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22nd – 25th July 3M Open
Collin Morikawa’s sensational Open Championship rounded off a stellar year in Major Championship golf whereas Louis Oosthuizen will be feeling decimated after blowing his 3rd consecutive Major opportunity this year.
The tour now shifts focus to the final stretch of this season’s FedEx Cup race. There is now – unbelievably – less than a month till the start of the Northern Trust Open. Only the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings will qualify for the first leg of the playoffs.
Many of the golfing elite will be taking a break this week in the wake of the Open Championship. This will allow fringe players the chance to pick up valuable points in their quest to join the ultra-lucrative FedEx Cup jamboree.
The tour moves to Fargo country this week, returning to Minnesota for the 3rd renewal of the 3M Open.
TPC Three Cities is an Arnold Palmer design that opened in 2000. It hosted the 3M Championship on the Champions Tour prior to the inaugural edition of this event. A little look at some of those Champions Tour scores will tell you all you need to know about this test. David Frost won the 2010 3M Championship with a winning score of 25-under-par. In three rounds! Minnesota-native Tom Lehman was drafted in to beef up TPC Three Cities ahead of its 2019 PGA Tour debut. It never helped too much, with Matthew Wolff winning in 21-under-par. Further attempts were made last year, but Michael Thompson still won in 19-under-par.
The truth is this: TPC Three Cities is a relatively flat parkland layout with gettable bentgrass greens. No amount of tinkering is going to change that. The pros will find a way to score here. Look for players with strong approach play who are able to give themselves the most chances for birdies. Length, while always a plus, isn’t as important as iron-play this week.
Dustin Johnson leads the markets after a frustrating weekend at Royal St George’s. He simply isn’t making enough putts at present. But this week could represent a great opportunity for him to get back to winning ways.
Robert Macintyre will be looking to secure special temporary PGA Tour status with a strong finish this week.
Patrick Reed will be looking to bounce back from a missed cut at Royal St Georges.
Conversely, Tony Finau will aim to keep up the momentum following his impressive Open Championship showing last week.
2020: Michael Thompson (-19)
2019: Matthew Wolff (-21)
Dustin Johnson – 13/2
Louis Oosthuizen – 13/1
Tony Finau – 13/1
Patrick Reed – 18/1
Matthew Wolff – 25/1
To Win – 28/1
Bubba Watson seems to be turning it around with some strong performances of late.
The proven winner went into the final round of the Travellers Championship with a real chance of victory. Bubba went the other way that Sunday, collecting a glut of bogeys that put him out of contention. Still, he had a chance going into that final round.
He followed that up by finishing in a tie for 6th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. His approach play was exceptional that week while he also showed his class on bentgrass greens.
Watson should be well-rested after having taken last week off.
To Win – 50/1
Considering his recent form on simple tracks with bentgrass greens, Luke List has got to be a real contender this week.
While the entire golfing world was focused on the drama on the links, List finished just two shots short of entering a playoff at the Barbasol Championship. He finished in 5th place, following up a 4th place finish at the John Deere Classic.
This is just the sort of play that appeals to me this week.
List won’t have to worry about the lingering effects of a post-Open trip across the Atlantic.
Furthermore, he seems to be zoned in on these layouts at present. I expect him to surprise a few this week.
To Win – 25/1
Matthew Wolff looks the best value towards the upper tier of the betting pyramid. He won this event in 2019 and finished in a tie for 12th last year.
Wolff has been open about his mental health issues, revealing that he basically lost his love of the game over the past few years. That’s pretty amazing for a 22-year-old to openly admit.
Much like Naomi Osaka, he has helped to bring attention to the mental health issues that can plague young athletes.
But he put in a strong showing at the US Open, ultimately settling for a share of 15th place.
His surprising withdrawal from the Open Championship does ring a few alarm bells (especially seeing that he didn’t provide a reason).
I’m hoping that we will see the best from Wolff this week, as he returns to a course and tournament where he is extremely comfortable.
He is the one to beat for us.
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