2023 3M Open PGA DFS Fades & Pivots: J.T. Poston Not Getting Much Respect

The PGA major season is finished, but the FedEx Cup playoffs are right around the corner. Before the four-event swing where players will vie for millions of dollars each week, there are two more regular-season starts to deal with, the first of which is the 3M Open. The 3M is an important tournament for many who are on the top-70 bubble and not guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. Names like Justin Thomas, Cameron Davis and Stephan Jaeger all need some big closing weeks to ensure they move on to the first playoff stop.

As for any DFS ownership angles, some of that FedEx Cup narrative may get baked into the pricing, especially on the bigger-name players like Thomas. The other narrative to watch is the setup and how beneficial it has been for long hitters in the past. Cameron Champ, Matthew Wolff and Tony Finau have all prospered at this venue, which has some of the largest fairways on the circuit despite also having water in play on 15 of 18 holes. Look for strong drivers to get bought up more quickly as DFS targets and for some of those names to be the highest owned of the week.

Below we will go through some of the best under-the-radar pivot plays at various price points for the 3M Open. We will also look at some names that are perhaps trending too hot in the ownership department and may warrant a fade in larger GPPs. As always, we will use Stokastic’s PGA DFS projections and PGA DFS ownership projections to help make our decisions. But first, make sure to read on and see which players have made the fade/pivot list for the 3M Open.

PGA DFS Fades & Pivots | 3M Open

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TPC Twin Cities Stats and Info

  • Par 71, 7,431 yards; has seen the winner here reach 19 and 21 under par in two of the three years it has been on tour; contains three par 5’s, which are the three easiest scoring holes on the course as well.
  • Driver-heavy course that has easy-to-hit fairways. Hitting fairways is easy for the entire field, though, so players must gain on approaches to really get a leg up on the field.
  • In 2020, the top 11 finishers all gained strokes on approach for the week, while eight of the top 10 finishers gained three strokes or more with their irons.
  • Around-the-green play is likely the one area to drop off in terms of strokes gained. Just being neutral or slightly above average around the green has been good enough for each of the winners at TPC Twin Cities.

2023 3M Open PGA DFS Fades and Pivots

High-Range PGA DFS Fade: Justin Thomas
Projected DFS Golf Ownership at DraftKings: 22.3%

PGA DFS ownership projections of 22.3% the larger-field GPPs on DraftKings are a lot of respect to be putting on Justin Thomas’ name by the field, and it is fair to wonder whether he deserves it at this point. He has not followed up on the promise he showed at the Travelers with any kind of form, missing the cut at the Rocket Mortgage while also bombing out early at Royal Liverpool — in what can only be described as an embarrassing performance. Thomas could turn things around quickly at any point. However, asking a man who has been lost with the putter all season to get himself into contention at an event where great putting has been a hallmark of past champions seems a touch foolhardy. Thomas would be the value of the century if he were playing with just a little consistency, but then again, his form is also why he is so cheap. The consistency has not been there all season, and asking it to return when he may end up being the chalkiest selection of the week makes him a great fade target.

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High-Range Pivot: Gary Woodland
Projected DFS Golf Ownership at DraftKings: 8.5%

Gary Woodland is one player who has outplayed Thomas over his past few starts but continues to get almost no hype. He comes into the tournament still searching for that magic on the greens to propel him to a banner week, but he has maintained incredibly consistent ball striking over the short term. He finished 55th at the Open, 25th the week prior and was 33rd at the Travelers while gaining over four strokes on approach for the week. While Woodland waits for the putter issue to sort itself out, it is worth noting that he played this venue once prior in 2021 and grabbed a share of 11th. That is encouraging, as is the fact Woodland showed some promise on the greens that season, gaining over three strokes putting for the week.

From a talent standpoint, Woodland may not even need a monster putting weak, as he is also capable of doing what Tony Finau did to this course last season — which was shoot 10 under on the weekend and win going away. At under 10% ownership and a $9,200 price tag, Woodland makes for a perfect low-owned pivot target on DraftKings.

Mid-Range PGA DFS Fade: Keith Mitchell
Projected DFS Golf Ownership at DraftKings: 11.6%

Keith Mitchell is a solid off-tee player, so it makes sense that he is getting some attention. At the same time, this is a player whose best finish over his last nine starts is a 20th at the U.S. Open, and he comes in with two missed cuts in his last four starts. If Mitchell were putting well or had been consistent with his irons, then there would be upside with him. However, he has lost strokes with his irons in three of his last four starts and has been pretty terrible putting outside of one outlier performance at the U.S. Open. This is not a great sign for an event where past winners have tended to dominate on the greens. Mitchell is still ranked well in Stokastic’s PGA DFS projections, but his 10%-plus PGA DFS ownership projections seems a little fishy for someone who carries his form. Ultimately, there are far better values underneath him and players with more upside to mine in the $8,000 range on DraftKings.

Mid-Range Pivot: J.T. Poston
Projected DFS Golf Ownership at DraftKings: 8.6%

At a couple of hundred dollars below Mitchell on DraftKings, J.T. Poston comes into this tournament off the back of three made cuts, including a 41st at the Open Championship last week. Poston’s major finish does not jump off the page, but it is encouraging for a player who flew over there after playing the Deere and was also able to grab a sixth-place finish in Scotland the week prior. Poston comes in having also landed back-to-back sixth-place finishes at the Deere and the Scottish Open, and he comes to another course where he has played well in the past. In two career starts at this event, he has finished 28th and 11th and gained over three strokes putting each time. Despite the nice stretch, Poston still seems to be going under the radar for DFS, as his sub-10% PGA DFS ownership projections suggests the field may be stuck chasing a few other names. At 8% to 9%, he will make for a solid pivot in this range and has plenty of upside considering how well he has putted over his last three starts.

Low-Range PGA DFS Fade: Nicolai Hojgaard
Projected DFS Golf Ownership at DraftKings: 18.9%

There is no doubt that Hojgaard made for an excellent pivot play over the last two weeks. He showed some form in Detroit, and he followed up his sixth-place finish in Scotland with a solid top-25 showing at the Open last week. The issue for Hojgaard is that his DFS price has not moved much despite the improved play. The weaker field does not have a ton of star power in it, and Hojgaard has the kind of power off the tee that will draw eyeballs to him on this setup. He ranks well in Stokastic’s PGA DFS projections but is not the top option in the $7,000 range, which makes his 18% to 19% PGA DFS ownership projections tough to swallow. Hojgaard is a great young player, but this will be the first time he has played in Minnesota and the change in venues may not be to his liking after he excelled on the links. He is a risky fade, but at high ownership the leverage from pivoting off him is immense.

Low-Range Pivot: Taylor Pendrith
Projected DFS Golf Ownership at DraftKings: 8.7%

One player who should be far more popular than he actually is Taylor Pendrith. He seems to fit the TPC Twin Cities prototype well in that he is one of the better drivers in the game, and he can also spike on the greens when he gets some confidence with his putter. While it has been an up-and-down season for him, Pendrith has posted top-15 finishes in two of his last three starts and shown fantastic ball striking in the process, gaining 5.4 and 3.9 strokes on approach at the Barbasol and Rocket Mortgage, respectively. His top-6 probability and value score on Stokastic are nearly the same as Hojgaard’s, yet he comes in with far lower PGA DFS ownership projections at just 8.7%. He makes for a great pivot and high-upside option for DFS and betting.

Geoff Ulrich

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