The PGA TOUR heads to Minnesota this week as TPC Twin Cities hosts the 3M Open. The course is a par 71 measuring 7,400 yards with bentgrass greens. The winning scores in the two years this event took place have been 19 and 21 under par, so we should definitely be targeting some birdie makers this week.
I’ll be highlighting the best cash games / single entry games on the main DraftKings slate, but these players are often great options in any contest.
My analysis will frequently refer Wins won, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate the average number of strokes it takes for a player to put the ball in the hole, regardless of distance and situation. Strokes Gained is now available in PGA FantasyLabs models.
There are a variety of metrics related to won stroke, but the top six categories you should be aware of include:
- Shots won: off the tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes won: approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes won: Around the green (SG: Around the green)
- Strokes won: putting (SG: put)
- Strokes Won: Ball Strike (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes won: from tee to green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, see this article by Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which details each of the above metrics. I also recommend Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained column after each round of this week’s PGA TOUR event, which highlights Golfers to Buy and Go, as well as Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column which highlights highlight the Strokes Gained sub-metrics that matter most for a given course.
The following players listed are based on DraftKings rating and pricing.
Tony Finau ($ 10,700 DraftKings)
Finau is back on track as we had expected in the Open Championship, finishing tied for 15th place.
We don’t have any data on shots fired from last week, given that it wasn’t a PGA event, but from what I’ve seen of him his shots on the ball seem to be in good shape. Finau will compete for the third consecutive year in TPC Twin Cities, with the first two trips resulting in a T-23 and a T-3 (last year).
It’s not the worst area we’ve ever had, but aside from DJs and Patrick Reed, Finau is still class at the top, and he’s shown he has a real affinity for this Arnold Palmer design.
I certainly don’t want to think about it too much. Finau is one of the strongest parts on the board in any format, even at its hefty price tag.
Cameron Tringale ($ 9,500 DraftKings)
If you’d rather not pay for Finau, it’s entirely viable to start cash game rosters with Tringale, who is also participating in this event for the third time. He’s passed T-3 and T-42 on his first two trips and averages a solid 1.32 shots per lap tee-to-green on this course.
After a brief streak of poor play, Tringale has now made four of his last five Cups with three top-26 finishes in that streak. He’s having a very good season, and there’s virtually nothing in the data to suggest he won’t continue this week.
Charl Schwartzel ($ 8,200 DraftKings)
I love Schwartzel’s price this week as it looks like DraftKings and the betting market have yet to adjust to the South African’s quality of play this season. He’s now made 17 of 23 cuts this year with four top-10s. He just won a very solid T-26 at the Open last week on the heels of a T-14 at Rocket Mortgage.
He ranks 19th in this area in SG: Tee-to-Green and 26th for total strokes won in his last 48 rounds. Schwartzel also ranks ninth in this area for total strokes won per round at TPC Twin Cities, winning over 2.5 percent.
It’s just played too well lately to fade away at this price point, and you can fit it into both balanced builds or star and scrub type formations.
Doug Ghim ($ 7,900 DraftKings)
The Ghim Reaper has been one of the best ball forwards on the TOUR this season and ranks eighth in this department in this area in his last 48 rounds. He also ranks sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green and 18th for the total number of strokes won in this same frame.
Ghim finished tied for 18th place here a year ago in his only start. He’s been on a good roll lately, achieving four of his last five Cups with a pair of top 20s at John Deere and Charles Schwab.
He’s probably underrated by a few hundred in this area and is one of the best values for us in gambling.
Hank Lebioda ($ 7,900 DraftKings)
Hammerin ‘Hank comes into play this week, posting three consecutive top 10s, including a T-4 at Rocket Mortgage and a T-5 at Travelers. I
n that time, he has been successful in all facets of the game, ranking 38th in this SG: Ball-Striking area and # 1 in SG: Putting. He is one of a handful of players who have made the cut in the two years this tournament has been held, displaying a T-26 and a T-34 respectively.
With its recent elite form, rolling numbers and course history, everything points to Lebioda having another good ending this week at a price we can exploit. The point of cash games is simply to make fewer mistakes than our opponents, and knocking Lebioda out this week would be a big mistake.
Charles Howell III ($ 7,700 DraftKings)
Another week and another post on Chuckie Three Sticks because I just can’t seem to leave this guy. In my defense, he just finished in the top 25 at the John Deere Classic two weeks ago and has a T-23 and a T-3 on two trips to TPC Twin Cities.
He might be getting a little older, but I still think he’s still one of the stronger bets to make the cut in these mediocre areas.
He’s won putts and approaching in three of his four rounds at the JDC and should put in enough putts this week to make it through the weekend and give us a decent finish for his price.
Jhonattan Vegas ($ 7,500 DraftKings)
Vegas has been on a good streak lately, making nine of its last 10 Cups with three Top 11 finishes during that span.
He usually thrives on easier courses, and with another one on the line this week, we should go straight back to the great Venezuelan. DraftKings inexplicably made him $ 7,500 in this area, which is just plain silly.
He just missed the cut on the number at this course a year ago, so there’s nothing to really read in there. Vegas ranks # 1 in this area in SG: Off-the-Tee over its last 48 laps and is an absolute steal at this price point.
Kyle Stanley ($ 7,300 DraftKings)
Stanley doesn’t quite fit the mold for a $ 7,300 punt game, but he’s still undervalued for the way he’s been hitting the ball lately. He is fourth in SG: Ball-Striking and sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green in his last 16 rounds in this field and has made eight of his last nine cuts.
Stanley played this event last year, finishing tied for 32nd, so he’s seen the course before. It allows easy selection to complete the queues and is a strong game in all formats.
Photo credit: Charlie Crowhurst / R & A / R & A via Getty Images.
Pictured: Tony Finau.