2023 3M Open First Look Picks & Odds: Bet Sepp Straka, Alex Noren & Cameron Champ Outright
Via Eston Parker/Getty Images. Pictured: Sepp Straka of Austria chips onto the fifth hole during the Third Round of the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club on May 27, 2023 in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Now that The Open Championship is complete, I have had a minute to sit back and appreciate Brian Harman's dominant performance. I admittedly spent much of the weekend rooting for him to stumble a bit, just to ramp up the drama, but he put together one of the best major championship performances we have seen in a long, long time.
Harman only hit three bunkers all week, and one of those came on his 72nd hole with the trophy already engraved with his name. He also was nearly perfect with his putting, missing just once from inside of 10 feet on the entire week. In an era where distance is perceived to be king, he took over a course with accuracy, precision and an unflappable short game to torch the best players in the world in Hoylake.
The PGA Tour returns stateside this week to TPC Twin Cities for the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota. Some of the players who were at The Open will keep powering through to play this week in Minnesota. Others will travel from the Barracuda Championship at Lake Tahoe, where Akshay Bhatia broke through for his first win.
The 3M Open marks the start of the home stretch of the season and into the playoffs in August. This is a pivotal point in the year for those near the cutline for the playoffs, with just two events left before they start in Memphis.
Justin Thomas is the most notable player on the outside looking in for the top 70 who make it to the FedEx St. Jude Championship. It is likely a big reason he is teeing it up this week after another disappointing missed cut that saw him fire an opening-round 81. He'll be one of the big names set to play TPC Twin Cities this week along with defending champion Tony Finau and others like Cameron Young and Hideki Matsuyama.
3M Open First Look Picks
Sepp Straka +3000 (DraftKings)
While the big story this week was Brian Harman, it could certainly be argued that the next one should be about the continued great play of Sepp Straka. He rolled into The Open fresh off of an incredible win of his own, after a final-round 62 at the John Deere Classic vaulted him to victory.
It's been noted several times that he found a bit of a set-up issue putting after the first round of the JDC, and that has rolled him into seven consecutive impressive rounds of golf.
Straka seems to set up well for this coming week with his consistent play throughout the bag. He's not the longest hitter off the tee despite his size, but he's recently added a sharp putting game with his top 15 Strokes Gained: Approach ranking on TOUR this season, and those two weapons will be dangerous any given week.
I like that we get a decent mid-tier number on the big Austrian who is arguably playing as well as anyone in this field.
Alex Noren +9000 (FanDuel)
I never need much of a reason to take Alex Noren in any given week, but his play lately certainly merits a better number than the +7500 we are getting in this field. The Swede had a solid week at The Open, closing with a 1-under round on Sunday to finish at even par and close out a top-25 week.
Noren did miss the cut the week prior at the Scottish Open, but he had a top-10 finish in his last stateside appearance at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which in some ways sets up similarly to this week.
I'll be looking to ride what seems to be some freshly found form on a player who can run streaky at times with his play and seems to be trending up.
Cameron Champ +8000 (BetMGM)
Cameron Champ won the 2021 3M Open, as I mentioned above, and he could set up to contend once again. He is similar to Noren in that I want to see a flash of form from him before I put my money on him, and he showed a bit of it last week at the Barracuda where he finished T17.
While we don't have True Strokes Gained statistics from that event, he entered the week off of three straight tournaments where he gained with both his game off the tee and on approach. It's fair to assume he likely had that form going again for that top-20 finish, and if he can continue to trend that direction, this is a solid number for a proven winner on TOUR and on this course.
I'll take a shot here on the long hitter and see if he can recreate the magic from a couple of years ago.