3M Open First-Round Leader Tips: Make it Mito in Minnesota

Chile's Mito Pereira
Mito Pereira can make an early impression

The PGA Tour heads to Minnesota and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at TPC Twin Cities...

"Since gaining battlefield promotion he's got better each week, starting with MC at the Rocket Mortgage, 34th in the John Deere and 5th at last week's Barbasol Championship where he fired 67-70-65-67."

Back Mito Pereira E/W @ 91.090/1

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

Weather forecast for Thursday: It's going to be a hot day in Minnesota. Temperatures will be approaching 80 degrees for the very early starters and may push 100 by mid-afternoon. Winds are 10mph in the morning but could jump a little for the p.m. wave.

First-round leader history at the 3M Open:

2020 - 63 Richy Werenski, 64 Michael Thompson
2019 - 62 Scott Piercy, 63 Adam Hadwin, Hideki Matsuyama

Strategy: Conditions look more pleasant for the early starters: they should get less oppressive heat and lighter winds. However, I don't want to put all my eggs in one FRL basket so I'll pick two early and one late.

Pereira can pounce

Joaquin Niemann has blazed a trail for Chilean golf in the last couple of years but they have another hot youngster in Mito Pereira.

The 26-year-old has made waves in the last couple of months after gaining automatic promotion to the PGA Tour after three wins on the Korn Ferry.

The first arrived in February of last year while the latest two came in back-to-back wins in June.

He started those three tournaments with rounds of 65 (Country Club de Bogota Championship), 62 (Rex Hospital Open) and 65 (BMW Charity Pro-Am) so he's definitely a player who can fly from the blocks.

Since gaining battlefield promotion he's got better each week, starting with MC at the Rocket Mortgage, 34th in the John Deere and 5th at last week's Barbasol Championship where he fired 67-70-65-67.

Clearly on a roll, I'm hoping he can turn up in Minnesota and produce more of the same from his 08:51 tee time.

Back Pereira at what could prove a very generous 90/1.

Pick Patrick

My other early starter is Patrick Rodgers, who heads out in the first group from the 10th tee at 06:50.

Rodgers played in this event last year, finishing 32nd, but did his best work in the first round when opening up with a 66.

That put him 10th after 18 holes and he was eighth at halfway.

As well as a liking for the course, he's been shooting low numbers on day one for the last couple of months.

Rodgers has made all six cuts since the start of June and in four of those events he was in the top 12 after 18 holes.

That run includes an opening 65 in the Travelers Championship which put him in fourth on the Thursday leaderboard.

He fell away to 76th that week but his form has been progressive since: 41st at the Rocket Mortgage, 23rd in the John Deere and 5th at last week's Barbasol Championship.

With confidence high, Rodgers looks a decent bet at 66s for FRL.

Kodaira can start fast again

From the afternoon wave I'll pick Satoshi Kodaira at 125/1.

Satoshi Kodaira.jpg

In an ideal world, he might have been preparing to challenge for a medal in his home Tokyo Olympics but continuing his PGA Tour journey is hardly too much of a consolation prize.

Things are going well for Kodaira. He's made the top 20 in four of his last seven starts and his last seven opening rounds were all in the 60s.

The highlight was a 63 at the Travelers which gave him a piece of the first-round lead and he was also in the top 10 after the opening lap at the Wells Fargo and the Rocket Mortgage.

He's no stranger to this course either. Kodaira played it last year and shot a 67 and three 70s.

There's certainly enough there to make him my afternoon pick and he looks overpriced for first-round leader at 125/1.

Kodaira hits off from the 10th at 12:33.

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