The PGA Course Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Trends Tool and metrics to highlight stats for the upcoming tournament.
Next on deck for the PGA Tour is the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota.
This course is right in my home state and just 30 minutes from where I live, which means I’m fortunate enough to be on-site for this tournament throughout the week.
I’m writing this on Monday morning and I’ll be adding any additional details about the course that I find out in this article as the week progresses.
Let’s dive in.
Much like last week with a new event on tour, we have no data to go off. Normally when this is the case, I take a basic approach and stick to the metrics I deem the most important on a weekly basis like Adjusted Round Scores, Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, along with a few others.
For example, according to our PGA Correlation Matrix (outside of Odds Score and Long-Term Adjusted Round Score), Long-Term Birdie Score is among the most correlated metrics with fantasy points scored, which isn’t surprising with how birdie scoring is weighed among fantasy points. So, starting with metrics such as LT Adj Rd Score and birdie scoring would be a solid starting point for DFS rosters, and then supplement with some of the various other metrics we typically use on a weekly basis.
We also added a column for top-10 odds in the FantasyLabs Models, which has backtested very favorably and one that I weigh highly in my personal model. My colleague Bryan Mears did a great job of discussing that here during the Masters.
TPC Twin Cities will play as a par 71 and around 7,400 to 7,500 yards for the 3M Open, which is nearly a 300- to 350-yard increase compared to when this course hosted the 3M Championship for the Champions Tour.
This course has gone through some renovations in an attempt to narrow and lengthen it compared to when the senior players were here. Along with the course’s newly planted trees, TPC Twin Cities features 27 water hazards that the golfers will have to contend with on the majority of holes.
While some features have been added to try and make the course more difficult, I’d expect it to play similar to last week where birdies were coming left and right.
3M Open executive director Hollis Cavner certainly wants a low-scoring outcome (via the Star Tribune):
“We don’t want the hardest course on tour,” Cavner said. “We want birdies and train wrecks. Bogeys are no fun.”
The abundance of water hazards could present some opportunities for train wrecks, but for the most, the birdies should be piling up. So targeting birdie scorers will be crucial as it is most weeks. Overall, there are just three par 5s, and they’re all between 593-596 yards, so par-5 scoring will be another metric I focus on.
One of the key holes could be hole No. 7: A 381-yard par 4 that’s possible to reach off the tee, but they’ll need to attempt to carry the lake on the left side rather than laying up in the fairway. It’s a true risk/reward hole as attempting to drive the green could result in finding the water hazard or find the bunkers that lay just short of it. Although, if they choose to lay up, their approach shot will certainly be under 100 yards.
Without much data to interpret, this week is pretty straightforward. It’s hard to go wrong just targeting solid ball-strikers and excellent tee-to-green players while limiting your player pool and eliminating guys who make up most of their strokes around the green and with their putting.
Key metrics: Birdie or better scoring, par-5 scoring, Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and Approach.
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
Pictured above: Viktor Hovland
Photo credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sport