Nate Lashley secured a shocking win in what was just his second top 10 in over 30 starts on the PGA Tour, but to those that know Nate’s story it was the most deserved win of the season.
When Lashley was 21-years-old his parents and girlfriend was flying home after having watched him play a college tournament when the small plane that his father was flying crashed, killing all three onboard.
After the tragedy followed over a decade of playing on minor tours and even giving up on golf for a six-month period in 2012 before finally securing his PGA Tour card last season, but a disappointing rookie campaign saw him only retain partial status for this season and he was actually the last man to get into the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
He doesn’t need to worry about his job security for a while, the win gives him full playing privileges on the tour for 2 years and an invite to The Open later this month and next year’s Masters.
About TPC Twin Cities
Course: TPC Twin Cities
Length: 7481 yards (Par 71)
Architect: Arnold Palmer, redesign: Tom Lehman (2018)
It doesn’t seem that the changes to the schedule has done much for this part of it as many of the top players are starting to head over to Europe to acclimate before The Open later this month.
World number one Brooks Koepka is admittedly here but beside an out of form Bryson DeChambeau he is the only one in the top 15 in the world that has travelled to the outskirts of Minneapolis. TPC Twin Cities is host of a PGA Tour event for the first time.
The Minnesota course has been a staple on the Champions Tour since 2001, the course has been lengthened by over 300 yards, the fairways have been tightened a bit (they are still wider than the tour average) and some of the water hazard has gotten larger in an attempt to protect against all the long hitting youngsters.
My feeling is that this will only give bombers an even bigger advantage this week. All the par 5s are close to 600 yards meaning only the longest in the field will get home in two.
Three of the par 4s are set up to be drivable on some of the rounds. Three of the four par 3s are over 200 yards. The course ranked in the top 2 in birdies on the Champions Tour over the last five years.
The course features water hazard on over half the holes and the course superintendent noted that he wanted birdies or train wrecks, with a soft course due to a lot of rain in the lead up and it playing 900 feet above sea level I suspect that he will get more of the former than the latter. I expect a winning score at -20 to -25.
Here are some of the thing I will be looking at/for:
- Driving distance
- Birdie %
- Par 5 scoring
- Par 3 scoring 200-225 yards
- Proximity from 200+ yards
- Strokes gained approach
- Bentgrass putting
3M Open Betting Picks
The South African turned Slovak is playing some of the best golf of his career this year, he hasn’t missed a cut since February and can point to three top six results in his last five starts. He seems to have become a complete player this year gaining strokes both off the tee and around the green in each of his last ten starts, while gaining over 1,5 strokes on approach in six of his last seven tournaments.
Historically a bad putter, but even that he seems to have turned around gaining strokes on the greens in ten of his last twelve starts. He also ranks in the top of some of the narrower categories I’m looking at this week; par 5 scoring (9th), birdies (5th) and par 3 scoring 200-225 yards (14th).
The bookmakers don’t seem to take any risk on the Norwegian prodigy putting him up as the 9th favourite in only his 3rd start as a professional. If we dig into the stats that actually makes quite a bit of sense as he ranks 1st in proximity from over 200 yards, 9th in strokes gained approach, 12th in birdies or better gained and 20th in driving distance over his last 12 rounds.
In the small sample size we have bentgrass also seem to be his preferred putting surface. All in all, this week seem to be setting up perfectly for the youngster coming of a blistering 8 under 64 that shot him up the leader board on Sunday.
The young American got his first win on Tour earlier this year on a course that has many similarities with TPC Twin Cities at The Honda Classic. And while this week is likely to demand lower scores than the Florida course that shouldn’t be a problem since Mitchell ranks in the top 10 in birdies over the last 36 rounds.
His form hasn’t been great as of late, but that doesn’t worry me to much since his three best results on Tour has come on the back of two MCs (including his win) and a T77. He is very much a horses for courses type of player and this week should be right up is wheelhouse as a long hitting birdie machine.
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