The “how much does course form matter?” argument will be put to bed for another week with a brand new event. This week’s 3M open at TPC Twin Cities is a new annual tournament to be held July 4th weekend in Blaine, Minnesota. This is the first recurring PGA Tour event in Minnesota since 1969. TPC Twin Cities was formerly the host site of a PGA Tour Champions event, also sponsored by 3M, but the elder statesmen of golf have been traded for the world’s top players.
This is a bit of a watered-down field with The Open Championship at Royal Portrush in two weeks and a smaller purse than most events. So, we’ve got a new course, some players with big price tags that don’t usually have them, and a lot to consider for this week’s DFS value buys.
Salaries are from DraftKings.
Troy Merritt ($6,900) – In retrospect, I had a big oversight in last week’s tournament. Brian Stuard played his college golf at Oakland University and had to be familiar with Detroit Golf Club. He finished T-5. I won’t make the same mistake with Troy Merritt this week. Merritt, an Iowa native who played for two years at Winona State, isn’t a lock to have played this course before, but at least he’s got some familiarity with other area courses and the playing conditions. It isn’t just that, though. Merritt has top-20 finishes over the last three months at The Memorial and the RBC Heritage. He’s not a long hitter, but he’s about average. He’s top 40 in driving accuracy, par 4 scoring, par 5 scoring, SG: Around the Green, and in birdie or better scoring. There’s a lot to like, including the price point.
Luke List ($7,400) – The PGA Championship feels like eons ago. Imagine how long ago it feels for Luke List. He finished sixth at Bethpage Black. Since then, he’s missed three cuts and hasn’t broken 71. List is a big, long hitter and this is a course where length off the tee can, pardon the pun, go a long way. List ranks third in driving distance this year on the PGA Tour. He’s 44th SG: Tee to Green and 13th in SG: Off the Tee. Unfortunately, he’s had issues with his irons and his putter. This event has ranked first or second in birdies on the PGA Tour Champions circuit each of the last seven years, so maybe the putting surfaces won’t be too tough for List to tackle. With his length, at a course that will seemingly reward it as a par 71 of nearly 7,500 yards, he’s worth a shot.
Talor Gooch ($7,600) – Maybe Talor Gooch is coming around. He picked up his first top-20 finish since February last week at Detroit Golf Club. That place was birdie central, but this course seems to profile as one that will give up a lot of birdies as well. Gooch has a decent stat profile, as he ranks 21st in par 4 scoring, 25th in par 5 scoring, seventh in SG: Approach, and 48th in SG: Putting. He’s 15th in birdie or better and 38th in bogey avoidance. Hopefully he can get back to that and hopefully last week’s conference builder was a sign of things to come.
Wyndham Clark ($7,100) – I’m going to bark up this tree again with Wyndham Clark. We picked him last week and he played well, finishing in the top 20 for the second straight weekend. Clark was $7,100 last week and he’s $7,100 this week, despite having 39 birdies against just 14 bogeys over his last two events. This looks to be a good track for Clark. He is seventh in driving distance and ninth in SG: Putting. He is the only player in the field in the top 30 in each of those categories and he’s priced well below the top names. He’s had some hiccups on approach, but he’s played well around the green, as he ranks 35th in SG: Around the Green. He rides a lot of confidence into this event and can hit the ball a very long way, so he makes the card once again this week.
Pat Perez ($7,600) – This is one of the riskier plays on the card this week, but I’ve got a hunch. Pat Perez hasn’t played in about a month, which has given his calf injury a lot of time to heal. Perez tends to play very well at coastal courses. This is not a coastal course. However, a lot of older players swing it well in those types of events. This course was part of the PGA Tour Champions circuit for 25 years and those senior players had a lot of success on this track. It stands to reason that Perez could do the same. He’s not a very long hitter, but he putts extremely well and this is a course that has given up a lot of birdies on the Champions Tour. I think that puts Perez in a decent spot this week.