3M Open: Target Straka in Round 2

·4 min read

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This PGA Tour super season has had an inordinate ability of bringing the best out of golfers. Stewart Cink kicked things off in September in the first event of the season, returning to the winner’s circle for the first time since his Open Championship victory in 2009. In what many assumed was a flash in the pan type victory, Cink's Safeway Open title kicked started a trend that may very well continue this week in Blaine, Minnesota.

Martin Laird followed suit the next month at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open, capturing his first victory in eight years. Then there was Robert Streb at the RSM Classic, securing not only his second career victory, but his second win in Sea Island, as he won the same tournament in 2014. The list goes on with Harris English, Jordan Spieth, Billy Horschel, Phil Mickelson, and Lucas Glover all playing the same role, give or take a certain magnitude to each victory.

So, it begs the question, could this week play out in a similar manner in which fan-favorite Rickie Fowler is victorious come Sunday evening? In the midst of substantial swing changes, Fowler’s struggles have been well documented. However, in recent months, it appears as if a corner has been turned.

After accepting a special invitation into the PGA Championship, Fowler captured an unlikely top-10 finish. Then, a couple weeks later at the Memorial, Fowler posted another strong showing, finishing in a tie for 11th. Last week at The Open, after struggling in the middle rounds, Fowler once again found some form, carding a final round of 5-under 65.

He carried the momentum to TPC Twin Cities as Fowler opened the 3M Open with a bogey-free, 7-under 64. Utilizing a balanced approach tee-to-green and a scorching hot putter, Fowler carded seven birdies in his opening 15 holes before a lengthy weather delay. He would come back out onto the course two hours later and secure three pars to polish off a blemish-free day.

Searching for his first win since the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, Fowler is now the betting favorite at PointsBet Sportsbook at +700. With 54 holes to go, there is still plenty of golf to be played, but one thing I think we can all agree upon is that it is great to see Fowler’s name atop the leaderboard once again.

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Updated Odds to Win (Odds Via PointsBet):

+700: Rickie Fowler

+900: Jhonattan Vegas

+1200: Troy Merritt

+1600: Louis Oosthuizen

+1800: Adam Schenk, Cameron Tringale

+2000: Chez Reavie

+2500: Dustin Johnson, Maverick McNealy, Scott Stallings

+2800: Charl Schwartzel, Matthew Wolff

+3000: Keegan Bradley

+3300: Doug Ghim

+4000: Bo Hoag, Luke List

+4500: Patrick Reed

+5000: Adam Hadwin, Hank Lebioda, Lucas Herbert

Round 2 Plays (Odds Via PointsBet):

Sepp Straka (+187) over Cameron Tringale and Bill Haas

For a brief moment there, it looked as if Tringale was going to extremely low in the first-round. However, after getting to 6-under through 12, Tringale stumbled coming home. Carding two bogeys over his next six holes, he carded a round of 4-under 67 to get the better of Straka by one-stroke.

Leading the field in Strokes Gained: Putting on Thursday, it is very likely Tringale regresses a bit with the flat stick. If that proves to be the case, based on what we saw in the first-round, the rest of his game won’t be able to pick up the slack. Having lost strokes to the field tee-to-green, mainly due to his iron play, I expect Tringale to have a tough go in Round 2.

That would leave the door open for Straka who had an up-and-down first-round. Carding six birdies against three bogeys, Straka gave himself plenty of scoring opportunities thanks to his precise approach shots. More of the same should be in store tomorrow, and with just a slightly better day on the greens, Straka should be able to take care of Tringale and Haas.

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