Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Farmers Insurance Open Tips 2024

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Congratulations to you if you were on amateur Nick Dunlap at Monday prices of anything up to 300/1 at The American Express. I make that 150/1, 400/1 and 300/1 winners of the first three PGA Tour events in 2024. It’s certainly not been predictable!

This week is the ‘real’ start of the PGA Tour in many fans’ eyes as we return to La Jolla, just North of San Diego, for the Farmers Insurance Open at the iconic Torrey Pines which starts on WEDNESDAY.

Despite not being an elevated event, a high-class field including defending champion Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im, Jason Day and Tony Finau, plus DP World Tour graduates Min Woo Lee, Adrian Meronk, Nicolai Hojgaard and Robert MacIntyre, have all been attracted to the classical Torrey Pines course on the Pacific coastline.

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Before we go into the detail surrounding the Farmers Insurance Open, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System Podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,300 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Guide: The Farmers Insurance Open is played on the South and North courses at Torrey Pines. The 7,765 yard (at sea-level) South Course, which was renovated in 2019 by Rees Jones prior to 2021’s U.S. Open, hosts 3 rounds in total with each entrant also playing 18 holes on the North Course on either Thursday or Friday.

The world-famous South Course, which runs above the Pacific Ocean, is a classical design that plays as the longest course on the PGA Tour. Penal rough, specialised Kikuyugrass/Ryegrass mix rough, and green complex designs that repel approach shots makes scoring particularly difficult.

The North Course, which received a Tom Weiskopf-inspired renovation prior to the 2017 renewal, is a relatively short Par 72 which continues to set up for low scoring which can prove pivotal in tournament play. To add to the complexity, the South Course features Poa Annua greens whereas the North features pure Bentgrass greens.

Torrey Pines South Course, San Diego, South California: Designer: Bell 1957, Rees Jones re-design 2001 and 2019; Course Type: Coastal, Classical, Technical Scoring, Long; Par: 72; Length: 7,765 yards; Holes with Water In-Play: 1; Number of Bunkers: 82; Acres of Fairway: 20; Fairways: Bermudagrass overseeded with Ryegrass; Rough: Kikuyugrass with Ryegrass 4″; Greens: 5,000 sq.ft average featuring Poa Annua; Tournament Stimp: 11.5ft.

Course Scoring Average: 2012: 72.36 (+0.36), Difficulty Rank 21 of 49 courses. 2013: 72.66 (+0.66), Difficulty Rank 16 of 43 courses. 2014: 73.80 (+1.80), Rank 6 of 52 courses. 2015: 73.52 (+1.52), Rank 6 of 52 courses, 2016: 74.50 (+2.50), Rank 2 of 50 courses. 2017: 72.77 (+0.77), Rank 14 of 50 courses. 2018: 72.81 (+0.81), Rank 8 of 51 courses. 2019: 71.73 (-0.27), Rank 18 of 49 courses. 2020: 72.53 (+0.53), Rank 7 of 41 courses. 2021: 73.34 (+1.34), Rank 4 of 51 courses. 2022: 72.35 (+0.35), Rank 15 of 50 courses. 2023: 73.62 (+1.62), Rank 4 of 49 courses.

Torrey Pines North Course: Designer: 1957, Tom Weiskopf re-design 2016; Course Type: Coastal, Resort Scoring, Medium Length; Par: 72; Length: 7,258 yards; Holes with Water In-Play: 1; Number of Bunkers: 42; Acres of Fairway: 18; Fairways Bermudagrass overseeded with Ryegrass; Rough: Kikuyugrass with Ryegrass 4″; Greens: 6,000 sq.ft average featuring Bentgrass; Tournament Stimp: 10.5ft.

Course Scoring Average: 2012: 69.55 (-2.45), Difficulty Rank 47 of 49 courses. 2013: 70.67 (-1.33), Difficulty Rank 35 of 43 courses. 2014: 70.24 (-1.76), Rank 44 of 48 courses. 2015: 70.23 (-1.77), Rank 46 of 52 courses. 2016: 70.93 (-1.07), Rank 38 of 50 courses. Re-Design 2017: 71.28 (-0.72), Rank 32 of 50 courses. 2018: 71.41 (-0.59), Rank 28 of 51 courses. 2019: 69.84 (-2.16), Rank 45 of 49 courses. 2020: 70.58 (-1.42), Rank 33 of 41 courses. 2021: 70.13 (-1.87), Rank 44 of 51 courses. 2022: 68.77 (-3.23), Rank 48 of 50 courses. 2023: 71.46 (-0.54), Rank 24 of 49 courses.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes, other Rees Jones and Tom Weiskopf designs include:

Rees Jones

  • Aronimink GC – 2010,2011 A&T National + 2018 BMW Championship
  • Baltusrol – 2016 PGA Championship
  • Bellerive CC – 2018 PGA Championship
  • Bethpage Black – 2009 U.S Open, 2019 PGA Championship + 2012/2016 The Barclays
  • Blue Course, Congressional CC – 2011 U.S. Open + 2012-2014 & 2016 National
  • Blue Course, Royal Montreal GC – 2014 RBC Canadian Open
  • Dubsdread, Cog Hill GCC – 2009,2010,2011 BMW Championship
  • East Lake GC – Tour Championship
  • GC of Houston – Houston Open
  • Hazeltine – 2009 PGA Championship
  • Highlands Course, Atlanta Athletic Club – 2011 PGA Championship
  • Medinah Number 3 – 2019 BMW Championship

Tom Weiskopf

  • Stadium Course, TPC Scottsdale – Waste Management Phoenix Open

Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for Torrey Pines South Course and how they compare to recent courses that we’ve seen on Tour:

  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • Pete Dye Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.
  • Seaside Course: 250 yards from the tee: 42 yards wide; 275:40; 300:34; 325:31; 350:23.
  • TPC Summerlin: 250 yards from the tee: 35 yards wide; 275:37; 300:33; 325:30; 350:31.
  • CC of Jackson: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:28; 300:29; 325:28; 350:25.
  • Silverado: 250 yards from the tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:24; 325:25; 350:24.
  • East Lake: 250 yards from the tee: 28 yards wide; 275:26; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • TPC Southwind: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:29; 300:28; 325:31; 350:25.

Course Overview: I’ll talk about the classical and sometimes brutal Torrey Pines South Course which hosts 54 holes of action this week in a short while, but it’s worth recognising that the North Course received a Tom Weiskopf re-design which was played for the first time in 2017. The course was effectively lengthened, re-routed and now features pure Bentgrass green complexes. Those putting surfaces have undoubtedly settled down and rounds of -10/62 (Rahm/Palmer/Schenk/Smalley) and -9/63 (Ghim/Horschel/Redman/Rose/Thomas) have been seen over the past 5 renewals, 2019 included. If you want to win, you need to make a score on the North Course. Rose, Leishman, Reed, List and Homa shot 63, 68, 64, 68 and 68 respectively.

Rees Jones’ South Course is naturally the star of this tournament and in 2020 we saw a changed course as the “Open Doctor” oversaw a $14 million renovation with the 2021 U.S. Open in mind. Jones and assistant Greg Muirhead added some tees and shifted around bunkers to help the course defend itself even more. The most noticeable changes are at the par-5 9th, and the par-4 10th, 15th and 17th holes. A new cross-hole bunker 50 yards short of the 9th green will make players have to think more when going for the green in 2 shots.

The 10th was always a relatively easy drive and wedge start to the back-9, but with a new back tee box, the visual of the hole has changed dramatically, with the left side of the fairway split with a bunker, while a right fairway bunker pinches the landing zone. The 15th has again been lengthened to now play at 480 yards. The 17th also features a new back tee box, a pinched fairway landing area. So the longest course on the PGA Tour schedule now plays even longer.

Torrey Pines South features seven 450+ yard par-4s, whilst all 4 of the par-5s are over 560 yards. The course features Poa Annua greens, the likes of which are only found on the west coast and north east of the United States plus Canada. Both courses also feature Kikuyugrass rough, the likes of which are only seen here, at Riviera, plus previously at the WGC held at Chapultepec in Mexico, on the PGA Tour. Long and thick Kikuyugrass mixed with Ryegrass rough means that the South Course is extremely difficult in terms of proximity to the hole from the rough.

It’s also imperative to note that the South Course’s Poa Annua greens are notoriously difficult to putt on, so look for those who have done well here previously or at Pebble, Riviera, Bethpage Black plus the recent U.S. Opens hosted at Oakmont (2016), Shinnecock Hills (2018), Winged Foot (2020) and of course here (2021).

farmers insurance open tips

Farmers Insurance Open Winners: 2023: Max Homa (-13); 2022: Luke List (-15); 2021: Patrick Reed (-14); 2020: Marc Leishman (-15); 2019: Justin Rose (-21); 2018: Jason Day (-9); 2017: Jon Rahm (-13); 2016: Brandt Snedeker (-6); 2015: Jason Day (-9); 2014: Scott Stallings (-9); 2013: Tiger Woods (-15); 2012: Brandt Snedeker (-16); 2011: Bubba Watson (-16); 2010: Ben Crane (-13).

  • 2023: Max Homa 68-70-71-66 -13/275 North/South
  • 2022: Luke List 67-68-72-66 -15/273 South/North
  • 2021: Patrick Reed 64-72-70-68 -14/274 North/South
  • 2020: Marc Leishman 68-72-68-65 -15/273 North/South
  • 2019: Justin Rose 63-66-69-69 -21/267 North/South

Path to Victory: Below are the end-of-round positions for Farmers winners since 2010:

  • 2023 – Max Homa: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2022 – Luke List: Round 1: 9th, Round 2: 6th, Round 3: 19th.
  • 2021 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2020 – Marc Leishman: Round 1: 11th, Round 2: 17th, Round 3: 7th.
  • 2019 – Justin Rose: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2018 – Jason Day: Round 1: 113th, Round 2: 6th, Round 3: 5th.
  • 2017 – Jon Rahm: Round 1: 77th, Round 2: 21st, Round 3: 13th.
  • 2016 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 90th, Round 2: 57th, Round 3: 27th.
  • 2015 – Jason Day: Round 1: 95th, Round 2: 6th, Round 3: 8th.
  • 2014 – Scott Stallings: Round 1: 63rd, Round 2: 11th, Round 3: 6th.
  • 2013 – Tiger Woods: Round 1: 20th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2012 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 17th, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 6th.
  • 2011 – Bubba Watson: Round 1: 54th, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 3rd
  • 2010 – Ben Crane: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2 5th, Round 3: 2nd.

Shots From the Lead: Below are Farmers winners and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament since 2010:

  • 2023 – Max Homa: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 6 back, Round 3: 5 back.
  • 2022 – Luke List: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 5 back.
  • 2021 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: level, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: level.
  • 2020 – Marc Leishman: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 6 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2019 – Justin Rose: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 3 ahead, Round 3: 3 ahead.
  • 2018 – Jason Day: Round 1: 8 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2017 – Jon Rahm: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 5 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2016 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 8 back, Round 3: 6 back.
  • 2015 – Jason Day: Round 1: 9 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2014 – Scott Stallings: Round 1: 8 back, Round 2: 5 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2013 – Tiger Woods: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 2 ahead, Round 3: 4 ahead.
  • 2012 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 7 back.
  • 2011 – Bubba Watson: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2010 – Ben Crane: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 2 back.

OWGR of Farmers Insurance Open Winners: 2023: Homa 16; 2022: List 151; 2021: Reed 11; 2020: Leishman 28; 2019: Rose 1; 2018: Day 13; 2017: Rahm 135.

Cut Line: 2023: E; 2022: -3; 2021: -1; 2020: -1; 2019: -3; 2018: -1; 2017: E.

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2023: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -12; Round 3 -12; Round -13.
  • 2022: Round 1 -9; Round 2 -13; Round 3 -14; Round -15.
  • 2021: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -9; Round 3 -10; Round 4 -14.
  • 2020: Round 1 -6; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -12; Round 4 -15.
  • 2019: Round 1 -10; Round 2 -15; Round 3 -18; Round 4 -21.
  • 2018: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -11; Round 3 -11; Round 4 -10.
  • 2017: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -8; Round 3 -9; Round 4 -13.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combined Stats.

My published predictor is available here. Top 10 of my published predictor are: Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im, Jason Day, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley and Harris English.

Our brand new predictor model is running alongside, where you can build your own rankings in live time, using the variables listed on the left hand side.

Farmers Insurance Open Winning Odds: 2023: Homa 25/1; 2022: List 90/1; 2021: Reed 25/1; 2020: Leishman 55/1; 2019: Rose 14/1; 2018: Day 22/1; 2017: Rahm 55/1; 2016: Snedeker 18/1; 2015: Day 14/1; 2014: Stallings 250/1; 2013: Woods 15/2; 2012: Snedeker 22/1; 2011: Watson 66/1; 2010: Crane 80/1. Past 5 Renewals Average: 42/1; Overall Average: 53/1.

Historical Weather:

  • 2023: Wednesday: Sunny. High of 63. Wind WNW 6-12 mph. Thursday: Sunny. High of 70. Wind NE 15-20 mph, gusting to 30 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 65. Wind W 6-12 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 65. Wind W 6-12 mph.
  • 2022: Wednesday: Sunny. High of 65. Wind W 6-12 mph. Thursday: Sunny. High of 66. Wind WNW 8-16 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 70. Wind NW 6-12 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy. High of 67. Wind WNW 6-12 mph.
  • 2021: Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 59. Wind SSW 6-12 mph. Due to anticipated rain on Friday and the tournament using a two course format in the first two rounds, preferred lies were in use during the first round. Friday: After an estimated 0.90 inches of rain fell Thursday night, it was sunny early with rain and hail later in the day. High of 59. Wind WSW 12-18 mph, gusting to 25 mph. Preferred lies were in use during the second round. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 59. Wind NW 5-10 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy. High of 62. Wind NW 5-10 mph.
  • 2020: Thursday: Sunny. High of 64. Wind NW 5-10 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. High of 63. Wind W 5-10 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 65. Wind W 5-10 mph. Due to fog, play was delayed two hours Sunday: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 60. Wind WSW 6-12 mph.
  • 2019: Thursday: Sunny. High of 70. Wind NW 7-14 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 71. Wind NW 6-12 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 75. Wind NW 7-14 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 71. Wind WNW 6-12 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Mostly cloudy. High of 60. Wind W 10-15 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 62. Wind NW 10 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 68. Wind NW 10 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 80. Wind NNE 12-18 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph. Monday: Sunny and 70. Wind light and variable.
  • 2017: Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 58. Wind NW 8-15 mph. Friday: Sunny, with a high of 61. Wind NW 8-15 mph, with gusts of 20 mph. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 64. Wind NW 8-14 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 67. Wind NW 8-15 mph.
  • 2016: Thursday: Mostly sunny. High of 67. Wind WNW 7-12 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. High of 66. Wind WNW 8-12 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 61 degrees. Wind WSW 12-15 mph. Sunday: Overcast, with heavy rains off and on throughout the day. Strong SW winds were sustained at 15-25 mph, with gusts to 45 mph. Play was again suspended at 1:57 p.m. A total of 49 players were left on the course. Monday: Partly cloudy, with a high of 60 degrees. NW wind sustained at 15-30 mph, with gusts to 35 mph.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for La Jolla, California is here.

Weather in the main looks fine for the Farmers Insurance Open this week. Temperatures will be 15-20 degrees Celsius – 59-68 Fahrenheit which is standard for this event in late January. Wind looks light with nothing higher than 10 mph forecast. Rain has fallen on Saturday and Sunday and is forecast for tournament Monday, so I would expect soft turf conditions on Wednesday at the very least, with no other rain forecast. Rough though is up to 4″ this year. In summary, pretty ideal course conditions.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Qatar Masters which includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour events, where recorded, plus the Hero World Challenge. Player rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Roger Sloan; 2) Adrian Meronk; 3) Ryan McCormick / Taylor Moore; 5) Kevin Dougherty / Max Homa / Collin Morikawa; 8) Min Woo Lee; 9) Beau Hossler; 10) Daniel Berger / Harris English; 12) Nicolai Hojgaard; 13) Austin Eckroat; 14) Keith Mitchell; 16) Jason Day / Tony Finau / Taiga Semikawa / Adam Svensson; 20) Sepp Straka; 21) Doug Ghim / Rico Hoey; 23) Patrick Cantlay / Ryan Fox / Luke List / Aaron Rai.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Mac Meissner; 2) Victor Perez; 3) Max Homa / Hayden Springer; 5) Nicolai Hojgaard; 6) Christiaan Bezuidenhout / Collin Morikawa; 8) Keegan Bradley; 9) Adam Svensson; 10) Scott Gutschewski / Sepp Straka; 12) Thomas Detry; 13) Adrian Meronk / Roger Sloan; 15) Greyson Sigg; 16) Luke List; 17) Daniel Berger; 18) Tom Hoge; 19) Taylor Montgomery; 20) Ludvig Aberg; 21) Tony Finau / Troy Merritt / Chandler Phillips; 24) Alexander Bjork; 25) Jason Day.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Hayden Springer; 2) Min Woo Lee; 3) J.J. Spaun; 4) Xander Schauffele; 5) Hideki Matsuyama; 6) Jason Day / Tony Finau; 8) Max Homa / Patrick Rodgers; 10) Stewart Cink / Ryo Hisatsune / Collin Morikawa; 13) Aaron Baddeley; 14) Mackenzie Hughes; 15) Keegan Bradley / Sepp Straka; 17) Jhonattan Vegas; 18) Shane Lowry / Justin Rose; 20) Nicolai Hojgaard / Taylor Moore / Matt Wallace; 23) Harrison Endycott / Troy Merritt / Victor Perez.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Hayden Springer; 2) Max Homa; 3) Mac Meissner; 4) Collin Morikawa; 5) Adrian Meronk; 6) Nicolai Hojgaard; 7) Xander Schauffele; 8) Min Woo Lee; 9) Keegan Bradley; 10) Sepp Straka; 11) Jason Day / Tony Finau / Roger Sloan; 15) Adam Svensson; 16) Aaron Rai; 17) Daniel Berger; 18) Christiaan Bezuidenhout / Keith Mitchell / Victor Perez; 21) Mackenzie Hughes; 22) Taylor Moore; 23) Austin Eckroat / Hideki Matsuyama; 25) Patrick Rodgers.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Ben Griffin / Tom Whitney; 3) Mackenzie Hughes; 4) Harris English; 5) Ryo Hisatsune; 6) Stewart Cink / Sepp Straka; 8) Christiaan Bezuidenhout; 9) Emiliano Grillo; 10) Trace Crowe / Victor Perez; 12) Mac Meissner / Xander Schauffele; 14) Collin Morikawa / Jimmy Stanger; 16) Chad Ramey; 17) Keegan Bradley / Justin Rose; 19) Ryan Fox / Max Homa / Taylor Moore; 22) Adrian Meronk; 23) Troy Merritt; 24) Michael Kim; 25) Ludvig Aberg / S.H. Kim.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Christiaan Bezuidenhout; 2) Collin Morikawa; 3) Xander Schauffele; 4) Nicolai Hojgaard / Max Homa; 6) Mackenzie Hughes; 7) Harris English / Sepp Straka; 9) Eric Cole / Sungjae Im / Adrian Meronk; 12) Jason Day /  Ryo Hisatsune / Min Woo Lee; 15) Patrick Rodgers; 16) Keegan Bradley; 17) Victor Perez; 18) Ludvig Aberg / Tony Finau / Ben Griffin; 21) Matthieu Pavon; 22) Michael Kim; 23) Taylor Moore; 24) Matt Wallace; 25) Adam Svensson.

Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the Strokes Gained Stats of The Farmers Insurance Open winners at the host Torrey Pines South Course (54 holes) since 2016 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this desert, short, Par 72:

Strokes Gained Tournament Trends:

  • 2023, Max Homa (-13). SG Off the Tee: 31st, SG Approach: 1st, SG Around the Green: 24th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 9th.
  • 2022, Luke List (-15). SG Off the Tee: 21st, SG Approach: 4th, SG Around the Green: 32nd, SG Tee to Green: 5th, SG Putting: 8th.
  • 2021, Patrick Reed (-14). SG Off the Tee: 31st, SG Approach: 39th, SG Around the Green: 1st, SG Tee to Green: 12th, SG Putting: 10th.
  • 2020, Marc Leishman (-15). SG Off the Tee: 48th, SG Approach: 5th, SG Around the Green: 56th, SG Tee to Green: 16th, SG Putting: 1st.
  • 2019, Justin Rose (-21). SG Off the Tee: 13th, SG Approach: 5th, SG Around the Green: 16th, SG Tee to Green: 2nd, SG Putting: 28th.
  • 2018, Jason Day (-9). SG Off the Tee: 8th, SG Approach: 50th, SG Around the Green: 23rd, SG Tee to Green: 24th, SG Putting: 31st.
  • 2017, Jon Rahm (-13). SG Off the Tee: 1st, SG Approach: 4th, SG Around the Green: 38th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 37th.
  • 2016, Brandt Snedeker (-6). SG Off the Tee: 55th, SG Approach: 17th, SG Around the Green: 19th, SG Tee to Green: 26th, SG Putting: 30th

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 26th, SG Approach: 16th, SG Around the Green: 26th, SG Tee to Green: 11th, SG Putting: 20th.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the winners here since 2010 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2023, Max Homa (-13). 294 yards (55th), 60.7% fairways (9th), 73.6% greens in regulation (3rd), 33’6″ proximity to hole (10th), 63.2% scrambling (14th), 1.70 putts per GIR (6th).
  • 2022, Luke List (-15). 314 yards (12th), 51.8% fairways (44th), 73.6% greens in regulation (11th), 30’0″ proximity to hole (4th), 79.0 % scrambling (6th), 1.72 putts per GIR (28th).
  • 2021, Patrick Reed (-14). 288 yards (52nd), 64.3% fairways (9th), 61.1% greens in regulation (63rd), 37’9″ proximity to hole (46th), 71.4 % scrambling (6th), 1.59 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2020, Marc Leishman (-15). 296 yards (34th), 48.2% fairways (58th), 72.2% greens in regulation (14th), 33’10” proximity to hole (17th), 75.0 % scrambling (4th), 1.67 putts per GIR (4th).
  • 2019, Justin Rose (-21). 310 yards (11th), 62.5% fairways (8th), 77.8% greens in regulation (2nd), 32’11” proximity to hole (17th), 56.3 % scrambling (58th), 1.59 putts per GIR (3rd).
  • 2018, Jason Day (-9). 319 yards (2nd), 53.6% fairways (26th), 68.1% greens in regulation (11th), 36’6″ proximity to hole (22nd), 65.2 % scrambling (17th), 1.63 putts per GIR (4th).
  • 2017, Jon Rahm (-13). 297 yards (16th), 60.7% fairways (19th), 73.6% greens in regulation (12th), 28’11” proximity to hole (3rd), 68.4 % scrambling (10th), 1.72 putts per GIR (10th).
  • 2016, Brandt Snedeker (-6). 289 yards (45th), 41.1% fairways (57th), 66.7% greens in regulation (14th), 32’9″ proximity to hole (4th), 62.5 % scrambling (5th), 1.70 putts per GIR (16th).
  • 2015, Jason Day (-9). 309 yards (1st), 46.4% fairways (49th), 70.8% greens in regulation (10th), 42’5″ proximity to hole (61st), 71.4 % scrambling (8th), 1.76 putts per GIR (33rd).
  • 2014, Scott Stallings (-9). 292 yards (24th), 50.0% fairways (45th), 66.7% greens in regulation (23rd), 42’0″ proximity to hole (64th), 62.5 % scrambling (24th), 1.69 putts per GIR (10th).
  • 2013, Tiger Woods (-15). 307 yards (2nd), 57.1% fairways (17th), 69.4% greens in regulation (34th), 38’0″ proximity to hole (45th), 59.1% scrambling (42nd), 1.66 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2012, Brandt Snedeker (-16). 285 yards (47th), 58.9% fairways (13th), 70.8% greens in regulation (33rd), 34’10” proximity to hole (27th), 71.4% scrambling (6th), 1.69 putts per GIR (8th).
  • 2011, Bubba Watson (-16). 317 yards (1st), 50.0% fairways (29th), 81.9% greens in regulation (1st), 25’10” proximity to hole (1st), 46.2% scrambling (54th), 1.73 putts per GIR (26th).
  • 2010, Ben Crane (-13). 273 yards (51st), 67.9% fairways (10th), 87.5% greens in regulation (1st), 30’8″ proximity to hole (6th), 44.4% scrambling (46th), 1.79 putts per GIR (42nd).

Tournament Skill Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 25th, Driving Accuracy: 28th, Greens in Regulation: 16th, Proximity to Hole: 23rd, Scrambling: 21st, Putting Average 14th.

So let’s take a view from players as to how the Farmers Insurance Open courses set up, plus what skill sets they favour:

Max Homa (2023): South Course: “Yeah, drastically different days, both course and weather. The South is just so much harder. Tee to green it’s getting a lot more comparable to the North. The North has a couple holes that are a little bit easier than a couple of the holes on the South, but you add in the poa greens and a bunch of people playing on them so they get bumpy. And then obviously this wind today was hard, putting was hard, pulling a club was hard. Yeah, it was a drastically different couple of rounds.

Yeah, I would honestly say if the greens were as firm as they are here in the summer, it would feel very similar. Maybe a couple different pins, but that South is a bear even on the most perfect San Diego day. Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely more of that. It’s more kind of patience, picking your spots, hitting a lot of shots to 20 feet that are great and then hopefully holing a couple putts. But it’s hard to go around there unscathed, but it’s a great test. That South Course is an incredible golf course.

Man, good iron play. Four, if you hit the fairway where the pin was, it’s in a bit of a bowl. Three, you get kind of guessing, I hit a good 9-iron and it got about as close as I think it could have, made a nice putt. Then 6 was playing long today, but it’s still the easiest hole probably out here. And then 5, I hit a really good bunker shot and that was probably the luckiest putt of the day. It was a straight-up guess on where to aim it. Some fortune, some good shots, some good swings.”

Luke List (2022): South Course: ” Yeah, I got off to a good start on the front nine with those four birdies. I was kind of talking to my coach before the round about how the dynamic of this tour and the game has changed with people being so aggressive and making a ton of birdies each week now. so I kind of knew to have any sort of chance I needed a good round and to go out and get off to a good start really helped, and to kind of keep plugging, I made that one bogey on 17, but other than that I played really solid all day, so I was happy with that finish on 18.

What was your club in on the playoff hole? “It was a wedge. He pulled a great number there, too. We were talking about it, I was 135 but it cooled off. Obviously out there when the sun goes down and living out in California I know that very well, so I drew back on some experience there. It was a good 12 yards of cool air and hurt off the left. We even played a 150-shot from 135 and it turned out perfectly.”

Patrick Reed (2021): North Course: “You know, kind of put myself in position today where I had to go out knowing that we’re going to get pretty good conditions, go out and try to make as many birdies as possible to be able to kind of weather the storm tomorrow. I was able to kind of get off to a hot start and just kind of ride momentum going on through the rest of the round and continue attacking that golf course since that’s the one you’re able to attack.

South Course: “You know, the back, the back was tough I mean, just in general. I step up, I made that long putt on 10 for par and really get to 11, it’s a hybrid on a par-3, plug it, plug it in the bunker. And then on 12 I hit a soft 3-wood into 12 today from the fairway. So the golf course is playing tough.

“Seemed like on the front nine the balls were hanging in on the edges of fairways or turning into the fairway and on the back nine it seemed like the balls were starting where they wanted to, it just seemed to keep on falling in the wrong direction and end up just in the rough. When you’re playing out of the rough, especially on this back nine, it’s a grind. I got on the wrong side of that where I was in the rough seemed like the whole time, putting it in the wrong spots. And the greens got a little bumpy there towards the end, missed a shorty on the par 5, which was a bad putt, a three-putt and a short one on 17.”

“And then really it was the decision on 15. I’m setting up there and had an okay lie in the left rough where Kessler and I were actually considering hitting hybrid and try to squeeze it near the tree and try to get it up there. To sit there and go, you know what, no, I’m just going to hit 7-iron out there to about 50, 55 yards and allow my wedges to do the work. To be able to not only make a quality golf swing with the 7-iron and then to hit the wedge shot in there to basically a foot and a half, two feet was I felt like a big turning point that allowed me to feel comfortable with how the game is and really my thought process around this golf course.”

Marc Leishman (2020): “So it was funny because I drove it really well early in the week and then clearly I didn’t drive it well today. But my iron game was really good and then the putter. I holed some really good par saves there on the whole back nine really. Yeah, a bit of extra practice early in the week on the putting green get used to the Poa Annua. Kind of had a good feeling, but you never know what your week’s going to be like. So found something on the putting green early in the week and run with that. I said to Matty, when I had the putter in my hand, feels like it did in Malaysia a couple years ago when I won there, which it’s nice when it happens like that occasionally. I wish it could be like that every week.

I grew up on this grass, I grew up on kikuyu fairways, poa greens. It’s very, I mean, it’s hit and miss, you either putt great on it or you putt terribly, so I’m just glad it was a great. You saw some of the places I hit it, it wasn’t the most impressive stuff off the tee today, but if you miss it in the right spots and your putter’s hot, you can shoot anything. I proved that today. It’s nice to be able to do that and this feels pretty sweet.”

Justin Rose (2019): North Course: “I put the driver in as well, drove it unbelievably well today, drove it long. I was able to take advantage of the par 5s out there and putted it good enough today to obviously shoot 9 under. The North greens are still so good. Obviously they’re a couple years old, but they’re still rolling pure. It’s the kind of golf course that you want to make the most of on a day like today. Obviously the greens are so good that if you’re in trouble, you can save pars, and obviously if you’re hitting a lot of greens like I did today, you feel like you should be making putts on those surfaces. Took advantage of the par 5s for the most part, probably played them in 4 under, I think. Eagled my first hole of the day, which got things up and running.”

South Course: “Yeah, I think it’s one of my favorite places, one of my favorite stops on Tour obviously. The South course is – I’m looking forward to getting some momentum on that one. We get to play it three days in a row, so it’s nice to get the North out of the way, shoot a good score, just what you have to do. Now I can focus on the South course. Obviously a different type of green, you go from the bent to the poa annua, but just the views out there, I think the design of the South course is one of my favorites. So yeah, anytime you enjoy playing a course, it tends to suit your eye. The South Course, I think second shot-wise this is a really key golf course. It’s well bunkered, you’ve got those little sort of tongues where they can stick the pins. You have to be smart with your iron play. The greens (inaudible) strategizing the second shot, trying to leave the ball – there are certain times you can use the slope and other times you want to be putting up the hill.”

Jason Day (2018): “I don’t know, it’s really bunched up there. It’s weird. Yeah, I remember looking up and I was tied for the lead at 10-under I think, and like you said, there were six guys. It’s one of those courses where it’s really hard to extend the lead. You can’t really run away with a lead here because it is so tough. I mean, driving, it’s so demanding on the driver, you have to get yourself in position. If you’re not and with how the greens are starting to bounce, it’s very difficult to get yourself back into position leaving yourself in the right spot to get up and down. Adds a little bit with how the greens – obviously with poa annua, it adds a little bit more, I guess, a nervous feeling when you hit certain putts. I think with a course like this it’s always tough. We’ve had a lot of history here with leads being really bunched up like we have had, and I think if you can get anywhere between 10 and 13 tomorrow, you’ve got a good chance at winning the tournament.

Brandt Snedeker: “I love, what I love most about poa annua is you have to be aggressive and you have got to hit a putt almost perfect. You got to give it a chance to go in, you got to get it rolling hard on the green. And I think that’s what my stroke does best, because I hit them aggressive, get the ball rolling really fast. When you do that, the ball holds its line. If you miss a putt a little bit, or hit a weak putt, it’s going to bump off. And I love it because it eliminates half the guys, like Kevin Kisner. Because they don’t like it and they don’t want to be on it. So, it makes my putting even better. Because they don’t want to be a part of it and if they get a bad bounce they think the greens are awful, I’m never coming back here, whatever, which helps me.

Dustin Johnson: “The golf course I think sets up well. It sets up good to my eye. Just got to go out and execute. But around here, too, it’s all about where you leave your ball, controlling your ball, leaving yourself uphill putts so you can be aggressive with it. If you’re putting downhill all day, it’s hard to make putts, it just is. I don’t care how good a putter you are, it’s just tough. So controlling the golf ball, controlling your distance, and leaving yourself in the right spot is a big key.

Phil Mickelson: “I think the length is a challenge and the firmness of the greens is a challenge. I think that patience is going to be a big challenge, because when you tuck the pins here, every green repels from the outside to the centre. So, every ball’s working to the centre of the green and it’s very difficult to get it close to a lot of the tough pins. So, you have to be patient. You have to accept 30, 40 footers, that you just can’t knock it too close, and you have to make some putts. I think that patience will be the key.

Jimmy Walker: “Yeah, you said it, it’s tough. So any time you shoot under par out here is pretty good on the South Course. Even with light winds, it’s still really tough. They tuck the pins, greens have got a little firmness to them, so it’s tough to get it close. You want to throw the ball behind the hole and spin it, but it just won’t do it.

J.B. Holmes: “The rough probably plays worse than it did at the U.S. Open when they had it here in 2008. The Kikuyu rough was nasty, but you could also get it where it would set up on a tee. It would either drop down to the bottom and you couldn’t hit anything or it was up on the tee. So it was kind of 50/50. Where, this week, if you hit it in there, you just have a bad lie. So you’re not going to be able to hit it very far. Most of the ones I hit in the rough have been bad lies. I’ll get a decent one every now and then, but I wouldn’t say I really got a good lie in the rough this week yet.

Incoming form of Farmers Insurance Open winners since 2010:

  • Max Homa: 3rd Sentry/4th Grant Thornton/17th WC/21st CJ Cup.
  • Luke List: 22nd Amex/10th RSM/11th Houston/MC WWTC Maya.
  • Patrick Reed: MC Amex/21st ToC/3rd DPWTC/10th Masters.
  • Marc Leishman: 28th Sony/10th Aus Open/69th ZOZO/43rd CJ Cup.
  • Justin Rose: 34th Amex/17th Indonesia/3rd World Challenge/1st Turkey.
  • Jason Day: 5th Aus Open/11th HSBC/11th CJ Cup/17th Tour.
  • Jon Rahm: 34th Amex/50th OHL Classic/15th Shriners/15th Fortinet.
  • Brandt Snedeker: 2nd Sony/3rd ToC/1st Shark Shoot/MC Aus PGA.
  • Jason Day: 17th Sony/3rd ToC/1st Shark Shoot/5th World Challenge.
  • Scott Stallings: 58th Amex/MC OHL Classic/MC McGladrey/47th CIMB.
  • Tiger Woods: MC Abu/4th World Challenge/4th CIMB/8th Tour.
  • Brandt Snedeker: 8th Amex/13th CIMB/32nd McGladrey/16th Tour.
  • Bubba Watson: MC Amex/25th ToC/10th Shark Shoot/14th World Challenge.
  • Ben Crane: 52nd Amex/24th Disney/13th Fry’s.com Open/19th Shriners.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Poa Annua and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 4 – Jason Day, Max Homa, Brandt Snedeker.
  • 3 – Collin Morikawa.
  • 2 – Keegan Bradley, Chez Reavie, Justin Rose, Nick Watney, Gary Woodland.
  • 1 – Aaron Baddeley, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Champ, Stewart Cink, Harris English, Tony Finau, Emiliano Grillo, Tom Hoge, J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel, Nate Lashley, Luke List, Shane Lowry, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, Scott Stallings, Sahith Theegala, Justin Thomas.

Torrey Pines is one of the most iconic and classical golf courses in the world and naturally its association with Tiger Woods across both this tournament and the U.S. Open adds kudos. The winners’ list since 2000 was exclusively made up of Major winners and previous PGA Tour winners, until Jon Rahm’s dramatic victory here in 2017. Rahm of course went on to win his first Major here in 2021, capturing the U.S. Open in dramatic scenes as the 10/1 favourite. Another “non-winner” broke his Tour maiden here in 2022 in the form of Luke List, triumphing at a rather juicy 90/1, so selecting experienced PGA Tour winners is no longer the be-all and end-all.

American players dominate the Farmers champions list, but of late Jason Day (x2), Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Marc Leishman have added their names to an exclusive list of international winners which includes Gary Player (1963) and Jose Maria Olazabal (2002). So if an international player is going to triumph again this week, they will likely be top-notch.

So what’s the right recipe for success this week? Well both the long bomber and shorter types with a great short game can contend around Torrey. 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2021 saw Ben Crane, Brandt Snedeker and Patrick Reed triumph, But Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods, Scott Stallings, Jason Day (twice), Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Luke List are all longer hitters. Marc Leishman fits in between somewhere, but can get the ball out there when required. I have classified Patrick Reed as a short hitter, as over his recent years on the PGA Tour he became a sub-290 yard average driver. Indeed he won this 3 years ago with the shortest Average Driving Distance number – 288 yards – going back to Brandt Snedeker in 2012. And you have to say that Snedeker and Reed match up nicely in terms of their short game magic and positive Poa Annua putting game shape. So it’s not all about bombers.

I’m thinking that ideally we need players this week with course experience (Rahm became the first player since 1957 to win on course debut here 7 years ago). I’m working on targeting players who played well on testing, old-style courses in 2023. As you can see, previous winners here have all recorded strong results on classical or technical tracks in the season prior to winning here:

  • Watson – 3rd Copperhead – 2nd Whistling Straits (PGA Championship).
  • Snedeker – 4th TPC San Antonio – 1st Harbour Town – 11th Congressional (US Open).
  • Woods – 2nd PGA National – 1st Muirfield Village – 1st Congressional.
  • Stallings – 4th Colonial – 4th Muirfield Village – 2nd TPC Southwind.
  • Day – 2nd Torrey Pines -4th Pinehurst -(U.S. Open) 2nd Ridgewood – 4th East Lake.
  • Snedeker – 1st Pebble Beach – 8th Chambers Bay (U.S. Open) – 2nd Colonial.
  • Rahm – 3rd Congressional – 2nd Glen Abbey.
  • Day – 5th Pebble Beach – 9th Quail Hollow (PGA Championship) – 6th Glen Oaks.
  • Rose – 8th Torrey Pines, 5th Copperhead, 3rd Bay Hill, 1st Colonial, 6th Muirfield Village, 2nd Carnoustie (Open Championship), 4th East Lake.
  • Leishman – 4th Riviera, 5th Muirfield Village, 3rd TPC Southwind.
  • Reed – 6th Torrey Pines, 7th Colonial, 10th Muirfield Village, 8th East Lake, 10th Augusta National.
  • List – 10th Torrey Pines, 6th Quail Hollow, 7th Narashino CC.
  • Homa – 10th Riviera, 1st TPC Potomac, 5th Muirfield Village, 5th East Lake, 1st Silverado.

My Farmers Insurance Open tips are as follows:

Max Homa 3pts EW 12/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

Of the big 4 at the very top of the betting board, I’m taking defending champion Max Homa. He’s the sort who actually thrives when he defends titles, having already finished 10th (Genesis Invitational), 1st (Fortinet Championship) and 8th (Wells Fargo Championship) when doing so since the start of 2022.

Max is a classical golf course lover who’s not afraid to win on the PGA Tour. A 6-time winner now, Max has won at Quail Hollow, Riviera Country Club, TPC Potomac, Silverado Country Club (twice) and here at Torrey Pines. All of them are old-style classical courses, with 4 of his wins coming in California, all of which came on Poa Annua or Poa Annua/Bentgrass mix putting surfaces.

Although continually underrated, Max has also finished 10th (2019) and 7th (2021) at Pebble Beach, 5th (2020), 10th (2022) and 2nd (2023) at Riviera Country Club on top of his victory there, 6th at Copperhead (2021), plus 6th (2021) and 5th (2022) at Muirfield Village. Old-style, classical courses are undoubtedly the 33 year-old’s jam.

9th (2020), 18th (2021) and 1st (2023) across his last 4 appearances here, Max arrives off decent immediate form of 1st at the Nedbank Challenge (DP World Tour), 13th at the Hero World Challenge and 14th at The Sentry. RESULT: T13

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Jason Day 2pts EW 25/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Jason Day with Max Homa and Brandt Snedeker are tied for the most Poa Annua or Bentgrass Poa mix PGA Tour wins in this field since 2008 with 4 victories each. And as you would expect, “Jay Day” has a cracking record in the state of California. 1st (2015 & 2018), 2nd (2014), 3rd (2022) with 3 additional top-9 finishes here at Torrey Pines; Pebble Beach has seen Day finish 2nd (2018), 4th (2015, 2019 & 2020), 5th (2017) with 3 additional top-7 finishes. You can also throw in 4th at the 2020 PGA Championship played at TPC Harding Park into the mix as well. He even managed a 9th place finish at Riviera Country Club last year, which has always been his nemesis.

Greens containing Poa Annua are undoubtedly the 36 year-old Australian’s friend and although I can’t promise the 2015 World Number 1 version of Jason this week at Torrey Pines, there have been signs that he’s playing well enough to get in the mix yet again here in La Jolla.

Since the start of December, the World Number 18 has finished 11th at the Hero World Challenge, 1st at Grant Thornton Invitational (when teamed with Lydia Ko), 10th at The Sentry and 34th last week at The American Express. RESULT: MC

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Harris English 1.5pts EW 45/1 (8EW, 1/5) with bet365

Harris English must be looking forward to the Farmers Insurance Open this week. 14th at 2024 opener The Sentry and 10th at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Harris is playing some very nice stuff of late and he loves sterner, classical, tougher tests in general. He’s also performed well here in La Jolla over the years. He lost in a play-off to Scott Stallings here in 2015 and has backed that up with 14th (2017) and 8th (2018) across 10 Farmers appearances. Plus let’s not forget the 2021 U.S. Open here won by Jon Rahm, from Louis Oosthuizen and Harris who finished in 3rd spot at 80/1.

Upwardly mobile in the Official World Golf Rankings at 37th, Harris is a 4-time winner on the PGA Tour, with 2 of those being by the coast at Mayakoba (2013) and Kapalua (2021). He’s also comfortable on Poa Annua-type greens having won the 2021 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands, plus having top-10 finishes across Winged Foot, Riviera Country Club and Silverado on top of his strong outings here.

Driving the ball beautifully – 10th in this field across my 8-week Strokes Gained trackers, and putting really well – 4th in my 8-week tracker, I like the chances of the 34 year-old Georgia Bulldog, who finished 2nd at Bay Hill, 3rd at Quail Hollow and 8th at the LACC-hosted U.S. Open, last time he played in California. RESULT: T64

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Sepp Straka 1.5pts EW 45/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Sepp Straka is the last bet for me this week at the Farmers Insurance Open. He remains underestimated by many an odds compiler, but it’s worth highlighting that Sepp is up to 17th in the Official Golf World Ranking, powered by a superb set of results in 2023. 7th at the PGA Championship and 2nd at the Open Championship, from a PGA Tour perspective he finished 5th at the Honda Classic (when defending), 1st at the John Deere Classic and was T6 for 72 Hole Scoring at East Lake. That was good enough for T14 in the FedEx Cup tied with Russell Henley. 10th at Wentworth (on course debut), Sepp also ended his 2023 by finishing 2nd at the Hero World Challenge, beating the likes of Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Matt Fitzpatrick and Jordan Spieth, all of whom populated the each-way places, behind Scottie Scheffler.

So Straka is playing some fantastic golf and sits just around the 40/1 to 45/1 mark which has been the Farmers Insurance Open average winning price over the past 5 years. 12th at The Sentry in his first 2024 event was decent enough with rounds of -6/67, -7/66 and -7/66 being interspersed by a disappointing Saturday -3/70, which eventually kept him out of the top 10 by a single shot. The Team Europe Ryder Cup star shot -23/269 across the 4 days, plus was 5th for Strokes Gained on Approach, 18th for Tee to Green, 6th for Greens in Regulation and 7th for Total Accuracy at Kapalua.

He’s also the sort who of late hangs around on Major leaderboards and tough Tour assignments, such as his 2022 Honda Classic victory which came with a winning total of -10/270. Here at Torrey Pines Sepp has a 13th (2019) and 16th (2023) and is 3 for 4 for cuts made. Might well surprise a few again this week. RESULT: MC

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