Golf Tips: Ben Coley has a swing at the 3M Open & Cazoo Classic

Sporting Life columnist Ben Coley runs the rule over the 3M Open & Cazoo Classic.

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After the excitement of last weekend’s Open Championships at St Andrews, we’ve brought back Ben Coley to deliver his expert takes on this weekends golfing action.

This time around, we’re looking at the PGA’s 3M Open in Minnesota, which Cameron Champ won last year by two shots. He’s a 40/1 shout to retain his title – but not one that Ben fancies.

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We’re also looking at the 2022 Cazoo Classic, on the European Tour. Previously known as the English Open, Scotsman Calum Hill lifted the title last year at the Hillside Course in Merseyside.

Let’s take a look at who Ben Coley’s backing for the two comps…

3M Open (Minnesota)

After firing in Cameron Smith to win The Open I’ve got my fingers crossed for another winner this weekend.

Main Selections – Adam Svensson & Chris Gotterup

Adam Svensson gets my main vote. He’s a really talented Canadian, I’ve always thought quite a lot of him and his form’s getting there. He seems improve week on week and was 6th when we last saw him a fortnight ago.

When he last played this course in 2019 he finished 15th and that in itself is encouraging but he arrived in abysmal form and was outside the world top 500 and missed his six previous cuts. He came to this course at Twin Cities and really loved it, it improved his form massively. He’s a far better player this time around.

Chris Gotterup is a new name for many and was an amateur as recently as two or three months ago but already he’s contended at the John Deere Classic, he could have won that if he putted well. After that he was favourite for the Barbasol. He did disappoint there but he had a bad start. After that he played brilliantly.

He’s had a week off to freshen up, he’s a massive hitter with stacks of talent. He was a really, really, good amateur and I think this course will really suit him. It’s a course for young, aggressive players just like Gotterup. He’ll be about the longest hitter in this field so everything about him suggests he’s got a big week in him if he has a good start.

Outside Shouts – Callum Tarren & Cole Hammer

The first of my players at a longer price is Callum Tarren. He has emerged onto the scene in the last three or four months and has been playing really well. He’s finally on the PGA Tour and he’s really found his feet lately. We saw him in contention for a while at the US Open and a couple of weeks after that he was 6th at the John Deere Classic.

Yes, he missed the cut in Scotland but that was a world-class field and he wasn’t far away from making the weekend. Then he was back on US soil and finished 22nd in the Barracuda. One bad round there cost him. If he can put four together he has a good chance here.

The other is Cole Hammer. He’s only just turned professional but I’m amazed at the price we’re getting on this player as he could be anything. Although it’s only early days he’s spend a lot of time practicing with Scottie Scheffler, a lot of time practicing with Jordan Spieth, and in time he might be that good. He really might. I’m willing to take a chance on him here as this is not a strong field and it’s all about attacking golf.

Cazoo Classic (Southport)

The Cazoo Classic has a really open field. Robert MacIntyre is the favourite but he said himself last week that he’s kind of running on empty and could do with a week off!

Main Selections – Richie Ramsay & Thorbjorn Olesen

A player who doesn’t want a week off is Richie Ramsay. He was really disappointed to miss the Open championship and to miss out on the 150th Open at St Andrews would really have stung. But I think he could gain compensation here.

He’ll be really motivated and that’s when he’s at his best. The last time he played in England he should have won at The Belfry and the last time he played here he finished 5th. It’s a short, seaside course which is absolutely perfect for Ramsay. A proven winner with a bit of grit and plenty of incentive.

As for grit and class and all the other things you’re looking for, Thorbjorn Olesen would be right towards the top of the list. He did win at The Belfry when Ramsay rather let him in. He had a quiet couple of weeks after that but he’s right back on track now.

He had a top-10 finish in Ireland, was 30th in a much better Scottish Open, and now he comes for his debut at Hillside. I do think it will suit, he has a top 10 not too far away at Birkdale in the Open. He’s a winner of the Dunhill Links and has gone really close in loads of other tournaments by the sea.

Outside Shouts – Oliver Farr & Laird Shepherd

One of my outsiders here is Oliver Farr. He’s a Welshman based in Shropshire. He played here in the Amateur Championship in 2011 and played really well, making the last 16 there. As a professional he also played here in 2019 and made the cut. He’s in better form now and he has a DP World Tour card which he didn’t have at the time.

He’s got two top 10s in England, his best performances at this level have both come relatively close to home. He’s a good golfer by the coast as well and he’s been playing pretty well. Until last week’s missed cut at The Open he had been playing nicely but obviously that was elite company and he was outclassed to be frank. But in this company I think he can be dangerous.

The other one I like, and this is one at a really big price, is Laird Shepherd. He’s only having his 2nd start as a professional here. The first ended in a missed cut but he was only one shot away from the weekend in Germany and links golf is a huge leveler.

Laird Shepherd won the Amateur Championship last year and he’s got stacks of Links form. The way he hit the ball and the way he putted in Germany on a less suitable course, I thought it offered a lot of encouragement. So, in what is a really weak field for the Tour, I think he’s worth a roll of the dice.

Ben Coley’s Tips This Weekend

3M Open (Minnesota)

Cazoo Classic (Southport)

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