PGA Core Plays
By Derrek Hill
PGA Core Plays – 3M Open
What a wild week at the Memorial! It definitely was not short on entertainment. We saw DeChambeau take himself right out of contention and out of the weekend by recklessly blasting 3-wood after 3-wood from the rough, over the fence, and out of bounds. We saw Phil going completely rogue and putting from almost 80-yards out and just setting his tumbler down next to him on the green while putting. We got a microscopic view of Rahms ball in the rough which moved a fraction of a millimeter before being chipped in to lock down the victory, only to be penalized later. All of it produced some great golf.
I don’t know about you, but I love the style of golf we saw at Muirfield Village. Bad golf shots were severely penalized while good golf shots were generally still rewarded. The leaders were able to keep it under par, while guys who were off their game really struggled. I think that setup really helps weed out the week and allows the best golfer to come out on top. Rahm definitely was the best player this week. He really maintained his composure and remained patient, taking advantage of his opportunities while avoiding mistakes.
Most importantly, when evaluating the DFS opportunities, it was a bit of an unexpected result. Some big names completely tanked (DJ.) Some guys started too far back on day one which negated their great play the rest of the week (Schauffele, JT.) Let’s take a look at what all this means for this week.
We’re heading to the Midwest this week for the 3M Open. Just to refresh your memory, TPC Twin Cities has hosted Champions Tour events yearly for some time now, but just last year held its inaugural PGA Tour event. Matthew Wolff won his first tour event in just his third tour start.
The field is much weaker this week when compared to the other events since the restart. There are few big names in the field, and some of those big names are far from their best form.
There will be limited top-end and middle-tier guys to choose from this week. This means a few different things in regard to DFS. Choosing a top-end guy who has a lower ownership % will help you against the competition. I would pick a top-end player, load up on the mid-tier guys and sift through the value-plays to find those sure to make the cut. Hitting the right ones will probably predict if you get paid or not.
Before making those picks, let me give you a little overview of the course this week. TPC Twin Cities is a 7,431 par 71 course. It has some really long par 5s (all 3 of them are over 590 yards,) some long par 4s mixed in with some driveable par 4s for long hitters. The fairways are lined with trees and expected to have long primary rough. Those trees and rough were not enough to prevent some really low scores last year. I would expect a lot of birdies to be made again this year.
Driving distance will allow longer hitters the chance at birdie and eagle that other players may not get on certain holes this week. However, I think the 2 statistics to look at this week will be par-5 scoring, Proximity, SG:Putting due to the fact that these greens are huge and will likely be running around 13 on the Stimpmeter.
Tony Finau: Finau came into the Memorial on a “quiet” hot streak. He had been playing better and then as was mentioned several times on the broadcast, he shot an incredible course record 59 at Victory Ranch in very windy conditions. He continued that hot streak into the Memorial where he had a 3-stroke lead halfway through the second round. His fall from the top was in the spotlight which made his stumble seem worse. In reality, almost everyone struggled at Muirfield. If he had started out poorly and finished strong, he would be the obvious pick. This may be your chance to get him at lower ownership.
Dustin Johnson: Another instance where people might shy away due to his 80, 80 missed cut at The Memorial. The reality is that he has a short memory and could easily come back and win this week. He has the distance to shorten the course this week and can make birdies in bunches.
Top-End Maybe: Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood
Harris English: 9 top 20s this season including T13 at the Memorial. Really good all around game including 30th in SG:Putting. One of the big reasons I love him this week is his ownership percentage will likely be lower than guys in his price range like Wolff.
Matthew Wolff: Obviously Wolff is the defending champion of the 3M Open. He also is coming off of a T22 finish at the Memorial. The course sets up pretty well for him which means we could see repeated success here. 7th in driving distance and above average in every other relevant statistic this week (GIR, Proximity, Putting.)
Erik Van Rooyen: Not many players could claim Minnesota as “home field advantage.” Van Rooyen played collegiate golf at the University of Minnesota. Has family there which makes it an easy travel site. T22 last week.
Sam Burns: T7 last year. 10th in driving distance, 27th in SG:Putting, 23rd in par 5 scoring. His game projects well here. 3 consecutive top 30 finishes.
Patrick Rodgers: Top 20 finishes at the Charles Schwab and The Memorial which were both really strong fields. Large, fast Bentgrass greens at TPC Twin Cities will play to his advantage since he is one of the best putters on tour. Not a one-trick pony as he is 17th on tour in driving distance and 45th in par 5 scoring average.
Lucas Glover: T7 here last year. Shares course record 62 which he shot last year. 5-5 with 4 top 25s since the restart.
Mid-Tier Maybe: Luke List, Charley Hoffman, Carlos Ortiz, Alex Noren
Value Play Love
Keith Mitchell: Mitchell made his first cut last week since missing the previous three. Not only that, but he finished T22 in a loaded field on a brutal course. He gained strokes on the field in all 4 SG categories last week. He is one of the few value play guys who has a chance to win.
Value Play Like
Johnson Wagner: Here is a guy who, even as a value play, could slip under the radar. He finished 23rd last year. He has a smaller sample size, but ranks 1st in proximity to the hole on tour.
Wyndham Clark: T5 last year, T12 in par 5 scoring average. Good putter, ranking 24th in SG: Putting
Value Play Maybe: Hudson Swafford, Adam Schenk, Xinjung Zhang