Preview – PGA Tour – Farmers Insurance Open – Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course host) – La Jolla, California –
The PGA Tour hosts the Farmers Insurance Open this week with some of the west coast’s most picturesque views, a host of FedEx Cup points and the opportunity for someone to gain momentum as the year’s first major championship approaches.
The event uses both the North and South courses at Torrey Pines and dates back to 1952.
Competitors play each course in the first two rounds before the cut. The South Course (7,600 yards) hosts the weekend. Early-low scoring on the shorter North Course (7,067 yards) should provide tournament swings on the leader board.
Players need to drive the ball straight and have sharp irons to score well at Torrey
Pines. Bumpy greens will certainly factor on the mental approach and scoring results. Just 9-under overall won the title a season ago.
While seven-time champion Tiger Woods is not here (still recovering from injuries), the headliners include local favorite Phil Mickelson (making his 20th appearance), defending champion Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, the 2015 PLAYERS champion who won last week’s European Tour event.
Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose make their U.S. debuts this week.
There is quite an international influence this week with the likes of Angel Cabrera, Paul Casey, Fabian Gomez (a winner at the Sony Open in Hawaii) and Anirban Lahiri.
The last five champions here include Day, Scott Stallings, Woods, Brandt Snedeker and Bubba Watson.
Golf Channel and CBS Sports share television coverage this week.
- Day (9-under) outlasted J.B. Holmes, Stallings and Harris English to win the title. Day’s second-round 65 set the pace into the weekend. Charles Howell III and Alex Prugh were T-5, while Martin Laird, Jimmy Walker, Nick Watney and Shane Lowry logged Top 10s. Day opened the week as a 14-to-1 betting pick.
FANTASY: South Course plays about 700 yards longer than the North Course, so factor that in when selecting daily match ups. The North Course ranks as one of the easiest on tour. Take Mickelson, who is playing in his own backyard with eight Top 10s here and three victories. He was also in contention last week at PGA West. Consider CH3, twice a runner-up here. He also has eight Top 10s at Torrey including T-5 last year. Avoid Fowler, coming back from a long trip. He was T-61 here in 2015. Take Snedeker, who won the West Coast Swing last year and enters in good form.
BETTORS: Day (6-1)and Fowler (10-1) are the overall betting favorites at www.golfodds.com. Take Snedeker (15-1) in this spot. The 2012 champion at Torrey lost in a playoff at the Sony. He putts well on these greens and was a runner-up in 2010 and 2013. Based on his past win (2014) and runner-up (2015), take a flier on Stallings at 100-1 as a horses-for-courses wager. Take Paul Casey at 40-1.
Other Golf News:
- The LPGA Tour returns to action this week for Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic
on Paradise Island. Inbee Park (4-1) is the betting favorite at www.skybet.com. The field also includes Lexi Thompson (8-1) and Stacy Lewis (10-1).
- The European Tour hosts the CommercialBank Qatar Masters this week. Brendan Grace is the defending champion. Louis Oosthuizen (7-under-65) co-leads after 18 holes.
- Day withdrew from the pro-am at Torrey Pines as he is fighting the flu.