Two in a row...
There's nothing better than Mondays after a win, especially a "major" win. The support we receive is tremendous. I am so happy everyone loves Read The Line. I promise to keep the research, rhetoric and results coming. The mission is to create more intelligent sports fans and I believe we are doing that!
Winning two majors in a row is impressive, but picking two One and Done winners back to back is pretty astonishing. Think about it, we need to have saved the best players for these weeks very deep into the season. If you follow us, you just added $3.94 million toward your season earnings. Most folks don't pick a winner all year, we just picked two in a row!
Fun in France
Another week, another major is on the schedule. The Amundi Evian Championship takes place on beautiful Lake Léman on the border between France and Switzerland. The famous body of water is approximately 45 miles long and over 1,000 feet deep. Set against the base of the Swiss Alps, Évian-les-Bains, France sits at about 1200 feet above sea level. This picturesque setting provides some of the most breathtaking LPGA views we see all year.
The Champions Course is a Par 71 layout measuring 6,523 yards in length. Over the past five years, the average winning score has been fifteen under par. Over the last ten years, it drops just slightly to 14.4. Needless to say the winner this week may not need to go as deep as Lake Léman nearby, but this major does see some scoring. The course has:
- Five Par 3's measuring 185 yards on average.
- Four Par 5's stretching out to 524 on average.
- Nine Par 4's ranging from 331 to 437 yards and averaging 390 yards in length.
Just the elevation alone will take about 2% off of the total scorecard distance. Combine that with the hot temperatures and the ball will be flying.
- Europe is experiencing a historic heat wave. The ladies in France will witness temperatures 10-12 degrees above average. This is important to note as the tourney is played at a little bit of elevation.
- Thursday through Sunday the thermometer will sit between 88 and 94 degrees. Very little wind is in the forecast (under 6mph) to help cool anyone down.
- We will see a little rain Wednesday night into Thursday morning and Friday night into Saturday morning. It should only help play by softening the greens for scoring.
It's the LPGA's fourth major of the season, so the field is fantastic. Twenty-two of the Top 25 players in the Rolex Rankings are playing including world #2 and defending champion Minjee Lee. Who could forget her closing 64 last year to come from seven back on the final day and win in a playoff?
I anticipate my crowd of contenders to produce a similar show. The Evian always gives us a little drama with the closing stretch of holes. From the very short Par 4 seventeenth to the risk-reward Par 5 eighteenth the end is always exciting. Keep reading the line to see who will be a part of that final act come Sunday.
Let the games begin
The 3M Open is entering the fourth year of its existence as a PGA Tour event. Formally on the PGA Tour Champions schedule, it made the jump to the big tour in 2019 with an electric finish. Many of us will remember Matt Wolff winning in a playoff over Bryson DeChambeau 1.0 and Collin Morikawa coming in third. It really was an amazing start for the brand new tour stop.
Since that time, the endings have been just as exciting. Overall, this tournament is an interesting puzzle to put the pieces together. Consider this, in the three editions:
- The average winner's OWGR has been 663!
- The average winning odds of the three champions is +15000.
- Our field this week according to the OWGR has 3 of the Top 25, 6 of the Top 50, and 13 of the Top 100 players in the world.
- After three editions, the average winning score is 18 under par.
In general terms, this is definitely one of those weeks where anything can and has already happened. That being said, this course does show some very specific indicators of success. Even though picking a winner may seem more wide open than most weeks, course history and player skill sets will define a very successful placement and matchup card.
Let's dive into the course and weather this week:
- TPC Twin Cities is a Par 71 reaching 7,431 yards for the competitors this week.
- It has 15 holes where water comes into play and was designed by Arnold Palmer.
- The course sits at just under 1,000 feet of elevation.
- This week it seems as if it is hot everywhere and Blaine, Minnesota is no different.
I mention the altitude, temperature, and humidity for a specific reason. On paper, this is the seventh longest course on the PGA Tour. When you consider it sits at 1k feet above sea level you can take away 2% of that length. Temperatures in the 90's with high humidity will also increase carry distances and shorten the course. I believe length is such an advantage here with past contenders because the course plays much shorter than what the card will lead you to believe.
There will be more detail in the outrights section, but at this moment I'm excited about the tournament this weekend. The original tournament director was quoted as saying, "We want birdies and train wrecks, and we don't want to be the hardest course on tour." After a week where the best in the world grinded until the very last hole, I think this week will be equally exciting!
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The way nature intended
When you think of Evian water there's an immediate feeling of calm. Funny how the major championship named after the town that produced that feeling gives us a complete polar opposite sensation. The Champions Course is built on the side of a mountain. After all, we are situated at the base of the Alps. Each hole presents a different unsettling lie. Whether it is uphill, downhill, or sidehill the situation is never as simple as level. This constant change from hole to hole really sets the table for needing a great set of ball striking skills in order to win.
We have five Par 3's to contend with. I took a long look at Par 3 scoring and calculated the GIR average for the field from 2021. Players were hitting those Par 3 greens 70.6% of the time. They represent 28% of the holes you will play. They go uphill and downhill and vary greatly in length from 155 to 226 yards. 70%+ is a high number. This means players are hitting the greens, so scoring on these holes is vital to contending this week and that's why all of our outrights are in the top third for Par 3 scoring in the field.
Par 5's have always been the key to going low in any tournament. At Evian, players only hit the Par 5 fairways 58.3% of the time. The average for hitting all thirteen fairways is 66.4%. Therefore, our contenders have to be accurate and long to take care of the Par 5's. That's an interesting combination as it clearly tells us being a bomber just isn't good enough. In fact, length is an advantage here, but course history and managing the Par 5's are even more important.
When it comes to the Par 4's it is easier to hit those fairways (69.7%) than the overall average, but hitting greens gets much more difficult. Over eighteen holes players hit 69.9% of their greens, on the Par 4's that number drops to 63.2%! So playing well on these varied holes is a huge part of playing well. What's even more interesting is the Par 4's average 390 yards in length. This is on the shorter side for the LPGA, and considering the elevation and heat, those holes will play even shorter. So the challenge lies in the ground. The nine Par fours represent some of the most challenging holes on the course so be careful if you want to contend.
- Atthaya Thitikul - A young very powerful player. She finished fourth at the KPMG and has already won this season. At nineteen, her age is an asset as climbing the hills in the heat won't bother her. She finished Top 5 here last year and is ranked Top 10 on tour in driving and T2G. Fourth in scoring average, she keeps it low due to her success on Par 3's.
- Brooke Henderson - Brooke has finished in the Top 25 four times in the last five Evians. She's second in T2G statistics on the LPGA and third in scoring average. Being seventh in GIR average is probably her best asset going in as the course will test her ability on approach. She's had a tremendous season with a win and six top tens.
Outright winners - Evian Championship
Atthaya Thitikul (+1600)
Brooke Henderson (+2200)
PIck 3* (+2800)
Pick 4* (+3500)
Pick 5* (+4000)
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The layout at TPC Twin Cities is just flat-out fun. Birdies and blow-ups await the field as they contend for this week's title. Looking a little closer at the design features, past contenders, and skills they used to climb the leaderboard, I believe there's a specific player out there who can take home this title. Take a look at these facts:
- The average green size is 6,500 square feet. That's only half as big as last week, but players who contend will hit well over 75% of their GIR. The tour average is just 66%.
- Distance seems to be a thing as the average driving distance of contenders is 291 yards against a tour average of 283.
- Long irons are in play often here as almost 50% of your approach shots will come from over 175 yards.
- Four of the toughest five holes are Par 4's, so with the eclectic group of Par 4's they have I'm looking strongly at overall Par 4 scoring.
- Par 5's have a birdie average well over 40%. Past winners have excelled on the three Par 5's, that will be an area the contenders will have to use to get toward the twenty under par final score.
- Many weeks we focus on Par 3 scoring, but these four one-shot holes have a scoring average just slightly under par, move on.
- Talking tee ball again, six work left to right and seven right to left off the tee, A great driver can move the ball both ways.
- Last one, this is the 3rd most penal course (of 46) for penalty areas on the PGA Tour. Let's not just avoid bogeys this week, but double bogeys as well.
These guys contend on TPC style golf courses. Sahith Theegala was one of the best players in college when he left Pepperdine. He continues to impress everyone on tour with his ability to go low. He's ranked first in SG:Par 5 for the field and ninth in double bogey avoidance. Essentially this is why I love him on these types of courses. Sahith is an aggressive player and it will take all of his scoring skill to contend. His recent form is excellent so after a couple of close calls, I believe he gets it done.
There is one very simple and specific common denominator amongst the previous champions of this event, they aren't great putters. TPC Twin Cities has a very good make average of over fifteen feet. Brendan Steele's ball striking is elite, but his putting unfortunately is not. He becomes a great option in this field because he's not only the best SG:OTT player, but ranked third on Approach! He's great at avoiding big numbers because he hits it so solid. Flat greens and great proximity are a smart recipe for outright success this week.
Outright winners - 3M Open
Sahith Theegala (+2800)
Brendan Steele (+4000)
Pick 3* (+5000)
Pick 4* (+6500)
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Did you feel the flow?
Tee to Green has picked the last three major winners! We all know Keith killed it at the US Open and The Open by picking Matt Fitzpatrick and Cam Smith. What you may not know is that Chantel picked Justin Thomas at the PGA. If you're not watching BetOnline's golf betting show, you're literally losing out. Take a look at Keith's Cam cut from last week. The show is not only winning, but very entertaining as well.
Click the picture or button below to see Keith's Cam pick!
|The Cam Smith clip!|
What a win!
The LPGA is back this week with a major of their own, can we make it three in a row?
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