2023 PGA DFS: 3M Open DraftKings Preview

by Keith Flemming
2023 PGA DFS: 3M Open DraftKings Preview

Brian Harman highlighted in this article last week went on to win the final golf major of the year, The Open Championship on Sunday. This week the PGA Tour is back in the States for the penultimate event before the start of the FedEx Playoffs. That brings me to my 2023 PGA DFS: 3M Open DraftKings Preview.

It would be hard to assume the majority of the best golfers from The Open Championship would make the journey to Minnesota for a non-elevated event. However, with just two events left before the start of the PGA Tour playoffs kick-off, a majority of the best players in the field made the trip in hopes of bettering or securing their spot within the top 70 for the FedEx Playoffs.

The FedEx playoffs this year will feature 70 players instead of the traditional 125 qualifying for the event. There are 27 players in the field that fall on the bubble in positions No. 55 to No. 85 in the current standings. A player's standing should be considered when selecting golfers this week.

You can find me on Twitter @KeithFlemming to keep the conversation going! Be sure to listen to my weekly guest appearance Wednesdays at 1pm Eastern on The Inside Drive on ESPN Northwest Radio. 

2023 PGA DFS: 3M Open DraftKings Preview

Venue (TPC Twin Cities)

TPC Twin Cities is very similar to other TPC venues that host PGA Tour events. It features birdie chances on short par-4s, reachable par-5s, and stadium-style par-3s for spectators. This puts an emphasis on strokes gained off the tee (lean towards accuracy) and bogey avoidance.

The 7,431-yard par-71 layout makes length an advantage and due to its oversized greens render strokes gained around the greens insignificant. The 3M Open was added to the tour schedule in 2019 following the 2018 renovation to make TPC Twin Cities more of a challenge to modern tour players. The renovation included lengthening the course by several hundred yards and bringing the water hazards into play on more tee shots and approaches.

The tournament founder has stated he wants "birdies and train wrecks" but doesn't want the course to be overly difficult. He believes the most appealing golf to watch in person or on tv is where players making many birdies or bogeys are both in play. This course reminds me of a slightly easier version of the famous TPC Sawgrass.

9 players in the field who rank Top-30 in Birdies or Better Gained and Bogey Avoidance

  1. Hideki Matsuyama
  2. Ben Martin
  3. Eric Cole
  4. Stephan Jaeger
  5. Cameron Young
  6. Mark Hubbard
  7. Tony Finau
  8. Emiliano Grillo
  9. Ryan Fox

Course Comps

  • PGA National
  • TPC Louisiana
  • Detroit Golf Club
  • TPC San Antonio
  • TPC Deere Run
  • TPC Sawgrass

Top 10 Players in Course History TPC Twin Cities

  1. Tony Finau
  2. Adam Hadwin
  3. Brice Garnett
  4. Sungjae Im
  5. Adam Long
  6. Emiliano Grillo
  7. Cam Davis
  8. Hank Lebioda
  9. Tom Hoge
  10. Michael Gligic

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Off The Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Off The Tee (Difficult-to-hit-Fairways)
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
  • Strokes Gained: Putting (Bent)
  • Par-5 Scoring
  • Par-4 Scoring (350-400 yards)
  • Course and Comp Course History

There are several statistical categories that are far more significant at TPC Twin Cities than they are for your average PGA Tour venue. The four statistics that are significantly more important at the 3M Open than other events are Strokes Gained Approach, Strokes Gained Short Game, Strokes Gained Putting, and par-4 scoring 350-400 yards. The other stats that led to success at this venue include Strokes Gained Par-4, Bogey-Avoidance, Strokes Gained Tee to Green, Strokes Gained Ball Striking, and Birdies or Better Gained.

 9 players in the field who rank above average in all 10 stats above

  1. Sepp Straka
  2. Tony Finau
  3. Hideki Matsuyama
  4. Gary Woodland
  5. Mark Hubbard
  6. Chez Reavie
  7. Kevin Roy
  8. Michael Kim
  9. Austin Eckroat

There are three other categories I looked at specifically in doing my research this week and selecting my players for my lineup.

Top 10 in Strokes Gained Off The Tee (Avoiding Water)

  1. Brent Grant
  2. Garrick Higgo
  3. Kevin Yu
  4. Keith Mitchell
  5. Gary Woodland
  6. Ludvig Aberg
  7. S.H. Kim
  8. Cameron Young
  9. Cam Davis
  10. Luke List

Top 10 Strokes Gained Approach

  1. Hideki Matsuyama
  2. Lucas Glover
  3. Chez Reavie
  4. Tony Finau
  5. Aaron Rai
  6. Nate Lashley
  7. Christian Bezuidenhout
  8. Mark Hubbard
  9. Gary Woodland
  10. Kevin Roy

9 players in the field who rank top-50 in Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy

  1. Brent Grant
  2. Garrick Higgo
  3. Ryan Palmer
  4. Austin Eckroat
  5. Lee Hodges
  6. Tony Finau
  7. Sepp Straka
  8. CT Pan
  9. Tano Goya

My 2023 PGA DFS: 3M Open DraftKings Lineup

Emiliano Grillo ($9,700)

This week I am anchoring my lineup with three players ranging from $9,700 to $9,200 on DraftKings. The most expensive of the three is Emiliano Grillo. He has two top-3 finishes in this event in the last three years. Grillo has been playing stellar golf since April. In that span, he has a win and four top-10 finishes in ten events.

Grillo is top-35 in the field in strokes gained total, tee-to-green, ball striking, off-the-tee, and DraftKings scoring. He is one of the nine players in the field who is top-30 in birdies gained and bogey avoidance. Emiliano is coming off his best career finish in a major with his 6th-place finish at Royal Liverpool last week. I think he is a very safe play this week and believe he is a better play than the four more expensive players than him on DraftKings.

Another option in this price range: Hideki Matsuyama ($10,000) Hideki is number one in the field in birdie opportunities gained, strokes gained approach, and one of the nine players who rank inside the top-30 in birdies or better gained, and bogey avoidance.

Sepp Straka ($9,500)

Sepp Starka had Kevin Kisner's caddy on his bag when he won the John Deere Classic highlighted by his final round 59. Kisner's caddy was again on Straka's bag for The Open Championship last week where he finished runner-up. Kisner is taking a break from tour golf until he finds his golf game. In the meantime, Straka plans to use his caddy for the time being. Caddies don't always get the credit they deserve. With Straka picking up a win and a runner-up finish in the two starts with Kisner's caddy, I am going to ride that wave until we see some different results.

Straka is a great play at this event no matter who is on his bag. He's top-10 in comp course history and one of six players in the field who are above average in Strokes Gained: OTT, APP, Opportunities Gained, and Bogey Avoidance. Straka plays courses with water off the tee very well with a win at the comp course PGA National. Sepp has a top-20 finish in one of his three career starts at this event but was playing nowhere near the level he is now.

Gary Woodland ($9,200)

Gary Woodland is due for a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour. He has not finished inside the top 10 since the Genesis in February, his only finish inside the top 10 all season. Woodland averages 4.5 top-10 finishes per year on tour since 2018. TPC Twin Cities is a perfect venue for Woodland to get back into contention to win again on the PGA Tour.

Woodland finished eleventh at this venue in his only start here in 2021. He is top-5 in the field in strokes gained off-the-tee, tee-to-green, on approach, and ball striking. This is a venue that will allow Woodland to contend even if he continues to struggle around the greens. As I mentioned earlier in the article, strokes gained around the green are insignificant at TPC Twin Cities.

Another option in this price range: Mark Hubbard ($8,300) Hubbard is one of nine players in the field who are above average in Strokes Gained Par-4s, T2G, Ball Striking, Approach, Short Game, Putting, Par-5s, Bogey Avoidance, Birdies Gained, and Par-4 scoring on holes 350-400 yards.

Lucas Glover ($8,200)

In my preview of the John Deere Classic where I included Lucas Glover, I mentioned Glover had said the next six weeks would be huge to him regaining his PGA Tour card. Glover has proved how important it was with three consecutive top-6 finishes on tour. That will ensure he will keep his PGA card for next season.

I think Glover is an extreme value this week on DraftKings at his price. Over his last three events, Glover has gained 25.6 shots tee-to-green, 4.5 off-the-tee, and 20.1 on approach. Most impressive is Glover gained 8.3 strokes total on the greens in that span.

Glover is still one of the best pure ball strikers on tour and in the top 10 in the field in strokes gained tee-to-green, approach, and ball striking. Lucas is second in the field in strokes gained approach and birdie opportunities gained. Finally, he is one of the six players in the field who is above average in opportunities gained, bogey avoidance, course history, as well as Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee and on Approach.

Another option in this price range: Eric Cole ($7,800) Cole has been a staple in this article for me for months and for good reason. He has six top-25 finishes in his last eleven events. He is also one of the nine players in the field who are top-30 in Birdies Gained and Bogey Avoidance.

C.T Pan ($6,900)

I am taking a gamble by including C.T. Pan in my official lineup this week. He has only one career start at this venue where he finished T-31. He's been dealing with a wrist injury that caused him to miss a few events and he missed the cut in his last two starts. However, Pan had back-to-back top-5 finishes at the AT&T Byron Nelson and RBC Canadian Open which preceded the two missed cuts mentioned above.

What I like about Pan this week is his history at the course I consider to be the best comp to TPC Twin Cities in PGA National. Pan has three top-20 finishes at PGA National in his last five starts at that event. He's also one of the nine players in the field who rank top 50 in driving distance and accuracy. You need to check to make sure Pan doesn't have a setback with his wrist before Thursday, but if he plays I think he will be low-owned and do well this week.

Another option in this price range: Garrick Higgo ($7,400) Higgo has quietly put together four top-35 finishes in his last six events including three straight. Higgo is arguably the best player in the field when it comes to driving distance combined with driving accuracy. He finished 29th earlier this year at comp course PGA National.

Brice Garnett ($6,500)

Garnett is in the lineup for two reasons. I needed a player in this range to allow me to have the three players in the $9,700-$9,200 range to anchor my lineup. The second is in his four career starts at TPC Twin Cities he's finished no worse than 31st. Garnett is third in the field in course history strokes gained total at TPC Twin Cities. At this price range that is enough to include him in my lineup.

Now that you have read the 2023 PGA DFS: 3M Open DraftKings Preview, be sure to check out the rest of our golf content, including my show Two off the Tee on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel Tuesday night. Each week, my cohost Allen and I will break down the tournament for that week and give betting/DFS plays. 

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