Scott Shapiro's 2021 3M Open Preview
The last major of the season may be complete, but there is still plenty of golf left to be played on the PGA Tour in 2021.
The final stretch of the season, before the FedEx Cup Playoffs begin in mid-August, commences with the 3M Open this week in Blaine, Minnesota.
The event has only taken place twice. Matthew Wolff bested Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa by one stroke in 2019, then Michael Thompson won it a year ago, with a score of 19-under.
Unlike many courses on tour, there does not appear to be one or two skill sets that are most likely to lead to success at TPC Twin Cities. A leaderboard led by Wolff and DeChambeau in the first event suggested that length off the tee was imperative, but that narrative was proven untrue when Thompson, Adam Long, Emiliano Grillo, and Charles Howell III topped the final standings last year.
I will focus my attention on golfers in solid form, who offer a solid bang for my buck, and are hungry for a victory.
The outright market is led by Dustin Johnson, who sits at +750. Fellow Open Championship competitors Louis Oosthuizen, Tony Finau, and Patrick Reed are the other golfers under 15-1 in the outright market.
3M Open 2021
Sun, July 25 2021, 9:00 PM
That quartet is the clear class of the field, but I do not fully trust them to be at their best, after the ups and downs of a major championship and 4,000-mile trip to Minnesota. Of the four, I prefer Reed, who did not make the cut at Royal St. George’s. However, he has not been in great form, so it would require a juicier price to attract my wagering dollars.
Maverick McNealy (+5000, top 10 +450)
The former Stanford University star has yet to win on the PGA Tour, but has been in the mix on multiple occasions in 2021, including a runner-up finish to Daniel Berger at Pebble Beach and a fourth-place effort at the RBC Heritage in April.
The 25-year-old has shown some serious upside in the early stages of his professional career. He heads to the Twin Cities with four consecutive top 30 finishes since he missed the cut at the PGA Championship and appears poised to capture his first win before too long.
McNealy rates out extremely well for the 3M Open, as he ranks seventh in the field over the last 24 rounds in birdie or better percentage, 13th in strokes gained off the tee, 21st in strokes gained tee to green, and 13th in strokes gained putting.
If he can continue to gain on the field with his irons, like he has in four of his last five events, he has a big shot to be in contention Sunday at a solid price.
Doug Ghim (+4500)
Like McNealy, the Illinois native heads to the 3M Open in search of his first victory on the PGA Tour, and I would be surprised if it did not come soon. The 25-year-old has had a breakthrough season in 2021 that includes a serious run in the Players Championship and a fifth-place finish at the American Express.
Ghim’s tee-to-green game has been incredibly strong, but the putter has consistently let him down in 2021. He ranks 10th in the field over his last 24 rounds in strokes gained approach and 11th tee to green, but he has been unable to capitalize because of the flat stick.
Expecting him to putt like Morikawa did in the U.K. a week ago is likely wishful thinking, but if Ghim can just perform at field average on the greens, he has a chance to hoist his first trophy on tour.