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Short on big-name players, 3M Open’s ‘unknowns’ are some of golf’s hottest players

A number of the marquee players who previously swung through Minnesota for a quick stop at the 3M Open have since joined LIV Golf and were subsequently suspended from the PGA Tour.

PGA: Charles Schwab Challenge - Second Round
Davis Riley plays his shot from the sixth tee during the second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament on May 27, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Jim Cowsert / USA Today Sports
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It’s no secret this week’s 3M Open is short on big names.

It’s difficult to attract the world’s best to TPC Twin Cities the week after The Open championship. After a couple of weeks across the pond, many of the world’s best golfers are in need of a recharge and utilize the next three weeks leading up to the FedEx Cup playoffs to get it.

A number of the marquee players who previously swung through Minnesota for a quick stop at the 3M Open have since joined LIV Golf and were subsequently suspended from the PGA Tour.

That leaves this weekend’s event in Blaine with just a handful of headliners — Sungjae Im, Tony Finau and Hideki Matsuyama among them. That leaves the 3M Open with a field designated as “weak.” But just because a tournament doesn’t feature a bevy of players sitting atop the Official World Golf Rankings doesn’t mean it will not feature good golfers.

Some of the hottest players on Tour will indeed be in the Twin Cities this week; they just aren’t the names you’re accustomed to seeing.

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DAVIS RILEY

Age: 25

World ranking: 78

FedExCup rank: 23

Likely trailing only new-found major monster Cameron Young in the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year race, Riley looks like a star in the making. Over his last 11 starts, he has four top-5 finishes and has been inside the top 13 on seven occasions. There is just one missed cut in that span.

That’s the type of consistent excellence usually reserved for the game’s best.

SAHITH THEEGALA

Age: 24

World ranking: 62

FedExCup rank: 38

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PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open - First Round
Sahith Theegala studies his putt on the second green during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament on Feb. 10, 2022, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Cheryl Evans / USA Today Sports

3M Open executive director Hollis Cavner was pumping up Theegala’s tires when the Pepperdine product was fresh out of college. Now we see why.

Theegala has two top-five finishes in his last five starts, and was in the conversation at The Open before a Saturday 74 derailed his title chances. Twice this season, Theegala was in a prime position to win a tournament heading into the final couple of holes.

Like Riley and Young, the rookie is primed for a victory in the near future.

J.T. POSTON

Age: 29

World ranking: 63

FedExCup rank: 22

It has been feast or famine for Poston of late. He has missed the cut five times in his last 10 starts. But when he’s on, he’s on.

“The Postman” has logged three top-3s in that same span, including a T2 at The Travelers in late June, followed by a win at the John Deere the ensuing weekend. He opened both of those tournaments with first-round 62s.

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PGA: John Deere Classic - Third Round
J.T. Poston hits his tee shot on the 6th hole during the third round of the John Deere Classic golf tournament on July 2, 2022, in Silvis, Illinois.
Marc Lebryk / USA Today Sports

JOOHYUNG KIM

Age: 20

World ranking: 40

FedExCup rank: N/A (not a full-time Tour member)

Quite possibly golf’s next big thing. Kim, who goes by Tom Kim, is proving he can go shot for shot with the game’s best at the ripe age of 20 years old. He finished third in the Scottish Open — which featured a major-quality field — two weeks ago, then followed that up by making the cut at last week’s Open Championship.

In six prior PGA Tour starts this season, Kim has finished inside the top 23 three times, missing just one cut after previously dominating tours in Asia.

MAVERICK MCNEALY

Age: 26

World ranking: 70

FedExCup rank: 28

A model of consistent success who just hasn’t truly contended for wins enough this season to be mentioned amongst the premier names, McNealy has finished in the top 16 in each of his last three starts.

BRENDAN STEELE

Age: 39

World ranking: 109

FedExCup rank: 58

Not a rising star — just someone who has played some excellent golf over the last four months. Steele has made eight PGA Tour starts since the beginning of March. He’s made the cut in all eight, finishing in the top 26 in six of them.

That includes top 10s at The Memorial and the PGA Championship, with a 13th-place finish at The Players.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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