Horses for Courses: 3M Open

TPC Twin Cities hosts for only the third time but we’ll find some clues on who runs well here.

Michael Thompson won by two shots last year and is back to defend while 2019 champ Matthew Wolff is also in the field.

The annual summer tour through the Midwest returns to Blaine, Minnesota, for the third consecutive season at TPC Twin Cities.

From Detroit to the Quad Cities back to Kentucky and now Minnesota, the last four TOUR events have required one thing in common: Make a bushel full of birdies. The warm weather and humidity makes it easy to stay loose yet the dwindling amount of events on the TOUR calendar ratchets up the pressure for those on the bubbles. After the Olympics there are two events to get right, Barracuda and Wyndham. I left out the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational because if you’re qualified for that, you’re already good.

RELATED: Expert Picks

The fourth consecutive week of bentgrass, bluegrass and birdies should have everyone as dialed in as they can be. July is for fireworks and it’s time to light plenty more off this week as TPC Twin Cities led the Champions Tour is birdies allowed for seven straight seasons and has ranked No. 1 in 2019 and No. 6 in 2020 in the first two events on TOUR.

I’ve included the birdie leaders from the last three weeks (The Open not included) below so you’re familiar with who has been sizzling like the weather. And since this is Horses for Courses, I’ll also include the players who have made the cut in both editions as well.

The average winning score on the Par-71 (7,431 yards) is 20-under from the previous two events so birdies and eagles are the order of the day. To contend in a shootout the formula remains the same, GIR and holing putts for birdie/eagle. 28 acres of fairway will provide ample space to get the ball in play. Bentgrass greens running at 12 feet provide 6,500 square feet of putting surface to aim for. Water is in play on 15 holes but there hasn’t been any water on the course outside of the sprinklers. Mother Nature has only dropped an inch of rain since May so firm and fast might just be that. Shrinking the fairways could bring three inches of Bluegrass/Fescue into play but with greens that size it shouldn’t be a problem for these guys. They are quite good.

The field of 156 is playing for a prize pool of $6.6 million ($1.188 first place, 500 FedExCup points). The top 65 and ties make the cut as Michael Thompson defends the title.

Recent Event Winner Stats

 Michael ThompsonMatthew Wolff
To Par19-under21-under
Disantance – All Drives545
Driving AccuarcyT22T31
Putting: Birdie or Better %293
SG: Off-the-Tee5121
SG: Approach-the-Green42
SG: Around-the-Green5318
SG: Putting139
SG: Tee-to-Green171
Bogey AvoidanceT1T25
Par-3 ScoringT23T32
Par-4 ScoringT1T1
Par-5 ScoringT17T11

Recent Winners

2020 – Michael Thompson (-19, 265)

Won by two shots to pick up his second TOUR win in his 228th start. … 35 years old. … Co-led after 36 (-12) and 54 (-15) before closing with 67. … Opened with 64, one back. … Career low total on TOUR. … Led the field in Strokes-Gained: Putting, second in scrambling and third in GIR. … Only circled 22 birdies, but that means he only squared three bogeys (T1). … MDF here 2019. … Entered the week cashing three of five after the restart with one top 10. … Previous win in 2016 at The Honda Classic.

Notables in the field this week:

Adam Long (2nd) closed 63-64 but 72 in Round 2 set the bar too high. … Tony Finau (T3) sat one off the lead after 36 and two after 54. … Emiliano Grillo (T3) circled 24 birdies (T2) for the week. … Charles Howell III (T3), like Grillo, opened with 71 and played his final 54 holes 16-under. … Charl Schwartzel (T3) was T3 Putts per GIR. … Robby Shelton (T3) closed with 64 to secure his best TOUR finish to date. … Cameron Tringale (T3) closed 66-63 to better his T42 from 2019. … Richy Werenski (T3) led after 18 (63) and co-led after 36 and 54. … 2019 champ Matthew Wolff (T12) returns again this year. … Low round of the week (63) was also matched by Bo Hoag (T12) and Sepp Straka (T18) on Sunday. … Dylan Frittelli (T18) led the field with 25 birdies. … Werenski was the only player in the top 27 to post a round of 70 or worse in Round 4. … Top 40 players were 10-under or better. … 25 bogey-free rounds. … Weekend rounds played 2 strokes below par. … Scoring average was 69.48. … Cut was 2-under.

2019 – Matthew Wolff (21-under, 263)

Made eagle from off the green at the final hole to defeat Collin Morikawa (not entered) and Bryson DeChambeau (not entered) by a shot. … First TOUR victory in his third start as a professional and just fourth overall. … Played the weekend 62 (T-low round of the week) and 65. … Led the field in Par-Breakers with 26 birdies and one eagle. … Sponsor’s invite becomes first 20 year old to win since Jordan Spieth in 2013. … Also won the NCAA individual crown earlier that summer. … Shared the 54 hole lead on 15-under. … Sat T49 (-2) after 18 and T35 (-6) after 36. … Rolled into town off MC and T80 in his previous two starts.

Notables in the field this week:

Adam Hadwin (4th) co-led the field with 26 birdies. … Wyndham Clark (T5) only squared four bogeys for the week. … Troy Merritt (T7) needed just 107 putts (T1). … Scott Piercy (T15) opened with the co-low round of the week, 62, to lead after 18 holes. … Charles Howell III (T23) co-led the field with three bogeys for the week. … Of the top 12 players, six posted 64 or better. … Top 52 players were 10-under or better. … 44 bogey-free rounds. … Played easier every day. … 69.445 average. … First TOUR event in Minnesota since 1969.

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

Strokes Gained: Approach
4Keegan Bradley
9Matthew NeSmith
12Emiliano Grillo
16Doug Ghim
21Stewart Cink
22Cam Percy
23Chez Reavie
24Kyle Stanley
28Russell Knox
29Tony Finau
32Scott Stallings
34Matthew Wolff
37Tom Hoge
38Lanto Griffin
40Dustin Johnson
42Patrick Reed
44Cameron Trigale
45Hank Lebioda
49Louis Oosthuizen
50Chris Kirk
Putting: Birdie-or-Better %
4Patrick Reed
7Cam Davis
16Harry Higgs
19Patton Kizzire
20Dustin Johnson
26Peter Malnati
27Matthew Wolff
29Tom Hoge
33Rafael Campos
38Cameron Tringale
40Luke List
41JT Poston
43Ted Potter, JR
44Will Gordon
47Joel Dahmen
48Sepp Straka
50Maverick McNealy
Par-4 Scoring
1Emiliano Grillo
2James Hahn
5Chris Kirk
9Doug Ghim
9Charles Howell III
15Ryan Armour
15Cameron Tringale
15Patrick Reed
15Austin Cook
15Patton Kizzire
15Louis Oosthuizen
26Josh Teater
26Kyle Stanley
26Chase Seiffert
26Roger Sloan
26Dustin Johnson
26Hank Lebioda
26Brice Garnett
41Lucas Glover
41Aaron Baddeley
41David Hearn
41Vince Whaley
41Chris Baker
41Jhonattan Vegas
41Cam Davis
41Maverick McNealy
41Brian Stuard
Rocket Mortgage ClassicPar Breakers (entered this week)
Bubba Watson24
Cam Davis24
Troy Merritt24
Mark Anderson 23
John Deere ClassicPar Breakers (entered this week)
Will Gordon24
Adam Schenk24
Hank Lebioda23
Ryan Moore22
Patton Kizzire22
Luke List22
Scott Brown22
Barbasol ChampionshipPar Breakers (entered this week)
Patrick Rodgers26
Joseph Bramlett25
Mito Pereira25
Josh Teater24
JT Poston24

Horses for Courses

Top golfers over the two editions of the 3M Open entered this week and other exceptions.

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10s Top 25Most RecentRecent Others/Notes
Michael Thompson (2/2)11Win (2020)MDF 2019; 68 or better in all 4 rounds last year
Adam Long (1/2)112nd (2020)MC 2019
Tony Finau (2/2)12T3 (2020)T23; 29-under includes 5 rounds of 67 or better
Charles Howell III (2/2)12T3 (2020)T23; 29-under includes 5 rounds of 67 or better
Cameron Tringale (2/2)11T3 (2020)T42; closed 63-66 last year
Richy Werenski (2/2)11T3 (2020)T46
Robby Shelton (1/1)11T3 (2020)First appearance
Emiliano Grillo (1/1)11T3 (2020)First appearance
Charl Schwartzel (1/1)11T3 (2020)First appearance
Matthew Wolff (2/2)12Win (2019)T12 2020; All 8 rounds are in the red (35-under)
Adam Hadwin (1/1)114th (2019)DNS 2020
Wyndham Clark (1/2)11T5 (2019)MC 2020
Troy Merritt (1/2)11T7 (2019)MC 2020
Cut Makers (not listed above; alphabetical order)20192020  
Bronson BurgoonT41T34  
Jason DufnerT32T66  
Matt Every68thT79  
Dylan FrittelliT18T46  
Brice GarnettT26T23  
Bill HaasT58T74  
Tom HogeT46T23  
Patton KizzireT46T34  
Hank LebiodaT26T34  
Denny McCarthyT32T23  
Pat PerezT23T53  
Scott StallingsT62T74  

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