3M Open First Round Leader: English to make early impression

American golfer Harris English
Harris English can get off to a flyer
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The PGA Tour action continues in Minnesota this week and Dave Tindall has three selections to make a fast start at TPC Twin Cities...

"The American is 1st in the field this week for R1 scoring average, his 14 rounds coming in at 68.50 each."

Back Harris English each-way @ 40/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for TPC Twin Cities: It's a sunny day from the start in Blaine, Minnesota, and winds are modest throughout, picking up slightly but to no more than 7-8mph in late afternoon. It's a cool 56 degrees for the early starters but by 1pm the gauge has risen to something near the high 70s and it could sneak into the 80s after that. Overall, a very pleasant day for a round of golf.

First-round leader history at TPC Twin Cities:

2019 - 62 Scott Piercy (pm), 63 Adam Hadwin (am), Hideki Matsuyama (am)

Strategy: Hadwin and Matsuyama took advantage of the soft, early conditions last year but R1 honours went to Piercy who fired a 62 in the afternoon. There's no real strong bias in the weather but it really does seem flat calm for the morning wave. As it happens, all three picks are out early so hopefully they can make hay on the smoother greens.

English to cash in early

I was close to selecting Harris English in my outright preview but am more than happy to play him in this market instead.

As an opening gambit, the American is first in the field this week for R1 scoring average, his 14 rounds coming in at 68.50 each.

Some of the highlights include him being the 18-hole leader at the Honda Classic (66) and fourth after day one in Phoenix (65) while he's also been making strong starts since golf returned.

English opened with a 67 at The Heritage and was T8 after Thursday's action at Memorial last week.

He went on to post T17 and T13 in those two events and his proficiency this season in two of the elements which were a good predictor for success at TPC Twin Cities last year - Strokes Gained: Tee To Green and Par 4 Scoring - makes him a good fit.

On the season stats, he's 13th in the former and 8th in the latter and 26th spot in the FedEx Cup rankings speaks for itself.

Take English to shine early from his 08:50 tee-time.

Home in on Hudson

With not much course form or weather bias, I've again looked at R1 scoring averages and one slightly surprise name on there is Hudson Swafford.

He ranks 10th overall with 69.11 and, given his position of 156th in the FedEx Cup rankings, it's clear he's been doing his best work early.

That said, he's had some decent finishes in his last six starts having posted T9 in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, T21 at the Honda Classic and, more recently, T30 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

His stats are actually pretty decent as shown by 53rd in SG: Tee To Green while he's 19th for Putting inside 10 feet.

The game is there to set up, and convert, plenty of birdie opportunities and is one win on the PGA Tour came with a score of 20-under.

Quite simply, he looks way too big at an industry-best 150/1.

Swafford starts out at 07:40 from the 10th.

Go with Gordon

Will Gordon is a player I've been watching for a few weeks and I'll pull the trigger here.

The youngster made a mark when opening 66-65 before finishing T10 at the RSM Classic and really caught the eye when firing 66-62-71-64 to land a top three in the Travelers Championship last month.

Go back to the Canadian Tour Players Cup in August and you'll find a round of 61 squeezed between laps of 73 and 75.

In other words, he hasn't got consistency yet but can really go low on any given day.

Some of his iron play has been top notch this season (1st for GIR at the Torrey Pines) so if he can pelt lots of green here, birdie opportunities will flow.

The 80/1 shot goes off at 08:30.

Staked: £450
Returned: £345.91
P/L: -£104.09

Dave Tindall,

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