In the first round of the 3M Open, a mix of low scores, impressive chip-ins, hole-outs, and even a broken 9-iron were witnessed. Tony Finau, the defending champion, started strong with five-under through four holes but faced some challenges later, ending the round even par.
Surprisingly, Lee Hodges stole the spotlight by carding an outstanding 63, including eight birdies. Close behind, Hideki Matsuyama, the former Masters champion, along with Brandt Snedeker, Tyler Duncan, and Kevin Streelman, posted solid scores of 7 under. Justin Suh, who transitioned from the Korn Ferry Tour to the PGA TOUR, Emiliano Grillo, and Nick Hardy are trailing closely at 6 under. Meanwhile, Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, Adam Svensson, and Vincent Norrman are still in contention at 5 under.
The odds to win the 3M Open are as follows:
+450: Hideki Matsuyama +900: Emiliano Grillo +1000: Tony Finau +1100: Lee Hodges +2000: J.T. Poston, Justin Suh, Kevin Streelman +2500: J.J. Spaun +2800: Vincent Norrman +3000: Nick Hardy
Hodges took advantage of the favorable morning conditions on Thursday, while the wind picked up in the afternoon, leading to higher scores for the later wave. Those who scored 3 or 4 under this afternoon are still within striking distance with one strong round.
Highlighted players to watch at TPC Twin Cities, with their odds, are as follows:
Hideki Matsuyama (+450): Matsuyama had an impressive bogey-free round and showed promising form in his opening round. He excels in SG: Approach and Around the Green, but his putting has been a weak point. If he can get his putting game on track, he could be a serious contender for the title.
Justin Suh (+2000): Suh showcased excellent ball-striking skills and almost scored an ace on No. 13. While not known for his distance off the tee, his iron play and putting were exceptional. Given his previous performances and the course conditions, Suh has the potential for a strong showing this weekend.
Tony Finau (+1000): Although Finau started the round with an impressive 30 and six-under on the back nine, he faltered on a few holes. As a repeat winner on the TOUR is uncommon, there might be challenges for him to maintain the lead throughout the tournament.
Brandt Snedeker (+5000): Snedeker's odds seem odd considering his recent form, having missed four consecutive cuts. While he displayed a bogey-free 64 in the opening round, he might struggle to maintain the same level of performance against tough competition.
Justin Thomas (+5000): Like Snedeker, Thomas has yet to secure a win this season and is currently outside the top 70 for the FedExCup Playoffs. He has been facing difficulties in his game, and the pressure to perform might take a toll on his performance. His lack of enjoyment on the course raises concerns about his chances in this event.
As the 3M Open progresses, the leaderboard promises an exciting battle, with Hideki Matsuyama emerging as a potential frontrunner with his exceptional performance on the opening day. Fans will be eager to see how the tournament unfolds, and if any underdogs can make a strong run for the title.