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The 2023 3M Open is underway and a player ranked outside the world’s top 100 currently has the lead. Lee Hodges, who has never won an event on the PGA Tour, sits above everyone else in Minnesota after 18 holes thanks to a splendid round of 63 on the opening day at TPC Twin Cities.
It has been well documented that the field this week isn’t the strongest, thanks in large to the fact it isn’t one of the PGA Tour’s designated events, so it may well be a week for a first-time winner. However, with the likes of Hideki Matsuyama and Tony Finau lurking not far behind Hodges, there is still plenty of time for a big name to make their way to the top of the leaderboard.
The 3M Open Leaderboard
Lee Hodges (USA)
Hideki Matsuyama (JAP)
Brandt Snedeker (USA)
Tyler Duncan (USA)
Kevin Streelman (USA)
Justin Suh (USA)
Nick Hardy (USA)
Emilano Grillo (ARG)
Tony Finau (USA)
Billy Horschel (USA)
Highlights from round one
Hodges leads the way
It was a sensational opening round from Lee Hodges who kicked things off with an eight-under-par round of 63. The American hasn’t exactly come into the 3M Open with any kind of blistering form and has only finished in the top ten on two occasions all season.
Starting on the 10th hole, Hodges started with intent and birdied each of his opening three holes. He then continued that form around the full 18, carding five further birdies and no bogeys to post one of his best rounds since turning professional in 2022. Things could have gone even better for Hodges, too. On the par four tenth, he hit a delicious approach from 132 yards which threatened the cup for eagle.
Hodges has missed the cut on three of his last four outings but it would take a spectacularly bad round on Friday for that to happen again here.
Strong opening round for Lee Hodges 🔥
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 27, 2023
Matsuyama becomes the tournament favourite
Going into day two, Hideki Matsuyama is the new tournament favourite after a round of 64 on day one. He has a share of second place with Brandt Snedeker, Tyler Duncan and Kevin Streelman but the former Masters Champion will be Hodges’ main concern going into the second day of the event.
Matsuyama, who hasn’t really threatened the top of the leaderboard in recent times, was immaculate on Thursday carding seven birdies and no bogeys on his way to an impressive 64. Speaking after his round, the 31-year-old spoke of how pleased he was with his iron play. If he can continue with that same level of ball-striking over the next three days then he truly will be the man to beat.
Finau is in immediate contention
Coming into the 3M Open, Tony Finau was backed by many due to the fact he is the reigning champion and someone whose game is well-suited to TPC Twin Cities. Finau proved that those calls were correct with the 33-year-old carding a round of 66 which has left him in a tie for ninth on the leaderboard.
The reality for Finau, however, is that he will feel he should be at the top after his blistering start on Thursday. Starting on tenth, Finau went birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, par, birdie which left him on six-under-par after six holes. Unfortunately, over the subsequent 12 holes, he went one-over-par. His hot start has given him a good chance of playing a part over the weekend and he will feel in good shape.
A better day on the course for Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas has almost been forced into playing the 3M Open this week due to his dire form of late. Due to a disastrous season, which has seen him miss four cuts in his last six event, the two-time major champion is in danger of missing the FedEx playoffs altogether so needs a good showing this week to gain enough points for that.
Another incentive for Thomas is the Ryder Cup. While he isn’t going to be able to qualify automatically, a good showing this week and next could convince Zach Johnson to give him one of his captain’s picks for the prestigious event in Rome in September. Thomas carded a solid round of 69 on Thursday and will look to build on that on Friday.
3M Open updated odds
- Hideki Matsuyama – 9/2
- Emiliano Grillo – 10/1
- Tony Finau – 10/1
- Lee Hodges – 11/1
- Kevin Streelman – 18/1
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