3M Open 2022 picks, predictions & best bets from golf expert Diane Knox Balas
Oh, the drama of The Open Championship had us all gripped! My pick of Rory McIlroy came oh-so-close, but at the end of the day he was simply out-played by Cam Smith. The Aussie put on a putting masterclass to lift the Claret Jug, just like he did at The Players. It was so impressive to watch! Now, after two weeks of “coffee golf”, the PGA Tour is back on mainland USA for the 3M Open.
TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota is the venue this week. We only have three events left on the regular 2021/22 schedule before the FedExCup playoffs begin, and only the top 125 in the standings will earn their spot – and their full playing privileges for the following season.
There’s something about these Camerons! Last year, Cameron Champ won this tournament to clinch his third win on the PGA Tour, reaching 15-under par. He was 125/1 to start the week! Michael Thompson won the tournament in 2020 (100/1) and Matt Wolff in 2019 (125/1).
The field this week is headlined by Tony Finau, fresh off his T28 finish at The Open, and 2021 Masters champ, Hideki Matsuyama. On a brief side-note, I have a feeling we’re going to see some LIV fireworks this week, and Matsuyama has been linked to the Saudi-funded tour…so watch this space! I’ll update you if, and when, news breaks.
Also, if you follow tennis, look out for former World No.7 Mardy Fish, who’s teeing it up this week on an exemption. Mardy can ball, and has earned himself quite the reputation in the world of golf, winning the LPGA Tour’s Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions three times, and the American Century Championship in 2020, breaking the course record. He’s from Minnesota so he will have quite a few fans out there.
TPC Twin Cities: What you need to know
This par 71 measures in at 7,431 yards. There’s a lot of water out there for the guys to contend with, but this parkland course will look very different to the Scottish links courses over the past few weeks.
Accuracy off the tee will be somewhat important, especially for shorter hitters with some rough and tree-lined fairways, but distance will really set the guys up for tidy wedge shots into these receptive greens. Last year, Cameron Champ was 10th in distance for the week, but 92nd in accuracy.
The greens are large and relatively easy to hit, but good iron play is rewarded around here. They’re also easy to read and rank in the bottom-3 of putting difficulty.
The finishing hole is a par-5 that has seen its fair share of drama in the three short years this tournament has been in existence. In 2019, Bryson DeChambeau was in the hunt after an eagle on the 18th, but Matt Wolff made his own long eagle putt to clinch victory by 1 stroke.
I’m really looking at total driving (distance + accuracy) as well as shorter hitters who are great iron players. I also want guys who can make birdies.
Knox’s Knockout 3M Open picks
Davis Riley (+2500) BetMGM
I’ve been saying all season that this rookie is going to get a win, and this could be the perfect week for him. Riley hasn’t played since the Travelers, where he didn’t have a great week, but he’s really racked up a solid season – six Top-10s including a runner-up at the Valspar earlier this year. He’s currently 12th in birdie average, 12th in total driving and 16th in putting average. Davis is also sitting at No.23 in the FedExCup standings, so he’s looking to take it all the way to the playoff finale at East Lake.
Martin Laird (+4000) DK Sportsbook
The Scotsman made a huge jump from 126th in the FedExCup standings to 98th after a great week at the Barracuda Championship, finishing solo 3rd. As someone who had to make something happen to get into the playoffs, he sure did. Laird has been playing good golf this year, but the putter has been running ice cold. However, he’s sitting 12th in driving accuracy and 31st in greens in regulation for the season, and last week he was 7th in putting – an encouraging stat. His game seems to have turned a corner over the past month, with a T13 at the Travelers and then that third last week. I always root for the Scots, but I have a feeling Martin is picking up the pace when it really matters.
Chris Gotterup (+5000) FanDuel
Matthew Wolff won the 3M Open in only his fourth PGA Tour start, and if you’re looking for someone to fit that kind of mold, Gotterup is your guy. Ok, this will be his seventh start, but this rookie has really made his presence known with a T7 in Puerto Rico and a T4 at the John Deere Classic just a few weeks ago. He doesn’t have season-long stats, but at the John Deere, Chris was 2nd tee-to-green, 2nd in approach and 3rd in driving distance. Putting was his worst stat, but the greens are a lot more forgiving at TPC Twin Cities. His game is similar to Cameron Champ’s, who prevailed here last year, so I’m definitely keeping an eye on Chris Gotterup.
Callum Tarren (+13000) DK Sportsbook
Longshots seem to do well here if the past three years are anything to go by, and Callum Tarren, once again, is one of my picks. I couldn’t leave him off on a week where driving distance is a real advantage. Tarren is one of the longest hitters in the field this week and has been playing well – T6 at the John Deere and then a T22 at the Barracuda last week. At 144th in the FedExCup standings, Tarren can climb into the 125 with some solid finishes and I love the fact he’s making the most of this run of form. This is his 7th week of tournament play in a row, but he has momentum to keep him going.
3M Open Prop Bets
Sahith Theegala top-5 finish (+550) DK Sportsbook
This guy has been playing a lot of golf lately, and that shows me he’s obviously feeling good about his game and on a roll. He’s had two top-5s in his last five starts, and one of them was an almost-win at the Travelers. I was a little on the fence since he’s going to be traveling to Minnesota from Scotland, but he’s young so he can bounce back from that time difference. He’s great off the tee and thrives in a birdie-fest, so I like him to be in the mix this week.
Adam Hadwin top-10 finish (+190) DK Sportsbook
Adam Hadwin has been on my card a lot over the past few months, the highlight performance being a T7 at the U.S. Open. Hadwin finished 4th here in 2019 and T6 last year, so is coming back – rested – to a course he feels comfortable on. I like him for a top-10.
Rickie Fowler top-10 finish (+550) DK Sportsbook
Things are getting a little desperate for Rickie. He’s fallen to 129th in the FedExCup standings so needs a good few weeks to make it to the playoffs. Maybe this is a “heart pick” but I’m prepared to put a wee bit of money on him to finish high and earn some points at the 3M Open.
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