 (+6500)  
We're back on Kizzire again. He was T25 at the Rocket Mortgage and T11 at the John Deere. And those were with triple bogeys in each tournament. (So if you see another triple, don't be dismayed!) He's one of the best putters in the field, ranked 15th in Strokes Gained: Putting, and among the leaders in birdie average, also 15th. In other words, he's another big-time DK points guy. Kizzire made the cut in both prior 3Ms, though without a high finish.

Lucas Herbert - $8,500 (+5000)  
The Australian has curiously played a number of times in the states already this year – and done quite well. He was here for the WGC-Workday and the PGA, which is a given once you qualify. But he also played the Honda and made the cut, then notched top-20s at the Memorial and Travelers. He missed the cut at the Open, but that followed a top-5 at the Scottish Open and a win at the Irish Open.

Tier 3 Values  

Hank Lebioda - $7,900 (+5000)  
Surprise, it's still Hank Lebioda chalk week! And why not, after a third straight top-10 at the John Deere. That's seven straight made cut for the Hankster, who has climbed from nearly 400th in the world rankings to 163rd. Lebioda is ranked top-25 on Tour in both greens in regulation and Strokes Gained: Putting, which is a pretty good combination for a professional golfer to have. He's played the first two 3Ms, made both cuts and just missed a top-25 last year.

Mito Pereira - $7,600 (+7000)  
Pereira has made three starts since his battlefield promotion from the Korn Ferry Tour and has improved each time: missed cut at the Rocket Mortgage, T34 at the John Deere, T5 at last week's opposite-field Barbasol event. He ranked fourth in the Barbasol field in SG: Tee-to-Green and tied for first in total birdies with 25.

Chez Reavie - $7,400 (+6500)
Ever since being co-medalist while qualifying for the U.S. Open, Reavie has been revitalized. He's made five of six cuts with three top-25s, plus he made the cut last week at the Open. He's now inside the top-125, at 119th, which just a few events left to qualify for the playoffs. This will be Reavie's first trip to TPC Twin Cities.

Brandon Hagy - $7,200 (+13000)  
Hagy has had some good weeks this season, none better than his runner-up at the Honda. But he also recently tied for sixth at the Rocket Mortgage and for 18th at the Deere. He's always been a big hitter, but his game has been improved across the board his past two starts. Hagy made the 3M cut last year.

Long-Shot Values  

Roger Sloan - $6,900 (+18000)  
Sloan is a native of Calgary. That's near Minnesota, right? He has made six of his past seven cuts and is ranked 75th in birdie average. He's also ranked 30th on Tour in greens in regulation. Sloan missed the cut last year but tied for 15th in 2019.

Will Gordon - $6,700 (+20000)  
Gordon always gets his money's worth off the tee – he's ranked fifth in driving distance at 314.8 yards. But he's also 52nd in greens in regulation and 39th in birdie or better percentage. Gordon has made three of his past five cuts but had a bad miss last week at the Barbasol.

K.H. Lee - $6,600 (+20000)  
Lee has missed three of five cuts since his breakthrough win at the Byron Nelson. But that's a little misleading – two of the three were majors. Lee missed the 3M cut in 2019 but made it a year ago. He's ranked inside the top-100 in SG: Tee-to-Green, which should be good enough to get him to the weekend.

Satoshi Kodaira - $6,500 (+15000)  
Kodaira has come on of late, making a late run to crack the top-125. He's at 149th after making five of his past seven cuts with four top-20s. He made the 3M cut in 2019 but skipped the event last year.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Len Hochberg plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DK: Bunker Mentality.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years. He was named 2020 "DFS Writer of the Year" by the FSWA and was nominated for the same award in 2019.
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