Torrey Pines GC, San Diego, California
This week, the PGA Tour travels to Torrey Pines for The Farmers Insurance Open. It sits on the coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the community of La Jolla, just south of Torrey Pines State Reserve. There are two courses played here this week.
Both the North and South courses were designed by William F. Bell. The South Course was redesigned by Rees Jones in 2001, and is now 7,643 yard par 72. Since the late 1960s, Torrey Pines has hosted the Farmers Insurance Open. The tournament uses both courses for the first two rounds and the South Course for the final two rounds. It hosted the 2008 U.S. Open on the South Course, which was won by Tiger Woods in a playoff.
Here’s a more in depth look at the courses.
North Course 6,874 Yards, par 72
This is the easier of the two courses and roughly measures around 550 yards less than The South Course. It has four par 5’s, four par 3’s and 10 par fours. It is situated along the coastal cliffs of the Pacific Ocean and has a tendency to get a bit windy.
The fairways are a narrower and will be tricky to hit so driving accuracy will be a big plus. The greens on both courses are poa annua greens, which tends to get a bit bumpy as the day goes on so good poa annua putters will be worth considering.
South Course 7,643 Yards, par 72
The South Course is played in the final two rounds and tends to be a lot more difficult than the North course. It has four par 5’s and four par 3’s and sits next to the pacific ocean and is also prone to windy conditions. The fairways here are a little wider and more forgiving than The North Course, but length and power will be required here, which will favour the bigger hitters in the field. There a more hazards guarding the greens, so good scramblers could also be worth considering.
The main stats that jump out at me here are, good poa annua putters, power, par 4 scoring, good current form and good previous form on this course. The total driving stat is also important, as missing the fairway can be extremely costly. There are a lot of slopes and greenside bunkers around the greens so good GIR and scrambling stats will be required.
Jason Day 14/1
Jason Day started his season very well finishing T3 at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua a couple of weeks ago. He had a mixed bag of form shooting an opening round 70 and followed that with a 69 in round 2 and 71 in round 3. He began a late charge in the final round shooting a superb 62 finishing on -20, just one stroke behind the winner Patrick Reed.
He followed that with a respectable T17 at The Sony finishing on 10 under in total. After an injury stricken 2014, he started showing some signs of good form in December and went on to win The Franklin Templeton Shootout with Cameron Tringale. He also had a good week at The Hero World Challenge finishing solo 5th on 14 under par, which included an impressive final round 66.
After a win at The World Cup of Golf and The Accenture World Matchplay, Day also performed well in the last of the FedExCup playoffs at the end of October finishing T2 at The Barclays, T7 at The Deutsche Bank and T4 at The Tour Championship at East Lake. In his last two appearances here at Torrey Pines, Day finished T2 last year and T15 in 2013.
Statswise, Day ranks 28th in driving distance, first in GIR and birdie average and first in putting average. He also ranks first in par 4 scoring and 15th in par 3 scoring, which are two stats that will certainly be favorable on these courses.
Brandt Snedeker 25/1
After a good performance last week in Phoenix finishing T10 on 10 under par, Snedeker will be feeling confident coming back to a course where he has played so well on in the past. He comes here in good form with three top 10’s in his last four competitive starts. He started the season with a T57 at The Frys.com and followed that with a T10 at The Shriners Open and another T10 at The WGC HSBC Champions.
Sneds has a great record at this event with a win and three top 10’s in his last five starts in this tournament. He finished T3 in 2013, won in 2012, T9 in 2011 and T2 in 2010, so it’s fair to say he is a horse for the course. He is also a bit of a poa annua specialist and seems to putt very well on this grass type. This is further proven with his previous win here at Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach and Glen Abbey, which was the venue for the 2013 RBC Canadian Open.
Sneds found a solid putting stroke last week last week in Phoenix and will take that forward into this week. With three top 10’s in his last four starts, Snedeker could be one to watch here on a course he has played so well on in the past.
Marc Leishman 40/1
Leishman had a good end to 2014 with a solo ninth place finish at the WGC HSBC Champions in November. He followed that with a respectable T37 at The Sony Open in Hawaii, finishing on seven under for the tournament.
He is another player that has a good record here over the years with three top 10’s in his last five starts. He finished T2 last year to the eventual winner Scott Stallings, T9 in 2011 and second once again to the winner Ben Crane in 2010.
Leishman has the length to power his way around this golf course hitting the ball an average of 300 yards off the tee ranking 27th in driving distance. He also ranks 20th in strokes gained putting, 21st in total putting and third in approaches from 150-175, which is a good stat for approaches into the par 4’s. With a good finish to 2014 and a good history on this course, Leishman could go well here at a good price.
Justin Thomas 35/1
Justin Thomas is a player I have been keeping an eye on over the last few weeks and looks to be playing with a lot of consistency. He hasn’t finished outside the top 25 in his last five events, which included three top 10’s. His run of good form began back in November at The Sanderson Farms where he finished T4 on 13 under par for the week. He followed that with a T23 at the OHL Classic and a T6 at The Sony Open in Hawaii. He played very well at The Humana Challenge finishing T7 on 20 under par, which included a second round 63. Most recently, he had another good week in Phoenix finishing in a respectable T17 on eight under par.
Thomas played very well in this event last year finishing T10 on six under par for the tournament. Statswise he ranks 16th in driving distance, 34th in strokes gained tee to green, 13th in birdie average and seventh in putting average. He also ranks fourth in par 4 scoring and 11th in birdie or better conversion percentage. He comes here this year in much better form than he was last year and should have a good week considering his current form.
First Round Leader – North Course
Brandt Snedeker 20/1
As I said above, Snedeker has a great record around this course and has shot no worse than 71 in five of his last six opening rounds. He opened with a 65 in 2013, a 67 in 2012 and a 70 in 2011. He has also shot an impressive 64 in round 2 in 2012, so he knows how to go low around Torrey Pines.
In his last five starts on the PGA Tour, he has shot no worse than a 71. He started strongly at The Shriners Open shooting an opening 67 and went on to open with a 69 at The WGC HSBC Champions. He also started well last week in Phoenix shooting a 70 in round 1. With Snedeker’s previous form here and experience with these poa annua greens, he could potentially go low in round 1.
Final Selections –
Jason Day 14/1 1.5 pts EW
Brandt Snedeker 25/1 1 .5 pts EW
Marc Leishman 1 pt EW
Justin Thomas 35/1 1 pt EW
First Round Leader –
Brandt Snedeker 28/1 1 pt EW
Total staked = 12 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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