For the second week in a row, we have an inaugural event on the PGA Tour.
Following last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club, the Tour is in Blaine, Minn., this week for the all-new 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities.
World No. 1 Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson headline a field that also includes three other members of the winning 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team at nearby Hazeltine in Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed and Ryan Moore.
Stretching out to just shy of 7,500 yards, TPC Twin Cities is a long track that should favor the bigger hitters. So, which players should you be keeping a close eye on? Our caddies on the ground have shared their respective picks…
- Rory Sabbatini. “The 43-year-old has been playing great golf since the beginning of March. In the 13 starts he’s made dating back to the Honda Classic, Sabbatini has rattled off four, top-10 finishes, including a T3 last week in Detroit. Really, the only thing he hasn’t done this season is win. So why not this week at a course that will be new to everyone?”
- Hideki Matsuyama. “A cut-making machine, Matsuyama hasn’t missed weekend play since the 2018 Open Championship. That’s some serious consistency. In nine starts since a T8 at the Players, he’s finished outside the top 25 just twice. Combine all that with the fact that the man is just due for a win – he hasn’t won since the Bridgestone in 2017 – and I’d say he’s a good pick for this week.”
- Arjun Atwal. “Obscure pick for sure, but there’s been something about last-minute additions to the field recently on Tour. Corey Conners won as a Monday qualifier in San Antonio this year – just the third Tour winner since 1986 to do so. Nate Lashley won last week as the tournament’s third alternate. Doc Redman was the runner up in Detroit after Monday qualifying. Atwal Monday qualified this week after shooting 62 on a course he’d never seen before (hat tip to veteran caddie Mark Mazo who scouted out the course for Atwal beforehand). Furthermore, the 46-year-old Atwal’s lone PGA Tour victory was the 2010 Wyndham Championship… where he was a Monday qualifier. Again, obscure pick, but maybe there’s something there.”
- Jason Day. “It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 14 months since Day’s last win on the PGA Tour, but that’s where we’re at. With Steve Williams on the bag, Day is trending in the right direction. Their first start together yielded a T21 in the U.S. Open. Their next start together? A T8 in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. He’s certainly one of the pre-tournament favorites and I think this is the week Day puts together all four rounds and notches that “W” that’s eluded him thus far in the 2018-19 season.”
- Patrick Reed. “Remember the last time he played in Minnesota? He won that epic Sunday singles match over Rory McIlroy in the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. Captain America is back in the state where he earned the moniker. I also love that he’s coming in off a season-best T5 in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. I think he found something in Detroit – the putter. His 17-under total last week was his best four-round total in relation to par by six shots this season. I’m all in on at least a top 10 for Reed this week.”
- Doc Redman. “Playing the hot hand here. It’s probably not often that the guy who finishes runner up a week prior can be considered a dark horse. But, in this case, it fits. Redman will be making just his third PGA Tour start this season. He seems to have a penchant for surprising people. When he won the U.S. Amateur in 2017, the Clemson University product finished 62nd out of the 64 who advanced to match play. Last week, he made seven birdies and an eagle in the Monday qualifier to earn a spot in the Rocket Mortgage Classic… and then finished runner up. A win by Redman this week would make it four weeks in a row with a killer unlikely winner story, joining Gary Woodland at the U.S. Open, Chez Reavie at the Travelers and Nate Lashley last week in Detroit.”
- Brooks Koepka. “It’s just silly not to pick the world No. 1 if he’s teeing it up. That said – how he’ll finish is anyone’s guess. There’s a lot of chatter about how the non-majors just don’t hold Koepka’s attention the way the majors do. Fair enough, but isn’t that the case for everyone? Koepka has a win, a T2 and a solo fourth in non-major events this season, making up half of his six, top-10 finishes. So, he’s not as terrible in the non-majors as we’ve maybe been led to believe.”
- Joaquin Niemann. “It had been a relatively quiet season for Niemann… until his last two starts. At both the Travelers Championship and the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Niemann finished T5. His ball-striking is on point right now. Clearly, he’s found something.”
- Patrick Reed. “He’ll have some confidence after a T5 last week – his best finish of the season to this point. Add that to the fact that he’s in close proximity to Hazeltine, where he truly became a Ryder Cup superstar in 2016, and I think he’s going to have some great vibes. I think I saw where he even went over to Hazeltine for a visit earlier this week.”