The second tournament of the West Coast Swing will be the Farmers Insurance Open located at the picturesque Torrey Pines in San Diego, CA. This tournament will be the 54th year Torrey Pines will host the Farmers.
Like last week, the tournament will play over multiple courses, the South and North Course. Golfers will play on both in the opening two rounds and move to the South over the final 36 holes. Both courses play as par 72s, with the South measuring at 7,765 yards on poa annua greens and the North playing shorter and more manageable at 7,258 yards. The North Course will be putt on bentgrass greens. The field is 156 golfers deep and will host six of the top 10 golfers in OWGR, including Dustin Johnson (+2200, $10,300), who is making his PGA TOUR season debut.
Torrey Pines won’t be yielding a ton of birdies, as we’ve seen over the past few weeks. Winning scores have been as low as six-under to as high as 21-under in the past, meaning coastal weather conditions will play a factor if they show up this week. A mixture of efficiency Off-the-Tee and SG: Approach-the-Green will be the formula for success this week. The previous five winners are gaining an average of 1.76 strokes per round over the field with their ball-striking.
The South Course is a behemoth, with seven par 4s measuring over 450 yards. Over the previous five years, golfers hit the fairway about 10 percent less here than the PGA TOUR average. Accuracy isn’t a prerequisite to winning this tournament, as was evident with Marc Leishman’s victory, where he only hit three fairways in the final round. Driving it in the short grass helps, but total driving with an emphasis on distance should be the preferred profile to target. We’ve also seen lower greens in regulation hit percentage here against the PGA TOUR average, with longer approach shots predominantly coming in from over 175 yards away. Our roster choices need to be trending with their long-irons or have a short game similar to Patrick Reed (+5000, $8,700) last year, leading the field in SG: Around-the-Green and finishing top 10 in SG: Putting. When building rosters, stacking lineups with golfers in a specific tee draw may do the trick. Over eight years, from 2011 to 2018, the eventual winners started on the South course, not being forced to play it three days in a row. This trend has been challenged recently with the last three winners (Justin Rose, Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed) all starting on the North Course.
Tony Finau (+2500 to Win, $9,100 on DraftKings)
If there’s ever a week to feel “confident” in Finau, it’s here at Farmers. We know how good of a ball-striker he is, but he becomes a short-game wizard in San Diego, ranking first in SG: Around-the-Green, and 18th in SG: Putting over the prior 30 rounds at this tournament. He’s also tied for first in SG: Total over his career at Torrey Pines, which has translated into two top-6 finishes, a top-5 and a runner-up finish last season since 2013. He’ll be chalk, but he’s cheap enough to roster this week. Will Zalatoris (+3000, $9,200) should also be on your shortlist of golfers to consider in SoCal. The former Demon Deacon shot a 61 in Round 2 last week and is hitting the ball exceptionally well, ranking inside the top-20 in ball-striking over the previous two dozen rounds. Zalatoris’ seventh-place here last season proves this poa annua set up on the South Course fits his game nicely.
Max Homa (+7000 to Win, $8,400 on DraftKings)
There’s a ‘buy-low’ opportunity with Matthew Wolff (+5000, $8,500), but we’ll save that for the betting article and side with Homa, who is a better option in totality this week. Homa won the Fortinet Championship five starts ago and finished ninth here in 2020 to go along with his top-20 last season. A couple of Homa’s recent wins at Quail Hollow and Riviera CC share similarities with Torrey Pines in their traditional, Tee-to-Green setup, making him a solid play in this range. Maverick McNealy (+4500, $8,200) also deserves a nod at this price. Another California-born player, McNealy has been on a solid run, finishing no worse than 27th in his previous four starts. McNealy’s top-15 here two seasons ago came from an all-around short-game performance. If he’s able to mix his current ball-striking prowess to go along with his work around and on the greens, he could be in line for a good week.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.
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