The first edition of the 3M Open was dominated by a group of aggressive 20-somethings, and with a decent weather forecast ahead the same should be true over the coming days. That puts Sam Burns at the top of the shortlist, as he’s a big-hitter built in the same way as the defending champion, and his form coming in is really solid. Burns is among the best putters on the PGA Tour and this prolific birdie-maker looks ready to earn a breakthrough at this level having been seventh here last year.
Matthew Wolff won this on a sponsors’ invite in 2019 and Erik van Rooyen might repeat the trick. Van Rooyen got the invite because he went to college in Minnesota, and he’s in fact got loads of competitive rounds at TPC Twin Cities under his belt – as has his caddie. That’s a marked difference from his recent PGA Tour starts, at courses he’s had to learn on the fly, and puts him at an advantage. Van Rooyen is another who makes a lot of birdies and he’s already gone close to winning better events than this.
Long driving and good putting almost sounds too obvious a formula but it very much appeals as the best way to attack this course. As such, Norwegian powerhouse Kristoffer Ventura might step up on a string of decent results since lockdown ended, for all that his top-five finish came at a lower level.
He looks another who is made for this course, as one of the longest drivers in the field and the fourth-best putter on the PGA Tour, and the exploits of close pal Viktor Hovland are sure to inspire him towards his own breakthrough.
Although far less explosive than the three players above, Richy Werenski looks to be playing really solid golf of late, and he’s another who can be considered streaky. Near misses at the Barracuda and the Barbasol both came under low-scoring conditions and when the world’s in-form players were not teeing off, and that’s somewhat true here after Dustin Johnson shot two rounds of 80 last week.
It’s certainly easier than the Rocket Mortgage, where Werenski was third at halfway, and he caught the eye at Muirfield Village last time out.
Read Ben Coley’s full preview at Sporting Life.com
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