3M Open 2021 DFS picks: Why this might be a perfect week for Dustin Johnson
Major season might be over, but there is still plenty of golf to be played this year—which means dollars to bag in DFS contests. Next up is the 3M Open. This will be the third edition of this event held at TPC Twin Cities. The only “problem” for a data guy like me is that there’s not really enough data to make any real conclusions about this course and the types of players that could find success.
There’s water in play on 15 holes but with few trees on this links-like layout, it’s pretty generous off the tee. The greens are larger than average (6,000 square feet on average), providing hearty targets for those approach shots, but that will increase the three-putt percentages.
All-in-all, this is one of the more “normal” courses on the PGA Tour without many unique features or attributes. It will allow plenty of golfers to contend and should be a fair test throughout.
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Price range: $9,000 and above
High Upside: Emiliano Grillo ($9,300 DraftKings | $9,900 FanDuel)
The story is always the same for Grillo—and it revolves around his putter. He’s one of the better approach players on tour (12th) and one of the worst putters (112th). Despite that, he has the ability to “pop” like he did for a T-8 at the Charles Schwab Challenge and a T-12 last week at The Open.
Safest Option: Cameron Tringale ($9,500 DraftKings | $10,900 FanDuel)
Since the start of 2021, Tringale has gained 1.2 strokes per round across 55 rounds. That’s the second-best mark in the field behind only Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed. I am worried about his driver, as he has now lost strokes off-the-tee in six consecutive measured events, but he has earned four top-35 finishes during that stretch.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Louis Oosthuizen ($10,900 DraftKings | $11,600 FanDuel)
Oosthuizen has been nothing short of incredible this year, but now you’re being asked to pay for it. It’s one thing when Oosthuizen flies under the radar and can return value with a top-five finish. But $10,900 is the most expensive he has been in any event in the past four years, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He has to win at this price.
Pick To Win: Dustin Johnson ($11,300 DraftKings | $12,200 FanDuel)
We may be seeing the signs of Johnson returning to form, now with four consecutive top-25 finishes, including a T-8 at The Open last week. I’m worried about the flight home, to a course that inspired him to withdraw after an opening 78 last year. However, he’s clearly the best player in the field, and his salary is not reflective of his outright betting number.
$8,000 to $9,000
High Upside: Patton Kizzire ($8,600 DraftKings | $9,200 FanDuel)
If you like volatility, meet Patton Kizzire. He’s fresh off a T-11 finish at the John Deere Classic and T-25 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He’s been a Sunday Superstar in a way that few golfers can touch. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, Kizzire has gained three-plus strokes in the final round in six of his past seven events. That has helped buoy his résumé with four top-11 finishes in that stretch.
Safest Option: Luke List ($8,100 DraftKings | $8,900 FanDuel)
List has back-to-back top-five finishes at the John Deere Classic and the Barbasol Championship. Even more impressive, he’s doing it in a really sustainable way. He’s gained nearly seven strokes off-the-tee and more than 10 strokes on approach during those two events. Maybe even more impressive, he’s gained a total of 0.49 strokes putting in his past three events. That doesn’t sound like much but remember that he lost a total of 10.97 strokes putting in the three events prior.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Keegan Bradley ($8,800 DraftKings |$9,900 FanDuel)
It pains me to put Bradley in this position, but my optimism continues to wane. Bradley had been making serious gains with his putter, but it appears that he’s reverted back to his baseline —losing 7.41 strokes putting in his past six rounds. Tack on a missed cut at The Open, and there’s little to be excited about.
Pick To Win: Maverick McNealy ($8,400 DraftKings | $9,900 FanDuel)
McNealy has found his game over the last month and enters with four consecutive top-30 finishes. He has gained strokes on approach in four of his past five starts, something he only accomplished one other time in his career. With a scorching putter and a weak field, McNealy has a chance to make noise this week.
$7,000 to $8,000
High Upside: Mito Pereira ($7,600 DraftKings |$8,400 FanDuel)
After making his PGA Tour debut (and missing the cut) at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Pereira seems to be getting more comfortable. He finished T-34 at the John Deere and T-5 last week at the Barbasol. He’s gained a ton of strokes off-the-tee and on approach in each of those two events. He’s very dangerous this week.
Safest Option: Hank Lebioda ($7,900 DraftKings | $9,700 FanDuel)
Lebioda has been one of the most consistent players on tour, and this price is still about $1,000 too cheap. This great run of made cuts—now at seven—will end eventually, but I’m willing to give him one more go. With three straight top-eight finishes, I expect Lebioda to be playing with tons of confidence.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Steve Stricker ($7,500 DraftKings | $8,400 FanDuel)
In his last two PGA Tour starts, Stricker finished T-44 at the PGA Championship and T-41 at the John Deere Classic. You could argue that course setup and experience were really crucial to those finishes. Unfortunately for Stricker, I don’t believe those apply this week.
Pick To Win: Cameron Champ ($7,100 DraftKings | $7,700 FanDuel)
This is, admittedly, a dart throw. It’s an attempt to be early on a PGA Tour winner who claims he’s “playing the best golf of his life.” Though his recent results don’t show that, he did look good at the John Deere in his last start. He was dominant off-the-tee and pretty good across the board. That’s his path to success, and maybe that T-11 finish is a sign of things to come.
$6,900 and below
High Upside: Wes Roach ($6,300 DraftKings | $7,100 FanDuel)
This range is pretty pathetic, but Roach offers something of value. He’s a decent ball-striker with a bad short game—that’s perfect! We don’t care too much about around-the-green game this week. He’s gained strokes off-the-tee in three straight and has been positive in ball-striking (off-the-tee plus approach) in four straight. If he can find a hot putter, he can contend.
Safest Option: Satoshi Kodaira ($6,500 DraftKings | $7,400 FanDuel)
We are back on Kodaira again. This has been such a fascinating stretch of golf that has produced four top-20 finishes in his past seven starts, including one last week. Speaking of last week, he gained 8.80 strokes combined off-the-tee and on approach, which was the third-best mark in the field.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Vaughn Taylor ($6,700 DraftKings |$7,600 FanDuel)
It’s always scary when a player has one significant flaw, and for Taylor it’s his driver. He is losing heaps of strokes off-the-tee to the field and hasn’t gained more than one stroke in that category in any event since November 2020. That requires him to be perfect in every other facet and puts a ton of stress on his game.
Pick To Win: Camilo Villegas ($6,700 DraftKings | $7,200 FanDuel)
If you take the last 36 rounds for every golfer in the field, no player in the $6,000 range has gained more strokes than Villegas. He’s an absolutely miserable putter (losing in six straight), but he’s excellent on approach. Maybe he can summon some flat-stick magic this week in Minnesota.
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Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.