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. Brandt Snedeker won in dramatic fashion last year when the tournament went to a Monday finish due to a weather delay. He went around in 69 in unbearable wet and windy conditions on Sunday beating KJ Choi by one single stroke.
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 7,607 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 7,607 Yards, par 72
The South Course is played in three of the four 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 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 to consider here are good poa annua putters, par 4 scoring, good current form and good previous form on this course. There are a lot of slopes and greenside bunkers around the greens so good GIR and scrambling stats will be required.
Snedeker has been in good form in the early part of this season. He missed the cut at the Sony but played well in Kapalua the week before finishing in a respectable T14 on 12 under par for the week. He has been playing well over the last few weeks with a win at the Fiji International at the start of October and then went on to finish T6 in The Bahamas at The Hero World Challenge. He had another good performance with partner Jason Dufner at The Franklin Templeton Shootout finishing solo eighth on 20 under par in total.
He has a great record here in Torrey Pines and played superb in unbearable conditions last year shooting a final round 69 to beat his nearest challenger, Korean KJ Choi by one stroke. Snedeker has two wins (2016 and 2012) and five top 10’s in 10 appearances here. He ranks 23rd in GIR and seventh in scrambling so far this season and looks a good shout here to have another good week here.
Walker seems to be back fit and healthy after a short illness at the Sony a couple of weeks ago and has been showing some decent form over the last couple of months. He played well at The World Cup of Golf at the end of November finishing T2 with fellow American Rickie Fowler and followed that with a T13 at The Hero World Challenge, which could have been better if it weren’t for a final round 73. Walker then started the New Year in style opening with a 65 in the first round of the SBS Tournament of Champions where he finished T9 on 14 under for the tournament.
He is another player with a great record in Torrey Pines with four top 10’s in his last five appearances. He was right in the mix going into the final round last year and managed a final round 77 to finish T4 in very tough wet and windy conditions. He finished T7 in 2015, T4 in 2013 and T8 in 2012. Statswise he ranks 14th in SG Approaches to the green, 28th in GIR and has great form playing on similar open, windy courses like Waialae and Pebble Beach. If Walker can get the putter rolling he could have a good chance here.
With the exception of a poor final round at the Sony, Pat has been playing well recently with a win and two top 10’s in his last four starts. He had a good week at The Shriners Open in Vegas where he finished 15 under par in total and T7 for the tournament. He then went on to win the OHL Classic at Myakoba on 21 under, which included an impressive third round 62. He had another good week in Kapalua finishing T3 at the SBS Tournament of Champions after shooting a final round 67.
Perez is another player that has a decent history here with one top five and three top 25’s in his last six appearances. Statswise he ranks 25th in SG around the green, fourth in par 5 scoring and 24th in birdie average. For a guy bang in form, Perez could be a good each way shout at a big price.
With an open, windy, “Linksy” setup, this could be right up the Scot’s street. Laird has had a decent start to the season with three top 15’s and a top 30 in his last four starts. He started with a top 10 at The Safeway Open back in October finishing T8 on 14 under for the tournament, which included three rounds in the 60’s. He followed that with a T27 at The Shriners Open in Vegas and a T13 at The OHL Classic. Laird’s first event of 2017 came last week at The CareerBuilder Challenge where he finished in a respectable T9 on 14 under for the week.
Martin has a good record here at Torrey with two top 10’s in his last two appearances. He finished T8 last year and shot a 77 in horrible conditions in the final round and posted a T7 in 2015 which included three round sin the 60’s. Statswise he ranks sixth in SG Approaches to the green, ninth in SGTTG, sixth in par 3 scoring and 18th in par 4 scoring.
Final Selections –
Brandt Snedeker 22/1 1pt EW
Jimmy Walker 25/1 0.5pts EW
Pat Perez 80/1 0.5 pts EW
Martin Laird 50/1 0.5 pts EW
Total staked = 5 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf.
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