3M Open Round 2 Buys & Fades: Dustin Johnson Among 3 Players Bettors Should Target
David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Dustin Johnson.
The first round of the 3M Open saw the morning wave get out to a roaring start before a weather delay slowed them down. In total, they averaged more than a stroke and a half under par before the winds picked up for the afternoon groups.
Rickie Fowler was the big name to lead the way as he shot a bogey-free 64 to take the first round lead. His round would later be matched by Minnesota native Troy Merritt, who had eight birdies and one bogey in his opening 18.
The best round of the afternoon was from Jhonattan Vegas, though, as he ended up matching the leaders after sunset after choosing to finish his final hole even after play was suspended for darkness. These three will presumably take a one-shot lead into the second round, though there are a couple of players with a chance to match or beat them as they finish their opening round early on Friday morning.
Overall, the field averaged 1-under on the day, making for a projected under-par cutline going into Friday. It looks like we are getting the scoring fest we expected coming into the week, although there is still plenty of danger with water on 13 holes causing a number of double bogeys and worse. This will keep a large number of players in contention going into the second round.
Let’s see who stands out as the best looking buys and fades into the second round.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly playing 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, ball-striking and 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 just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 2
There aren’t a lot of proven winners in the field this week at the 3M Open, and that argument holds true even for a long time star on TOUR in Fowler. I’m not going to give too much value to the opening round leaders this week for that reason, and also the understanding that I expect a lot of movement throughout the week with so many low scores available.
Having that in mind, the first name that jumps out to me is Adam Hadwin.
The Canadian has struggled this season and is coming into the week off of three straight missed cuts. His opening-round 67 at TPC Twin Cities today was his first measured round gaining strokes on approach since the opening round of the U.S. Open.
Still, he is a winner on TOUR and a player that can run hot when he finds form both tee to green and with his flat stick. His approach play today ranked him 6th in the field in that metric, and at +5000 on FanDuel heading into Round 2, I’m willing to take a stab that he found something that could be sustainable throughout the weekend.
In trying to find a second buy, I realized that there just isn’t much to trust going into the second round with this field. I believe we will see an advantage to the morning wave again tomorrow, so I will lean in that direction and throw a dart at a number that I feel is too high on Beau Hossler at +10000 on BetMGM.
Hossler has always been a great putter, and lately he has dialed in his approach game too. Over the first two years of this event, those have been the two most important categories, making him a bit intriguing after an opening round 68. Hossler continued his hot iron play on Thursday, gaining 2.44 strokes on the field with his approach.
He will also get the preferred morning tee time on Friday and if he can keep his drives out of trouble, he could get in position for a late tee time on Saturday.
One of the big stories of the morning was with Dustin Johnson who showed up to the first tee at the 3M without his brother and longtime caddie Austin, who we later found out had tested positive for COVID earlier in the week.
Johnson seemed to take on a few more responsibilities in his opening round, and it was most noticeable on the greens where his brother would typically use the aim point system to help with reads. Johnson struggled to make anything on Thursday without any putts made from outside of five feet on the day until his 17th hole where he made an eight-foot birdie and followed it up with a 16-footer for birdie on the last.
Those two made putts got DJ in the clubhouse under par and hopefully gave him some momentum heading into the second round. If he can find his game on the greens, the rest of it seems to be there to start the week. The World No. 2 gained 2.39 strokes on approach and was really better off the tee than his numbers show as an early round water ball skews that number. I will go right back to DJ in the second round for DFS and matchups, but don’t hate the +2800, even from six back, available at BetMGM if you’re inclined to think he can really get in the mix heading to the weekend.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2
Cameron Tringale has had the best season of his career this year, and he came out of the gates hot once again at the 3M Open. He was leading about halfway through his round, but bogeyed two of his final four holes to end the day on a low note.
It’s actually quite surprising that Tringale was able to post a 4-under round with the way he hit the ball on Thursday. He lost 1.41 strokes on approach on the day but made up for it with the best putter in the field. Tringale gained 4.34 strokes on the field with his flat stick, which was nearly a full stroke better than the next best putter. He may find the ball striking on Friday but in what could be a more difficult afternoon wave, I can’t trust that he will fully bounce back to stay in the mix during the second round.
The easier fade of the hot putting, bad ball striking crowd from the opening round is with Fabian Gomez. He lost nearly a half stroke on approach on the day but still shot a 3-under 68 because of his putter that gained more than two strokes on the field.
Unlike Tringale, Gomez is not a good putter by any means, ranking 162nd on TOUR this season, and he is also losing strokes on approach on average this year. He is someone who may struggle to make the weekend despite his strong start.
Finally, another similar story in the opening round came from Wyndham Clark. He lost strokes to the field tee to green on the day, including 1.23 on approach, but still managed to match Gomez with his 3-under opening round.
Clark did nearly all of his work on Thursday on the greens, where he gained more than three strokes on the field with his putter. He’s another tale of a poor putter that got hot for a round as he ranks 117th in strokes gained putting this season, and is lined up for some regression in that metric the rest of the way.