Home GOLF 2023 3M Open leaderboard, scores: Lee Hodges' 63 gives him lead after...

2023 3M Open leaderboard, scores: Lee Hodges’ 63 gives him lead after Round 1 at TPC Twin Cities



The post-major championship hangover is wearing off, and golf is being played at TPC Twin Cities as the 3M Open is underway. The afternoon looked like an Open Championship with how hard the wind was blowing, but the scoring on Thursday was not major-like. It was, as it was expected to be, low and bountiful.

Lee Hodges (-8) leads after shooting a magnificent 63 in a first round suspended . He has horses all around him, though, including multi-time PGA Tour winners, thriving young players ready to break out and a handful of veterans looking for their first win in a while.

Add it all up, and there are 43 golfers within five of Hodges’ lead. There is, as they say, a long way to go. Let’s look at what went down on Thursday, though, and what to expect from a surprisingly nice field in Minnesota.

The leader

1. Lee Hodges (-8)

Hodges got a slight break in that the afternoon was the much tougher wave because of increased wind, but he took advantage of it. Hodges finished in the top 10 on the day off the tee, in approach play and with his putter. 

The clean-card 63 built him a narrow lead on a host of players, but Hodges, who has not finished inside the top 10 at a tournament since April but has played some decent golf recently with a top 12 at the Scottish Open, is not concerned about where he is after the first round.

“I mean, it’s cool, but like you said, if I don’t do it the next three days, it doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “Just a great day today, I’ll take it for what it is and we’ll get out there tomorrow and try to do it again

Other contenders

T2. Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker, Tyler Duncan, Kevin Streelman (-7)
T6. Justin Suh, Nick Hardy, Emiliano Grillo (-6)
T9. Billy Horschel, Tony Finau, Adam Svensson (-5)

The big names here are obviously Matsuyama, Horschel and Finau. While Matsuyama (who gained 7.2 strokes from tee to green) was one of my picks this week, it’s Finau that I’m focused on. The defending champion of this tournament is currently 19th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings and almost certainly on the outside looking in. He needs to win this week and accomplish even more in the weeks ahead to have a chance. 

The good news? He’s off to a tremendous start. The bad news? It could have been even better. Finau began his round 6 under through six holes and played the other 12 in 1 over.

“It was a crazy day out there,” Finau said. “I got off to a blazing start and felt like I couldn’t miss a shot, couldn’t miss a putt. Then I missed some putts, missed some shots and I ended up finishing pretty nicely at the end. It was a crazy day. As we know, this game can be that way. But I was happy just to post the score that I did for my title defense first round.”

Finau went on to say he’s simply attempting to put himself in contention this weekend, which worked pretty well for him this time a year ago when he defeated Sungjae Im and Emiliano Grillo by three.

Shot of the year?

Nick Hardy hit one of the silliest shots you’ll ever witness on Thursday at the 3M. From behind a tree, Hardy hit this outrageous 186-yard shot to 12 feet before rolling it in for birdie. It was one of his eight birdies on the day, which led to a 65 and within striking distance of the lead. It does not look like much on Shotlink, but buddy, it was extraordinary.


Shotlink

Here it is.

“When I hit it, I knew it was going to be pretty good because I caught it perfect and I knew it felt like it was going to hook a little bit,” Hardy said. “I almost feel like I didn’t even have to look after that because I was just worried about carrying the water. Once I hit it, I was like ‘OK, it’s going to be pretty good.'”

Putter not helping Justin Thomas 

The two-time Ryder Cupper is looking to make it a third with some good play over the final month of the PGA Tour, and he got off to a good-but-not-amazing start at TPC Twin Cities.

He finished under par but didn’t finish like he would have liked, with a three-putt par at the last. As my colleague Patrick McDonald pointed out here, Thomas has struggled with his iron play at times this season. However, it was all right on Thursday, and he was in the top 25 in the field from tee to green.

What seems to be the case is that a poor putter is putting pressure on him to hit it close at some of these events that can sometimes turn into putting contests. That’s a difficult position to operate from, though J.T. made the most of it on Thursday.

One thing is for sure, he is grinding. There were so many moments on Thursday where he was laboring over shots, decisions and reads. He won’t go down and potentially miss the FedEx Cup Playoffs and Ryder Cup without a fight, and that was fun to watch on Thursday at TPC Twin Cities.

2023 3M Open updated odds and picks

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

  • Hideki Matsuyama: 4-1
  • Tony Finau: 9-1
  • Emiliano Grillo: 9-1
  • Lee Hodges: 10-1
  • Justin Suh: 18-1
  • Kevin Streelman: 18-1
  • J.T. Poston: 20-1
  • Nick Hardy: 25-1
  • J.J. Spaun: 25-1

I actually kind of love Hardy here, and not just because he got a good break on No. 9. He’s finished in the top 25 in each of his last three events, including a win at the Barbasol Championship. Hardy is playing tremendous golf, and is on a better number at 25-1 than some of the bigger names up top (although Matsuyama gaining 7 strokes on the field on approach play is hard to ignore). I’m on him to get it done for his second win in his last three stars come Sunday afternoon.

Kyle Porter and Mark Immelman break down Round 1 of the 3M Open from TPC Twin Cities. It’s storylines, scorecards and betting favorites. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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