The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines will feature 156 players competing on the North and South courses. After 36 holes, the top 65 and ties will advance to the weekend, where both rounds will be played on the South course.
The South Course in particular is demanding off the tee because of the length of the holes, narrowness of the fairways, and thickness of the rough. Players who can hit it long will have a larger than normal edge this week. Most holes at the South Course favor those who can shape it left to right off the tee, and since the greens are typically firm, players who can hit their irons very high will have a better chance of getting approach shots close. Finally, given the firm greens, narrow fairways, long holes, and thick rough, players will miss more greens than normal this week, placing an emphasis on scrambling and and an ability to get up and down.
Let’s run through a few players who fit this criteria:
Tony Finau $9,300
Finau is a perfect fit for this course, and his five appearances at the Farmers Insurance Open, all of which resulted in a 24th-place finish or better, have confirmed as much. He is both one of the longest players on Tour and above average around the greens—a rare combination. Also, Finau is comfortable hitting the ball left to right off the tee and can launch his irons miles in the air when necessary. If he can persuade his putter to cooperate this week at Torrey Pines, he will contend.
Harris English $7,400
English comes into the Farmers under the radar. His career saw a resurgence in the fall as he finished sixth or better on four occasions. English is above average in length off the tee but was also one of the most accurate drivers this past fall. His history at Torrey Pines is positive: his past five appearances have included second, 8th, and 14th-place finishes. If English continues his solid off-the-tee performance, he should do well this week.
Sneds is your prototypical horse-for-a-course at Torrey Pines. His Farmers Insurance Open record is impeccable: in the past 10 years, he has finished ninth or better six times, including two wins and two runner-ups. He quietly placed 12th a few weeks ago at the Sony Open, so we can expect him to be in form this week. Snedeker is a great choice that allows you to save the Tour’s studs for later in the year.
If you don’t want to use Snedeker and don’t want to burn an elite player, look no further than Gary Woodland. He has finished in the top 20 at Torrey Pines in five of the past six years, and he comes into the Farmers on the heels of a 7th at Kapalua and a strong Asian swing that included top fives at the CJ Cup and Zozo Championship. Woodland can hit a fade off the tee and send his irons sky high, suiting him well to the South Course.