The PGA TOUR has just two events left on its regular season schedule and, for some golfers, these events will be huge starts depending on where they sit in the FedEx Cup rankings. The new changes to the FedEx Cup for 2023 mean that only the top 70 players at the end of the regular season (Wyndham in two weeks) will have full eligibility for next season and access to the elevated events. Anyone outside of that will have to play in the Fall series and see if they can move up or maintain their standing to get into the top 125 when all is said and done.
The field this week has plenty of solid players sitting just on the top 70 bubble as well, with names like Davis Thompson, Justin Suh, Cameron Davis, and even Justin Thomas all currently outside the top 70. Leading the field this week in terms of OWGR and betting odds is last year’s winner Tony Finau at +1200, who is followed closely by Cameron Young at +1400 — who remains winless on the PGA TOUR. The cut this week goes back to its regular top 65 and ties after Friday.
TPC Twin Cities—Minneapolis, Minnesota
Par 71, 7,431; Greens: Bentgrass
TPC Twin Cities was designed in 2000 by Arnold Palmer and redesigned by Tom Lehman in 2018. On top of hosting the 3M Open in 2019 and 2020, this venue also hosted a PGA TOUR Champions event between 2001-2018.
Twin Cities was redesigned in order to accommodate its new spot on the PGA TOUR rotation in 2018 and now plays as a Par 71 but at well over 7,400 yards. The venue was one of the easier stops on the Champions Tour but has become a solid challenge for the players on the PGA after the changes. Water comes into play on nearly every hole and the more open nature of the course, along with the summer spot on the schedule, means the greens can bake out fast.
Twin Cities is ultimately a very flat, parkland setting and does offer big fairways, which makes it a favorite venue of the TOUR’s biggest hitters. Water comes into play on 15 of the 18 holes here, but the landing spots off the tee are still very generous on most holes, and there are bailout spots in many places. Both driving distance and driving accuracy numbers here are much higher than the PGA TOUR average, making it one of the easiest off-the-tee venues on the PGA TOUR.
TPC Twin Cities also holds three longer par 5s, which will require good drives in order to reach the greens in two shots, along with seven par 4s of 440 yards of length or more. If you're a big hitter, the par 5s play as some of the easiest holes on the course and it’s no shock that three of the four past winners have been extremely efficient at scoring on long par 5s.
The greens and fairways are pure bentgrass, but the around the green the play has meant little at Twin Cities, with winners gaining most of their strokes on approach and on the greens. As far as course correlations go, TPC Scottsdale looks like a solid comparable, and it’s worth noting players like Alex Noren, Tony Finau, and Louis Oosthuizen have all landed top-six finishes at both venues over the last five seasons.
Key stats to focus on this week include par 5 efficiency 550-600 yards, strokes gained approach, and strokes gained off the tee.
2023 weather: The weather this week will be a massive change from what we saw last week at the Open. Temperatures may hit 100F on Thursday, which will make it tough for the afternoon wave on day one. Day two is a little cooler, but winds are expected to pick up, with gusts potentially hitting 15mph by the afternoon. Given the amount of water on the course fading the Friday p.m. starters would be the preferred play (right now) if building wave stacks for DFS. Much like the Florida courses we see every March, even a little wind can cause a course like Twin Cities to play far more difficult just due to the water that is in play on nearly every hole.
Last 4 winners
2022—Tony Finau -17 (over multiple players -14)
**other notables include Sungjae Im T2, Greyson Sigg T7
2021—Cameron Champ -15 (over Louis Oosthuizen -13)
**other notables include Adam Hadwin T6 and Maverick McNealy T16
2020—Michael Thompson 19-under (over Adam Long -17)
**other notables include Tony Finau and Emiliano Grillo T3
2019—Matthew Wolff 21-under-par (over Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa -20)
**other notables include Adam Hadwin and Wyndham Clark T5
Winners Stats and Course Overview
Tony Finau (2022)
2022 lead-in form (28-13-MC-2-4)
SG: OTT — +4.9
SG: APP — +7.9
SG: TTG — +16.6
SG: ATG — +3.9
SG: PUTT — +0.8
- This week is very much about good iron play and putting since the greens and fairways tend to be easy to hit. In 2020, the top 11 finishers all gained strokes on approach for the week, while six of the top eight finishers gained +2.5 strokes or more with their irons.
- With high GIR and fairway stats, around-the-green play hasn’t been very important to past winners. Champ actually lost strokes around the green while winning in 2021, and none of the players who finished in the top 10 of the event that year were inside the top 10 in ATG stats.
- Neither Champ nor Michael Thompson (the last two winners) actually had great weeks off the tee. While you don’t want your players to be a disaster with the driver, poor or average OTT play at Twin Lakes can be made up via great irons and putting.
- Pure driving distance has proven to be helpful for two of the first three winners at TPC Twin Lakes (with Wolff and Champ being two of the longest hitters in the field), and it is a driver-heavy course, with the average driving distance being much higher than the average PGA TOUR stop.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Tony Finau ($10,600; win - 2022, 3rd -2020): Finau has eaten up easy courses over the last few seasons and Twin Cities has been top of his hit list. He won going away after shooting 10-under on the weekend in 2022.
2. Adam Hadwin ($8,900; T6 - 2021, T4 - 2019): Hadwin is another player to watch this week. The Canadian has posted T6 and T4 finishes at this event and was in a playoff just a few starts ago in Detroit.
3. Emiliano Grillo ($9,700; T2 - 2022, T3 - 2020): The Argentine likes this setup, having twice finished inside the top five at Twin Cities. He’s coming in off a career-best major finish last week.
4. Brice Garnett ($6,500; T16 - 2021): Garnett has been very consistent at this venue for whatever reason. The veteran has posted finishes of T31 or better at Twin Cities in each of the past four seasons.
5. Cameron Champ ($7,600; win - 2021): Champ won this event in 2021 and then followed up with a good T16 showing last season. He’s played better of late and is certainly someone to consider for outright betting and DFS.
1. Sepp Straka ($9,500; T2 - win): Straka was great again last week in England, landing a career-best Open and major championship finish with his T2 showing. He’s hitting his irons better than perhaps anyone in the world right now.
2. Lucas Glover ($8,200; 5 - T6): Glover is also mashing on approach and has found better consistency on the greens of late. After a couple of weeks off, this could be the spot where he breaks through after three top 10 finishes.
3. Cameron Young ($10,900; T8 - T6): Young posted a top 10 at the Open Championship for the second straight year. You have to wonder when it is going to happen for him (a win) but he comes in off two straight top 10s and as one of the event favorites.
4. Vincent Norrman ($8,100; T25 - win): Norman has been tearing up the alternate event circuit. The Swede grabbed his first career win at the Barbasol and posted a solid showing at the Barracuda last week as well.
5. Nicolai Hojgaard ($7,900; T23 - T6): The talented twin has started to heat up again. He posted a 23rd at the Open and has been top 25 in each of his last three PGA TOUR starts
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Matsuyama makes too much sense
We saw Matsuyama ($10,000) perform admirably last week at the Open Championship, where he paid off for DFS lineups at $8,900 with a T13 finish. His salary this week has risen to $10,000 flat but, given the field, his new price seems more than appropriate. He’s now gained multiple strokes on approach in eight of his last nine PGA starts and has six finishes of T16 or better now over his last 10 starts — against just one missed cut. Below Matsuyama, it’s completely fine to keep backing Ludvig Aberg ($9,400) this week, as well, whose off-the-tee prowess should really come to the forefront on this course. Lucas Glover ($8,200), Taylor Pendrith ($7,800), and JT Poston ($8,400) round out another group of players who are all solid names to target for this format.
Tournaments: Noren and Fox wily veterans to target
The overarching narrative this week will be to target the big-hitting young players in the field who can tear it up off the tee. However, putting and approach games are still a huge portion of success on a track like Twin Cities and both Alex Noren ($7,700 - see below) and Ryan Fox ($7,600) bring the upside in that department in spades. I discussed Noren below, who has a 3rd place finish at this event from back in 2020, but Fox is just as interesting. He can get out there off the tee with the best of them and we have seen him heat up with the putter numerous times this season, including two weeks ago in Scotland, where he finished T12. Fox has 16 professional wins and a weaker field event is certainly a good place for him to make his mark on the PGA. Other players to potentially look to in this format include Sungjae Im ($10,300), Mark Hubbard ($8,300), Brandon Wu ($7,300), and Davis Thompson ($7,100).
MY PICK: Cameron Davis ($9,000)
Davis has been on a roller coaster for DFS and betting this year, posting five missed cuts in his last 11 starts. However, he has offset those poor weeks with some monster finishes that include a 6th at the PLAYERS, a 9th at the RBC, and a 4th at the PGA Championship. While the rest of his game has percolated wildly this season, his off-the-tee play has gained him over 1.0 strokes in six of his last eight starts, and he showed good upside with his irons in his last start in the USA, gaining 5.9 strokes on approach in Detroit.
Regardless of what you think of his form, TPC Twin Cities should set up as an ideal test for someone with his game and talent. The fairways are flat and extremely wide in most spots, so anyone with a high and long ball flight off the tee like Davis is going to have a field day, assuming they don’t get too wild. Davis has gained over 2.0 strokes off the tee in two of his last three visits to the Twin Cities and, given his recent form, another solid week in this area should almost be expected.
Davis will obviously have to wake up with the putter to contend but has gained strokes on these greens in three straight seasons and is capable of the kind of tee-to-green performance we saw from Tony Finau last year, which was so dominant that it really took a lot of the putting variance out of play. A missed cut in Scotland may also be a blessing as he’ll be coming in with extra rest and ready to take on a course he’s now played four times — recording top-20 finishes in 2022 and 2020. Davis is a solid anchor play this week at 9k flat on DraftKings for DFS, and, at +4500, looks like a great mid-tier target for outright betting.
MY SLEEPER: Alex Noren ($7,700)
Noren is a veteran who can potentially mimic the kind of performance that we got from Michael Thompson at Twin Cities in 2020 and, to an extent Scott Piercy in 2022 (before he self-destructed). The Swede has finally started to gain strokes on his approach again, putting together a solid effort at the Rocket Mortgage three weeks ago when he gained 4.7 strokes on approach and 5.0 strokes putting.
Those are the kinds of numbers that Thompson used to have success around TPC Twin Cities and it’s worth noting that Noren has played well in this hot summer stretch before. He finished 3rd at Twin Cities in 2020, 4th at the Rocket Mortgage in 2021, and was also 2nd at the Barracuda last season. While his ball-striking numbers dipped last week on the technical Royal Liverpool, the wide-open fairways of Twin Cities have helped Noren in the past and it’s worth noting that he actually gained over 1.5 strokes OTT here in 2020.
Noren’s without a doubt a bit of a boom or bust prospect but his upside at $7,700 is hard to match. He’s also proven to be a good placement target in these summer events and at +650 makes for a nice top-10 target this week on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.