Torrey Pines GC, San Diego, California
Torrey Pines 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 this week both of which were designed by William F. Bell.
The South Course was redesigned by Rees Jones in 2001, and is now 7,698 yard par 72. 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 where Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff. The man himself makes his 2018 debut this week on a course he has so many good memories on with seven wins in total. The question is, will punters be backing him at 22/1?
North Course 7,258 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 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 so good poa annua putters will be worth considering.
South Course 7,698 Yards, par 72
The South Course is played in three of the four rounds and tends to be pose a much stiffer challenge than the North course. It has four par 5’s and four par 3’s and will certainly favour the longer hitters on TOUR.
The fairways here are a little wider and more forgiving than the North Course but length and power will be a huge advantage.
The main stats to consider are good poa annua putters, driving distance, 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.
Rahm is in fine fettle and comes back to the site of his first PGA Tour title where he won by three strokes last year after holing a phenomenal 60ft putt for an eagle on the 18th green. The Spaniard has been playing superb over the last three or four months finishing 3,4,5,7,1 in his last five events of the season including a win at the DP World in Dubai in November.
He comes here on the back of a second and a win so far in 2018 and even though he’s a measly 15/2, I’m still willing to nail my colours to the mast based on the fact that I think this course is right up his street.
Only for the fact that he missed a few putts on Saturday in round three, he would’ve won by three or four last week in California. He played well throughout the week and opened with a very impressive 62 and followed that with two more 67’s and a 70 in round three. He played very solidly the week before in Kapalua finishing solo second which included a 67,69 over the weekend.
Rahm looks very well suited to this course averaging just under 300 yards off the tee. He ranks sixth in SGTTG, fifth in SG off the tee, 23rd in scrambling and first in par 5 scoring. All in all its hard to bet against the in-form Spaniard here.
Tony has been a player I’ve kept in mind for this event over the last few weeks. He has been playing well since the start of the season back in October with form figures of 32,16,11,26,2 in his last five starts. At the Safeway Open back in October, Finau shot rounds of 70,65,71,69 to post 13 under par to finish solo second. He followed that with a T26 at the CJ Cup, T11 at the WGC HSBC Champions in China and a T16 at the Shriners Open in Vegas which included three 69’s in a row.
Finau started 2018 off with a respectable T26 at the Sony Open in Hawaii which included three 67’s. He is no stranger to playing well on tough, windy courses over the last few years finishing T9 in Kapalua last year, T27 at the Open in Birkdale last year, T18 at the Open in 2016 in Troon and a win at the blustery Puerto Rico Open in 2016.
He has a good record here in Torrey Pines finishing T24 in 2015, T18 in 2016 and T4 last year. Big hitting Tony ticks the boxes here averaging just under 330 off the tee ranking second in driving distance. He also ranks ninth in SGTTG, eighth in SG approaches to the green and 18th in par 5 scoring. At 33’s he looks great value here.
The big hitting youngster arrives to California after taking a week off last week and should be feeling nicely fresh. He has been in great form over the last few weeks finishing 17,23,19,MC,7 in his last five starts. He had a good week at the Safeway Open finishing T17 and followed that with a T23 at the CIMB Classic and a T19 at the CJ Cup in Korea.
In his first event of 2018 he started strongly with a T7 at the Sony open in Hawaii shooting rounds of 66,65,67,68 on his way to a 14 under par total.
Schneiderjans has shown he can play well on windy setups finishing second in Sedgefield CC last year at the Wyndham Championship where he was 1 stroke behind the winner Henrik Stenson. He also finished 12th at the Open in St Andrews in 2015 and finished third in Harbour Town at the RBC Heritage last April so he’s no stranger to windy courses.
He played very solid here last year where he shot two 69’s and two 71’s to finish T9 on eight under for the tournament. Statswise he is averaging 306 off the tee (31st in driving distance) which is a big plus especially for the South Course. Given he is playing well and clearly has good form on exposed courses, Schneiderjans looks worth chancing here at 40/1.
Stanley has been having a good season so far and is a real horse for the course here at Torrey Pines. He has gone 21,19,5,30,10 in his last five starts and looks to be trending in the right direction.
He started the season with a respectable T21 at the CIMB Classic and followed that with a T19 at the CJ Cup. The American had a great week at the WGC-HSBC Champions at the tricky SheshanGC back in November finishing T5 on eight under par in total shooting rounds of 71,68,69,72.
Stanley then started 2018 in Kapalua at the Sentry TOC where he didn’t seem to take to the course finishing last in 30th, but he did bounce back well with an impressive T10 at The Sony. He started with an opening round 64 and followed that with 67,65,71 to post 13 under.
Stanley has a good record in Torrey over the last few years and came close to victory in 2012.He had a healthy three shot lead on the 18th tee and ended up taking a disappointing triple bogey after finding water short of the 18th green and went on to lose a playoff to Brandt Snedeker. Despite that collapse, Stanley seems to like this course finishing T25 in 2016 and T14 last year and looks great value to have a good week here.
Final selections – Most bookmakers paying 7 places
Jon Rahm 1pt EW
Tony Finau 1pt EW
Ollie Schneiderjans 0.5pts EW
Kyle Stanley 0.5pts EW
Total staked = 6 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf.
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