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Thursday’s round one of the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota, featured many players that teed off in the morning, posting extremely low scores compared to many in the afternoon struggling.
Lee Hodges teed off in the morning and shot an 8-under par 63 to earn a one-stroke lead over Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker, Tyler Duncan and Kevin Streelman. Snedeker’s score of 64 was his lowest of the calendar year, and is trying to regain his form after missing the last couple of seasons due to a sternum injury.
Defending champion Tony Finau recorded an impressive 5-under round of 66 and trails by three shots. TPC Twin Cities provided difficulty for Cameron Young, a pre-tournament favorite, as he shot 1-over par and will need to bounce back in order to make the cut.
This week’s event is the second-to-last tournament of the regular season, and many of the players are hoping to finish well in order to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs (the top 70 in the standings qualify).
One household name who has played poorly recently is Justin Thomas. The two-time major winner is 78th in the standings, just outside of the qualifying range. He currently trails by five strokes at 2-under and sits in a tie for 46th.
This article will provide a day-two betting tip for a head-to-head matchup on Friday that we found unbalanced.
3M Open Day 2 Tip: Head-to-head Matchup
The pick below is strictly for the 18 holes played on Friday.
Aaron Rai over David Lipsky @ 4/6 (-150)
After round one, both Aaron Rai and David Lipsky sit in a tie for 46th at 2-under.
Rai came into the tournament highly touted thanks to impressive results recently, especially at tournaments deemed “birdie fests,” where the scores are extremely low.
The Englishman hovered around the top of the leaderboard at both the RBC Canadian Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in June, where he finished tied for third and ninth, respectively.
Rai has finished inside the top 30 in ten of his 27 starts this season and has been pretty consistent since May with three top 12 finishes and a T24 in his last six starts.
Lipsky’s played much worse and has had trouble stringing together results. He’s had 12 missed cuts and a withdrawal in 27 events. In his past five starts, he’s missed three cuts and hasn’t finished better than a T34. The result came at last week’s Barracuda Championship (an alternate event to the Open Championship).
The 28-year-old Rai has performed well in the second rounds of tournaments this season and is averaging 1.1 strokes lower than Lipsky.
Round two scoring averages
- Aaron Rai: 69.57 in 14 measured rounds (Ranked 36th out of 192)
- David Lipsky: 70.67 in 12 measured rounds (Ranked 115th out of 192)
The Wolverhampton, England, native also owns a much better total scoring average.
Scoring average (all four rounds)
- Aaron Rai: 70.499 in 87 rounds (Ranked 49th)
- David Lipsky: 71.229 in 75 rounds (Ranked 111th)
Rai holds a major edge in total strokes gained this season and has gained nearly a full stroke more than Lipsky.
Strokes gained: Total
- Aaron Rai: 0.630 (Ranked 44th)
- David Lipsky: -0.297 (Ranked 134th)
Over the two players’ last five birdie fests, the Englishman owns a 3-1-1 record over Lipsky in second rounds and has shot seven total strokes better. Rai also finished with an overall lower score than Lipsky in all five events.
Rai vs. Lipsky (last five birdie fests)
|Rai’s Rd 2 Score
|Lipsky’s Rd 2 Score
|Rocket Mortgage Classic
|RBC Canadian Open
|AT&T Byron Nelson
|Wells Fargo Championship
Note: We’re considering the Wells Fargo Championship a birdie fest due to 47 players finishing under par and the winning score coming at 19-under.
Coming into the 3M Open, Rai was given odds ranging from 40/1 to 50/1 and ranked about the 12th favorite to win the tournament in the field of 156. Lipsky had much longer odds at 150/1 on most books and was placed a lot closer to the bottom of the list.
The 4/6 (-150) odds appear to be a solid price to take the 95th-ranked player in the world, Rai, over Lipsky (No. 150) in Friday’s round.
Remember, anything can happen during a round of golf, and upsets are always on the table. Please gamble responsibly.
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