2023 3M Open Final Round Picks: Lee Hodges in Position to Win
Pictured: Lee Hodges. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
We head into another Sunday with the leader holding a five-shot advantage as Lee Hodges is 20-under through three rounds and looks to close out his first win on TOUR at the 3M Open. Hodges will pair with J.T. Poston on Sunday as he continues to play great golf after two solid weeks of links play. Poston is five shots back of the lead and one ahead of defending champion Tony Finau, who will play in the penultimate pairing with Aaron Baddeley.
A five-shot lead is certainly a tough task to overcome, but it's also the exact deficit Finau erased in his victory last year. Hodges is in for a new experience playing with this type of lead, but he hasn't shown any weaknesses this week.
Let's take a look and see what stands out as we head into Sunday at the 3M Open.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained gives bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the Tour calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation.
If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field. Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility. You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but aren’t getting putts to drop.
Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
2023 3M Open Round 4 Best Bets: 3 Golfers to Buy
I'm not going to sit here and advocate for a -300 bet on Hodges to close out his first win when there are any number of things that can — and often do — go wrong for a player in this position for the first time. But what I will do is highlight just how great he's been through the first three rounds.
There have been four versions of this event at TPC Twin Cities and two of the champions were tops in the field tee-to-green. The two others were the best in the field in SG: Putting. Hodges is nearly doing both as he is the best player tee-to-green and is third with his putter. He absolutely has every aspect of his game rolling and if anyone is going to erase a five shot (or more) deficit, they're going to need some help.
Again, I don't advocate backing Hodges at this number because the value just isn't there. However, he's playing at an absolutely elite level through 54 holes.
Unfortunately, I don't see anything worth gambling on further down the board. We're getting pretty bad numbers on both Poston and Finau, though I think both have a chance to put some fear in the leader during the final round. If you're simply looking for a little action, I'd pick Poston of those two. Finau is the bigger name, but Poston has a couple big wins of his own and is playing better, more consistent golf. He's been great tee-to-green this week and improved across each round with his irons. Meanwhile, Finau lost 1.42 shots on approach in Round 3. Poston is known for his deadly putter and if he can drain a couple in front of Hodges early, it will put immediate pressure on the inexperienced leader.
I never need much of a reason to back Cam Davis and his turnaround during the final nine on Saturday is just the nudge I need to take a chance on him in DFS and top-20 markets. The streaky Aussie went through a tough stretch at the turn and went 4-over from holes nine to 11. However, he bounced back with four birdies across his next five holes to salvage an under-par round. I'm betting that positive momentum can carry into Sunday and he'll pick up a shot or more and finish solidly within the top 20 (+125 on DraftKings).