PGA Tour Picks: 3M Open Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
I'm doubting that you had any money on him, but if you knew Nate Lashley's backstory you probably couldn't help rooting for him to win the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic last week on the PGA Tour in its first-ever stop in Detroit.
Lashley shot an opening 63 and never looked back in finishing at 25-under 263 to earn a little over $1.3 million and a spot in the British Open in two weeks among other perks in his first PGA Tour victory. The 36-year-old Lashley, a second-year Tour member in just his 33rd tournament, was the second wire-to-wire winner on Tour this season following Brooks Koepka at the PGA Championship. Lashley wasn't originally in the field and failed to Monday qualify but got in when another player withdrew.
In 2004, Lashley lost his parents and girlfriend in a plane crash -- they were flying in the small plane owned by Nate's dad to watch Nate and his team play in the NCAA Regional -- and really never fully recovered emotionally. He nearly quit the sport a couple of times. Needless to say, Lashley wasn't on my betting radar. I went with Kevin Streelman, but he finished T35 at 11 under.
Just like it was rather tough handicapping the Rocket Mortgage Classic with no previous course/tournament information to go on, it's the same this week for the 3M Open at the TPC Twin Cities in a northern suburb of Minneapolis. Interesting that the PGA Tour put two of the four new tournaments on the 2018-19 schedule in back-to-back weeks. This fall sees the debut of the Zozo Championship in Japan and the Bermuda Championship.
Minnesota, like Michigan, is another wonderful state to be in during the summer (and, like Michigan, sucks in the winter) so I'm surprised the Land of 10,000 Lakes hasn't hosted a PGA Tour event since the 2009 PGA Championship. That was at Hazeltine and Y.E. Yang stunned Tiger Woods in the final round to win. The 2016 Ryder Cup was also at Hazeltine (and the 2028 one will be too). A couple of U.S. Opens and another PGA Championship also have been held there. The last non-major Tour event in Minnesota was the 1969 Minnesota Open at Braemar Country Club in Edina and won in a rout by Frank Bears. This tournament has a seven-year contract with the PGA Tour.
3M originally was founded in 1902 as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (not called that any longer) and is probably the biggest corporation in the state with its headquarters in the Twin Cities. There has been a Champions Tour event in the area since 1993 and it had been called the 3M Championship and played at TPC Twin Cities since 2001. Kenny Perry was the final champion of the event, winning his third 3M Championship last August.
The 3M Open has a pretty solid field largely because it's the last time guys will play before the British Open - most top guys will skip next week's John Deere Classic in Illinois. Landing the likes of world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Jason Day was a coup for 3M Open organizers. Last year, Mickelson played two straight weeks before the British Open but in Scotland the week before.
Golf Odds: 3M Open Favorites
Koepka is the +700 favorite. He last played two weeks ago outside Hartford and was T57, continuing a trend of being rather mediocre in non-majors of late. Hideki Matsuyama is +1000. Liked him for a Top 10 last week but he just missed at T13.
Day is +1100 with DeChambeau at +1400 and Patrick Reed +2200. Tom Lehman is +45000 and I only mention the Champions Tour member because he helped the design the course with Arnold Palmer, helped oversee the recent upgrades and is on a sponsor exemption. He's obviously not going to win.
Golf Odds: 3M Open Picks
Like Reed (+225), Joaquin Niemann (+300) and Rory Sabbatini (+300) for Top 10s. Niemann has been T5 the past two weeks, while Sabbatini comes off a T3 in Detroit and is having a nice run since right after the Masters. We like Reed as the winner. He tied for fifth last week, his best finish of the year, and has shot 68 or lower in six of his past nine rounds on Tour.
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