3M Open 2020: Henley can take title at Twin Cities

American Russell Henley
Russell Henley can challenge for the title
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Dave Tindall landed a 20/1 winner with Jon Rahm last week. He's back to preview the 3M Open and has three each-way selections for the action at TPC Twin Cities...

"I want a tee to green merchant this week and the one taking part with the best TTG figures since golf returned is Russell Henley."

Main Bet: Russell Henley each-way @ 28/1

With only one year of course form to peruse at TPC Twin Cities, punters are slightly compromised this week.

However, there were some pretty clear trends to emerge from last year's 3M Open.

Winner Matthew Wolff was ranked 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green and 2nd for SG: Approach while joint runner-up Collin Morikawa was 2nd and 1st in those same two categories.

Those two were also a modest 39th and 47th for Strokes Gained Putting to show that their respective scores of -21 and -20 were due to relentless setting up of birdie chances with strong iron play.

Bryson DeChambeau was also tied second 12 months ago and his numbers were 7th SG: Off The Tee, 15th Tee To Green and 18th Approach. He putted well but, like Morikawa, was outside the top 40 for SG: Around The Green.

So, I want a tee to green merchant this week and the one taking part with the best TTG figures since golf returned is Russell Henley.

In his last two events, the three-time PGA Tour winner has gained a combined 20.147 strokes Tee to Green in finishing tied 32nd at the Travelers and tied seventh in the Workday Charity Open last time.

The putter has stopped him climbing higher up the leaderboard but he did shoot an opening 65 and a closing 64 at the Travelers.

Henley can certainly thrive in birdie-fests as shown by two of his titles being won with 24-under and 20-under. He also took the middle of his three Korn Ferry wins with 22-under.

The University of Georgia man ranks 10th for SG: Approach and 25th SG: Tee To Green on the season-long stats and has two top eight finishes in his last four starts: Betfair is paying 8 each-way places again so that's relevant.

True, he didn't make the cut last year (70-70) but some quotes from this time last year help explain why.

"I haven't felt myself this year (2019), but it's been a great year. Had a little girl about a month ago. My son is growing up fast. He's 15 months. You know, life at home is sweet, and just trying to keep working hard out here.

"I just haven't felt myself playing golf. A little lost. Just confidence in my game, just not feeling comfortable, like I don't have a lot of belief in what I'm doing."

Contrast that to his quotes from Riviera in February when he posted T17 before taking T8 at the Honda.

"I feel really good, I feel strong and I'm excited to play. Man, I love where I am with my equipment. I love where I am with my ball, my Titleist ball, it's so good. It's made me such a better wedge player, it's made me super consistent with my irons. I'm just a big fan of what I have going on right now."

That's showing in his long game so if the putter comes along for the ride - he made seven birdies in his closing 67 at the Workday on his last round on the PGA Tour and registered a positive SG: Putting figure - I think he has to go close.

Next Best: Charley Hoffman each-way @ 66/1

It might not be a bad idea to swerve those who took a bit of a battering at Muirfield Village last week where the final-round scoring average was 75.959 - the highest R4 number since the 2018 US Open and highest in a non-major since 2016.

So I'll take another player who enjoyed the much easier conditions of the previous week's Workday Charity Open.

Charley Hoffman didn't find it easy on day one when handing in a 74 but he then found his stride with a final 54 holes of 68-68-67.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN July 2018.jpg

That took him to tied seventh although he had shown some good signs on his previous start at the Travelers when shooting 67-67-65 to sit 12th with 18 holes to play before he limped home in 73.

Looking behind the round scores, Hoffman recorded his best SG: Off The Tee figures since September and also gained 3.396 strokes Tee To Green.

Beyond that, this week we're on an Arnold Palmer design with generous fairways and a requirement to go low: that is very much in Hoffman's wheelhouse.

He's a fan of Arnie's designs and was T13 at Bay Hill back in March (8th TTG and 11th Approach) having also finished runner-up there in 2017 and T14 in 2018.

And wind back to 2010 and he took victory at Palmer's TPC Boston with 22-under.

That brings me on to birdies and there's another tick in the box here.

Hoffman is 20th in Birdie Average and 19th in Par Breakers this season and racked up 18 red numbers in his final three rounds at the Workday.

A missed cut here (71-71) last year doesn't look ideal but the negative is diluted when noting that it was his fourth straight early exit in a real loss of form between June and August when he went MC-MC-MC-MC-51-MC-77.

He'll have much more confidence this time and looks a good each-way punt at 66/1.

Final Bet: Seamus Power each-way @ 200/1

It's been profitable to back the big names since golf returned but it's hard to get enthusiastic at the prices on offer here - 10/1 Dustin Johnson, 12/1 Brooks Koepka, 12/1 Tommy Fleetwood and 12/1 Tony Finau.

I prefer the next rung which includes Harris English, Bubba Watson, Lucas Glover, defending champion Matthew Wolff and, of course, Henley.

Doc Redman at 40s also has the game to go well here even though he shot 77-69 last year.

So, instead, I'll side with a player who came up strongly on two lines of enquiry despite being ranked a big outsider here.

I like SG: Tee To Green and Birdies this week and the name Seamus Power rides high in both lists.

He's ranked third in the field for SG: Tee To Green since the re-start while he's 1st in the field (8th overall) for Birdie Average this season.

All sounds good but does it translate into good results?

Well, on his last PGA Tour start, the Irishman posted T12 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic while he was T35 and T38 in his two outings before that.

He missed a cut on the Korn Ferry a couple of weeks ago (73-69) but, y'know, you won't find an unblemished list of credentials for a 200/1 chance and a big hitter (35th Driving Distance) who makes a lot of birdies is a good fit for an Arnold Palmer layout.

A quote? Interviewed at the Rocket Mortgage last month, Power said: "In the summertime I kind of usually play some of my best golf for whatever reason. I probably putt better on bent greens, to be honest."

Yes, we're on bent greens this week so hopefully course debutant Power will like what he sees.

I also looked at 66/1 Dylan Frittelli due to his win at the John Deere last year with -21 along with recent results of T22 at Memorial and T8 at The Heritage along with T18 at Arnie's Bay Hill.

Finally, Norway's Kristoffer Ventura has some useful stats which are relevant but 66s is way short of what I was hoping.

Staked: £814
Returned: £664.83
P/L: -£149.17

2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

Dave Tindall,

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