2023 3M Open First-Round Leader Picks: Bet Vincent Norrman & Kevin Yu

2023 3M Open First-Round Leader Picks: Bet Vincent Norrman & Kevin Yu article feature image

Via Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Vincent Norrman of Sweden plays his shot from the second tee during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 23, 2023 in Avondale, Louisiana.

The PGA Tour heads to Blaine, Minnesota, for the 3M Open this week. Without a plethora of elite players in the field, Thursday presents an opportunity to cash a longshot ticket on a first-round leader.

TPC Twin Cities is a par-71 at just under 7,400 yards, and I'll be targeting players with strong off-the-tee games on my first-round leader card, as golfers will need to navigate water on 15 holes while taking advantage of the three par-5s and putting themselves in position to score on the par-4s.

In addition to strong play with the driver, I'm looking for birdie-makers, as I anticipate the first-round lead being in the 8-under-par range.

Here are my two picks for first-round leader at the 2023 3M Open.

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3M Open First-Round Leader Picks

Vincent Norrman +6000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 7:40 a.m. Local Time (CT)

Vincent Norrman is a talented PGA Tour rookie who seems to be putting the pieces together lately. He's coming off three consecutive top-25 finishes, including a win in the opposite-field Barbasol Championship.

It all starts with his firepower off the tee, as he has gained strokes with his driver in 10 consecutive tracked tournaments. He ranks 20th overall in total driving this year. That has helped him score consistently on par-5s, as he ranks seventh on tour in Par-5 Birdie or Better % (53.48%) and eighth in par-5 scoring average.

After gaining strokes on approach in just four of his first 10 tournaments on tour, Norrman has gained with his irons in seven of his last 10 tracked tournaments, which has helped boost him to 14th in Greens in Regulation % and 13th in Birdie or Better %.

While he doesn’t have a weakness from tee to green, the Swede’s putter has lost strokes for the year, but he's also trending in the right direction with the flatstick. He rode a hot putter — along with strong performances around the green and off the tee — to win the Barbasol despite losing strokes on approach for the week.

The Florida State product fits the mold of past bombers who have won the 3M Open by taking advantage of par-5s at TPC Twin Cities and utilizing their length off the tee to put scoring clubs in their hands on the par-4s. He has momentum throughout his bag and a diverse enough game to go low on Thursday in a variety of ways.

Norrman has the advantage of a morning tee time in the first round and can capitalize on softer and less windy conditions to get us to the window with the first-round lead on Thursday at 60-1.

Kevin Yu +8000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 12:32 p.m. Local Time

Kevin Yu is another PGA Tour rookie with a ton of upside whose statistical profile suggests he may thrive this week at TPC Twin Cities.

If I asked you to guess which player in the 3M Open field ranks highest in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee this season, you might guess Keith Mitchell, Cameron Young, Cam Davis or even Tony Finau. But the correct answer is Yu, who ranks third on the PGA Tour in SG: Off the Tee (+0.900).

Despite standing at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, Yu also ranks sixth on tour in total driving as he combines above-average driving distance (34th) and driving accuracy (51st).

The former Arizona State Sun Devil has gained strokes off the tee in all 12 of his PGA Tour starts this season — he missed time from early February to late June with a knee injury.

He has also shown that he can spike on approach and ranks 11th in SG: Tee to Green.

Yu’s putter is a major question mark as he ranks 184th in SG: Putting, but if he puts together a decent or even strong day on the greens, he could get us to that 8-under range on Thursday.

Despite the poor overall putting numbers, he led the John Deere Classic in SG: Putting earlier this month, showing that he's more than capable of putting the pieces together to go low in that T6 result.

Ultimately, Yu will give himself opportunities to go low on Thursday. He ranks second in Greens in Regulation % (72.81%) and 11th in Birdie or Better %. He can score on any hole, ranking in the top 20 on tour in Birdie or Better % on par-3s and par-4s while also ranking 44th in par-5 Birdie or Better %.

He also ranks among the top 13 on tour in par-3, par-4 and par-5 scoring average. Some of his statistics are inflated because he hasn’t played in majors or designated events which include most of the toughest courses on tour, but his statistics still show that he has all of the necessary tools to go low.

While I’d prefer Yu to play in the morning on Thursday, I’m not deterred by his afternoon tee time, as he ranks third on the PGA Tour in late scoring average (68.65). At +8000, I’m betting him for first-round leader and also believe he's undervalued in a variety of other upside markets such as finishing in the top 10 (+850).

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