3M Open - Winner

The curtain has been lowered on the Major season and focus now turns to the Fedex Cup which ends next month with only two full field events left to play in the 2021-2022 season. The Arnold Palmer designed Twin Cities in Minnesota hosts the 3M Open for the 4th year on the trot and as is usually the case struggles to attract the best names in the game. Matsuyama, Finau and Im head the star names as many will take a few weeks off before the playoffs begin in three weeks time.

The first renewal of this event back in 2019 saw Wolff hold off Dechambeau and Morikawa in a thrilling affair which was dominated by an excellent tee to green game. Wolff topped that stat when winning here and Morikawa was 2nd in the same category finishing one shot behind.

That hasn't quite been the case since with Thompson not faring as well from tee to green when winning but sitting atop the putting stats for the week. Similar played out last year when Champ's long game wasn't the story behind him winning, but more so ranking 1st in SG Putting for the week. Clearly putting holds the key to performing well here and you can get away with an average long game if you can make up for it on the greens.

Adam Long at 33/1 (Eight Places)

Adam Long knows what it takes to go low on tour and given his fondness for this track looks a solid wager at 33/1. Long has gone well at recent events with top 25 finishes in his last three efforts at the John Deere, Travelers and Canadian Open. He looks safe for a trip to the St Jude in a few weeks time but he can capitalise on a course that yields plenty of birdies. He played the weekend in 63-64 here in 2020 on route to finishing runner up to Michael Thompson.

A top 25 last year was another positive for his course form seeing he had missed three of his last four cuts before arriving in 2021. His ability to go low was never better on display than when he shot two 63s on his way to winning the Desert Classic back in 2019. He is a solid all rounder with a well performing putter. He ranked 2nd in strokes gained putting two events ago at the Travelers and had his long game turned up that week it could have been a very different story. Twin Cities is the perfect set up to land his second tour victory.

1.5pts each-way A.Long  33/1  (1/5 8)

Adam Long - 1.5pts e/w @ 33/1

Nick Hardy at 40/1 (Eight Places)

Nick Hardy looks one to watch on tour in the coming months and I'm happy to take the chance that he follows in Matt Wolff's spike marks and lands his maiden victory here in Twin Cities. I was particularly impressed by his effort at this years US Open where it looked like he had an extremely good game capable of winning pga tour events. 14th there in Brookline was followed by a top ten at the Travelers. Last time out at the John Deere a lacklustre week was made all the better by a final round of 64 which was two shots better than anyone else in the field that Sunday. His strengths lie off the tee and in putting so it looks a perfect match for this track in Minnesota. A weakened field arrives here and he has plenty to play for lying 132nd in the Fedex. He needs to get into the top 125 to play the St Jude and this looks a good opportunity to make hay whilst many of the top 30 sit it out. 

1pt each-way N.Hardy  40/1  (1/5 8)

Nick Hardy - 1pt e/w @ 40/1

Troy Merritt at 80/1(Eight Places)

Troy Merritt has gone close a couple of times this year and given his volatility in terms of performance in certain areas of his game looks worthy of interest around the 80/1 mark. Merritt was a very respectable 30th in Scotland two weeks ago when he finished 2nd in strokes gained approach. His approach game was of a similar calibre at the US Open only to miss the cut with an uncharacteristic cold putter. Earlier in the season he was 3rd on approach at Pebble also.

He topped the putting stats when 4th in Texas in April and was 6th in putting at Wells Fargo. His season is littered with excellent stats in certain areas with rarely having the week where all the pieces of the jigsaw fit together. Twin Cities may just be the venue where it comes together for Merritt having finished 7th here in 2019. His 39th placed finish last year looks ordinary on paper but worth noting he led after day 1 with an opening 64. Signs are good for Merritt whose two wins on tour both came in the run into the playoffs. 

1pt each-way T.Merritt  80/1  (1/5 8)

Troy Merritt - 1pt e/w @ 80/1

Jason Day at 55/1 (Eight Places)

I'm prepared to give Jason Day a chance this week despite a recent withdrawal with back problems. He declared himself injury and pain free earlier in the year and things looked promising when he finished 3rd at Torrey Pines in January. He hasn't quite hit those heights since, but it must be said he won't need to as this field is much weaker to the one he faced in California. Some decent efforts have followed such as 10th in the Zurich Team event and 15th at Potomac. 55th in the PGA and 31st in the Memorial are respectable efforts in deep fields. The problems arrive more recently with a missed cut at the Travelers, potentially the beginning of the injury that forced him out of the John Deere.

His putting and short game has been really solid all year and he has been no slouch off the tee. If he can improve slightly with his approach play he could put in a big week at any minute. The 50/1 on offer this week looks worth chancing if he is fit enough to tee it up. We have seen him win the Match Play before whilst injured and I said that week I wouldn't be put off again so long as he makes it to the first tee.

1pt each-way J.Day  55/1  (1/5 8)

Jason Day - 1pt e/w @ 55/1

Harry Higgs at 200/1 (Eight Places)

Harry Higgs has had a poor year by all accounts and hasn't backed up two previously solid years on the tour. The last two seasons he has made it all the way to the BMW Championship in the Playoffs and if he doesn't start performing soon then an early bath awaits. He has potentially seen the impending iceberg as an 11th place finish last week at the Barracuda was his best in a long while.

His previous 10 events he has failed to finish any better than 69th and headed home early in 8 of those events. It was a surprising dip seeing he played so well at Augusta to finish 14th. That is a sign of what he is capable of and the solid effort last week may just be a springboard to better things over the coming weeks. His long game has suffered this season but the putter remains a beacon of hope and with that being one of the most important clubs in the bag this week I'm prepared to take the chance at 200/1.

0.75pt each-way H.Higgs  200/1  (1/5 8)

Harry Higgs - 0.75pts e/w @ 200/1