The PGA Tour this week heads to Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, San Diego, California for the Farmers Insurance Open which hosts the second event in the ‘West Coast Swing’.
This event has been played at Torrey Pines since 1968. The first 36 holes are split between the South course and North course, with the last 36 holes played on the South course. The North course is the shortest and easiest of the two courses. The South course measures 6956 metres and is the longest course played in a regular PGA Tour event.
Torrey Pines hosted the 2008 US Open which was famously won by Tiger Woods after an 18 hole sudden death play-off with Rocco Mediate. Tiger has won this event on seven occasions, including 4 in a row from 2005-2008. This week he is the Defending Champion.
Farmers Insurance have sponsored this event since 2010, prior to this to was more commonly known as the Buick Invitational from 1992-2009. It was originally called the San Diego Open, dating back to 1927.
There are a few keys to winning this event, however the main one is LENGTH!
If you look at the past winners of this event, you will notice names such as Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Nick Watney, John Daly and Phil Mickelson. These guys rank highly on the distance charts year in and year out.
Another factor is the Poa Annua greens, these can be quite testy at times especially in the morning when fog is around the course. It can make the greens inconsistent and really test a players patience. So we need to take this into account when looking for a possible winner. Guys who have a good putting game should be looked at closely.
Scrambling stats are also a factor at Torrey Pines. Good scramblers have always done well here. Look for a player who is able to get it up and down to win.
The Bookies Top 5 in betting this week are- $13.00 Jason Day, $13.00 Jordan Spieth, $13.00 Jimmy Walker, $19.00 Hideki Matsuyama and $23.00 Rickie Fowler.
Taking all these factors into account I have two players who should be worth following this week.
Justin is another of the young brigade who has made thier way through the web.com tour. This kid has game and plenty of it. From 20 starts last year on the web.com he manged a win along with a further seven top 10 finishes.
From there he played five events on the PGA Tour after claiming his golden ticket to the big dance! Not to be over shadowed by the bigger names he managed to make three cuts with the highlight being a T4th at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
The 21 year old from Kentucky rocked up to the PGA Tour this year to contend his first full season. Like a lot of the young guns these days they are not fazed by much at all and his start to the year has proven just that.
First up was a T6th at The Sony Open were he was ranked 3rd in driving distance, 35th in greens in regulation, 14th in strokes gained putting and 8th in putts per GIR. Next up was the Humana Challenge where he finished T7th and again he produced the goods stats wise. 1st in birdies, 2nd in driving distance, 20th in GIR and 4th in putts per GIR.
Thomas then continued the form last week at the Phoenix Open where he finished T17th. And again his driving distance had him ranked 6th as was as 6th in GIR and 23rd in putts per GIR. This kid is a serious talent! And should not be under estimated again this week.
Last year was not a great year for Snedeker. Yes, he started the year with a win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions however after that there was nothing really to write home about. From 28 starts he only managed five Top 10’s.
This year he started out at the Humana Challenge where he missed the cut. No doubt that blew away the cobwebs as he managed a T1oth last week at the Phoenix Open with him showing some encouraging play during his four rounds.
It is also back to a happy hunting ground this week as Brandt took out this tournament in 2012 and has also had a further four Top 10 finishes here from eight starts. So after an encouraging finish last week where he was ranked 13th in driving accuracy, 3rd in strokes gained putting and 3rd in putts per GIR, you know he will be looking forward to playing back at Torrey Pines.
When his putter is hot there are not to many better guys with the short stick than Brandt Snedeker, so make sure you keep an eye on him this week.
Good luck and Good Punting.